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Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | INDIE

Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2009
Band World Latin




"Baracutanga: Way More than “Shake it, Baby!”"

Kilko Paz, one of New Mexican band Baracutanga’s members, has social consciousness in his DNA; as a child, Paz spent years in exile away from his homeland of Bolivia with his mother, renowned sociologist Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui.

He moved to Albuquerque as a young engineer, and in an effort to find a community, started a Brazilian percussion band with friends. That band, Baracutanga, says Paz, evolved into a Latin American fusion band with touches of rock and electronica.

Paz describes Baracutanga’s music as celebrating diversity from its very beginnings, in particular the Hispanic and Native American roots of the state. Some of their songs also touch on environmental themes, such as ‘Sangre a Pachamama’ which is an ode to Mother Earth and to protecting natural resources. Another song, ‘Deja de Matar’ addresses police brutality directly.

Baracutanga’s recently released song and video, ‘Son de la Condenada’, the story of a woman migrating from the south and as he puts it, “The American Dream becomes the American Nightmare”.

‘Son de la Condenada’ emphasizes how important it is for leaders to watch their words, says Paz, because they carry enormous weight and can cause much damage. He also feels it’s important for each person to use what they have on hand to protest, adding that Baracutanga has something to say, and it’s a lot more than just “Hey, shake it baby!” - Univision

"The seven-piece band easily won over the crowd with blazing brass, dance-able rhythms and the charisma of vocalist Jackie Zamora."

... Which was a good place to be for Baracutanga, an American outfit steeped in the musical traditions of Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. As a last-minute fill-in for Sidestepper, who were apparently unable to attend due to visa issues, the seven-piece band easily won over the crowd with blazing brass, dance-able rhythms and the charisma of vocalist Jackie Zamora. - Calgary Sun (Canada)

"Banda nuevo mexicana apoya a los inmigrantes a través de su música"

La Banda Baracutanga de Albuquerque está enviando un mensaje pro-inmigrante en Nuevo México por medio de su música. El video musical de su canción "Son de la condenada" habla sobre el tema de odio y racismo que muchos inmigrantes enfrentan al llegar a este país.

Baracutanga se traduce a "gente bailando" en africano. Esto es exactamente lo que la música de Jackie, Carlos, Kilko, Pablo, Nicolas y Mikka ha estado haciendo aquí en Nuevo México por casi siete años.

"Empezó como un proyecto de música Brasileña y después evoluciono a lo que somos ahora que tocamos con mucha influencia del folclore sur americano", dijo Jackie Zamora, la cantante principal del grupo.

La banda tiene miembros originarios de Bolivia, Ecuador, Perú, y los Estados Unidos. La mayoría de los integrantes trabajan durante el día como profesores, contratistas para el estado. Pero la banda se une en su dedicación a crear música que crea más conciencia en temas que afectan a la comunidad hispana en este país.

"La canción nació como una historia más de un inmigrante pero tiene un final fuerte. Nació como una idea nada más de una historia que no tenía un destino específico pero de repente con los que paso se convirtió en algo que está pasando", dijo Kilko Paz Rivera, quien toca la batería.

Kilko se refiere a la elección del presidente Donald Trump. La canción y su video musical cuentan la historia de una mujer inmigrante que dejo a su familia y país para inmigrar hacia el norte. La canción detalla la trayectoria que hizo esta mujer al dejar todo atrás, y cuenta las cosas desagradables que la mujer tuvo que enfrentar en su camino.

Según la banda la canción ha sido bien recibida por su fans. Los integrantes de la banda dijeron que ellos desean realizar una gira por los Estados Unidos y Latinoamérica para llevar este mensaje por a través de su música. - Telemundo

"Music to shake the snakes away"

