What does Coro Qom Chelaalapi & Lagartijeando sound like?
A collaboration between an Argentinian choir and electronic producer Lagartijeando.
The review of Coro Qom Chelaalapi & Lagartijeando – Campo del Cielo
‘Campo del Cielo’ is the second collaboration between two titans of Latin American music. Lagartijeando produces some of the best Latin American electronica I’ve heard by mixing together the ancient and the present. Coro Qom Chelaalapi is the longest-standing musical act in Latin America. They are an indigenous choir from Argentina and have been making music for 60 years. ‘Campo del Cielo’ feels like a vibrant celebration of their legacy.
The EP opens with ‘Cancion de Cuna’ which gives controversial vocoder effects to the indigenous choir. The song bathes in a light jangle of shakers, shells, tuned percussion and light synths. The relaxed, open-hearted warmth shines through and I oddly enjoyed the modern-day effects on the choir. ‘Axai Iquiyaqtole’ is a vibrant feast for the ears. With striding beats and anthemic string samples that remind me of Bollywood music, the track is bountiful with energy. Then in barrels uptempo and upbeat village chants from Coro Qom Chelaalapi which lift the mood. It’s so celebratory and euphoric, it is my favourite piece on the EP. Taking things a little more downtempo and glitchy is ‘Amanence En El Monte’. This has a slower dance beat and uses chopped samples of nature sounds, choir snippets and spoken word to punctuate the rhythms.
The second half of the EP has three tracks recorded purely of Coro Qom Chelaalapi (by Largartijeando) which were used to make the original tracks. These tracks are rustic, rural and full of life. ‘Carapi’ introduces you to the hand percussion and sawing string instrument that forms a melodic rhythm. The way Coro Qom Chelaalapi structure their songs is to switch from vocal verse to instrumental verse. This bares out in the more bluesy ‘Regreso a casa’ which is less frantic than the previous piece whilst maintaining the same style. The EP ends with ‘Niocolca’ which explores polyrhythms and feels more aggressive and warrior driven than the previous tracks. As a trio, they work superbly.
The area of Campo del Cielo in northern Argentina was subject to an iron meteor shower 4,000 years ago. Qom mythology says that these iron rocks were actually beads of sweat from the sun and that from these rocks trees would form. This solar system connection and the circle of life permeates through their songs and ancient stylings. You particularly hear it in their original tracks but even with Largartijeando’s production, the essence of the Earth shines through. This is a gem to savour.
Recommended track: Axai Iquiyaqtole
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