To get a glimpse of where Latin music is heading, you should take a listen to The Chamanas. The Latin Grammy-nominated band's members span both sides of the US-Mexico border - some hail from El Paso, TX, while others hail from Juarez in the Mexican province of Chihuahua. While none of that *should* matter in the grand scheme of things, their show at Songbyrd was an effortless meld of musical traditions on both sides of the Rio Grande.
What makes The Chamanas so great is that they're musical chameleons. One moment, the guitars and percussion sound like it came straight from Mexico, the next they’re pulling off some Led Zeppelin-like drums (think “Immigrant Song,” but slowed down on “La Verdad”) and crisp funk guitar sounds the next. The extensive synths at their disposal augmented Paulina Reza's distant and angelic voice and made the show a heady affair at times. Reza also got to show off her Latin dance moves in-between verses. In a nod to a now-very-popular band that brought them on tour, The Chamanas performed two laid-back and very-Latin covers of Portugal. the Man's "Purple Yellow Red and Blue" and "Feel It Still." There's no need to know the language when it comes to The Chamanas - just let the music move you, and everything else will be just fine.
The Chamanas's latest album NEA II is available now through Los Maximos and Cosmica Records.
Opening for The Chamanas was DC-based synth-pop musician Loi Loi, who was joined on stage by fellow Blight Records labelmate Benjamin Schurr (who podcast listeners might recognize from Swoll) on bass. She will be playing at Union Stage on November 10 in support of her upcoming new album.