Baracutanga gets set for a rockin’ St. Patrick’s Day party at the brewery

This year’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership will not be the usual salute to corned beef and cabbage, green-tinted beer and mournful Irish melodies. In the words of Taos Mesa Brewing co-founder Dan Irion, “I’ll tell the band they at least have to wear something green. But instead of cabbage and green beer, we’ll be serving up tacos and red beer, New Mexican style. There’s no better way to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day and all things Irish than dancing the night away to contagious rhythm and nonstop Brazilian samba and batucada.” The band providing these vibrant rhythms is called Baracutanga, and it will help revelers celebrate St. Paddy’s Day this Friday (March 17), 8-11 p.m., at the brewery’s location at 20 ABC Mesa Road, off U.S. 64 west. Baracutanga’s musicians — lead singer Jackie Zamora, vibraphonist and drummer Nicholas Adam Baker, bassist Carlos Noboa, trumpeter Paul Gonzales, guitarist Randy Sanchez, trombonist Micah Hood and percussionist Kilko Paz — met and began playing together in Albuquerque. “We got together seven years ago, originally playing in old Brazilian batucada style,” Paz said. “A few of us would get together for fun, and then the band started growing. We started bringing more instruments and became a full band with brass, vibraphone and horns.” Paz, who plays a variety of percussion instruments, came to New Mexico from Bolivia nine years ago and attained a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a master’s degree in geography. “I came here to study,” he said, “and then stayed because I found music and started working, and I like Albuquerque. I come from a country where we have 36 different languages, and that’s part of why I like it here — it’s pretty diverse in terms of people, climate and landscape.” He explained that the band’s name was informed by the musicians’ commitment to using music as a force for social change. “Baracutanga is an African voicing that means ‘people dancing.’ Because of its onomatopoeic sound, it’s a reminder of the percussive instruments that were dispersed throughout the Americas by the African diaspora that has vitally nurtured our native cultures,” Paz said. “Baracutanga is a group of experienced musicians of diverse backgrounds and origins that proposes to build bridges between the south and the north, overcoming the barriers of discrimination. The south conjugates the past and the future, and it is there where we find our roots as a key to survive in a modern world. Our music carries a message of reflection to ignite a positive change of attitudes, which must begin within us and with the acknowledgement of cultural pluralism.” Baracutanga’s recent CD, “Importados” (translated as “Imported”), is a play on the band members’ countries of origin, which include Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and the United States. “That is the key, I guess – something very important – that we come from different parts of the world and bring cultural and musical knowledge that go together,” said Paz. “We came together as a South American-style band, and we play many different rhythms: Colombian cumbia, Afro-Peruvian, Afro-Bolivian — every region has influence from Africa – also Brazilian music: batucada, samba and more. Some musicians are not that open. They’re more traditional and don’t think that genres and traditions should be mixed, but why not? It’s like cooking food. You’ve got to mix flavors.” The band has released a powerful video for one of the CD’s songs, “Son de la Condenada” (translated by Paz as “Song of the Condemned”). It was conceived as a statement against hate and racism and shows the violence encountered by a group of people going northward. “We cross from south to north — no border, no wall, just walking,” Paz said. “We play a lot with the words — the north represents the futuristic technological advances, but the south is where we need to find our future. If we keep going north, we’re going to be lost. We’ve gone too far and we need to go back — to listen to the ancients, to the grandparents. Instead of looking for smart cars or smartphones, we need to be smart people. We need to learn to cultivate and do things with our hands — to go back to basics because that is the future.” Paz spoke about the band’s mission. “We are using music as a way to spread a positive message about what’s going on in the world right now – to spread a message and to protest. We feel the need to speak out as members of this society affected by this. We feel the necessity to show support, and the best way we know is through music. If you don’t say something, you become part of the problem.” Opening for Baracutanga will be another multinational band, Sol de la Noche. “They are from Colombia and Mexico and New Mexico and play in Latin-South American style,” Paz said. “It will be a fun, dynamic show. Put your dancing shoes on and get up and dance. A lot of the people who come out to see us dance the whole time. It doesn’t matter how you dance. Just feel your heart and start moving.” - Taos News

"Baracutanga: Dance-Worthy and Ear-Worthy"

You don’t need to know a cumbia from a festejo from a candombe to dig Importados, the first full-length album from Albuquerque’s rhythm wizards, Baracutanga. A seven-piece band whose members come from as far north as Kansas and as far south as Bolivia, Baracutanga mixes South American rhythms in innovative ways, making unusual rhythmic combinations that might also include Middle Eastern and Cuban forms. They incorporate folkloric instruments, such as the quena, an Andean flute, and top it off with modern North American harmonies and instruments—electric guitar, vibes—to create a unique and highly danceable fusion.

The album’s sheer musicality might come as a surprise to those who know the band only as a high-energy live act that fills the dance floor. Yes, you can play the album at high volume and dance till you drop, but you can also settle back in your easy chair and appreciate the
craftsmanship of the writing and arranging, the attention to detail, and the sonic textures. Recorded in four different studios in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Cadiz, Spain, the album features more than 50 instruments and 25 musical styles, and just about every one of those
instruments and styles finds just the right place.

The 10 original tracks include some sharp cultural/political observations. There’s the biting cumbia “Son de la condenada,” a song about crossing the border that vocalist Jackie Zamora (Peru) describes perfectly as “tragic and danceable.” The repeated figure played on the muted trumpet of Paul Gonzales (Albuquerque) in this tune is an inspired touch that deepens the tragedy. “Su Majestad la farsa” focuses on the often overlooked contributions of the undocumented and other marginalized peoples. “Sangra Pachamama,” which combines samba, reggae, and the Andean kullawada styles, speaks to Mother Earth’s wounds.

The most fervently political tune on the album, the candombe “Deja de matar,” pleads for an end to violence. Written in response to the killing of James Boyd by Albuquerque police, the song calls out to all citizens, police and civilians, in a cry of protest and hope. It effectively
incorporates Inner Circle’s “Bad Boys” as well as a rap, in English, by guest poet Hakim Bellamy, winning the 2015 New Mexico Music Award for best original arrangement.

The cultural/political content owes much to Kilko Paz (charanga, surdos, drum kit, cajón). Son of famed Bolivian activist Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, his name appears in the writing credits for all but two of the tunes.

There are also love songs, such as the lilting samba “Paixao” and the Afro-Peruvian landó “Peregrina;” a cooking song, the chacarera “Te llama mi tambor;” and the mesmeric festejo with Cuban batá “Pasaporte,” which chronicles Zamora’s sadness when the stamp hit her passport as she departed from her native Peru to return to the United States. (She wrote the lyrics on the flight back, and she feared they might be her last: turbulence threatened to bring the flight to a violent end.)

Then, there are tunes that are just for sheer pleasure. “Finding Memo,” a salsa party tune that features a montuno on the vibes, played by percussionist Nick Baker (Kansas City). Throughout the album, his vibes often provide a melodic rhythmic foundation for complex syncopated structures. Baker and Gonzales are largely responsible for the modern North American elements in the album’s music, with help from Randy Sanchez (guitar and Cuban tres) and Micah Hood (trombone), both from Texas.

The exuberant “Rumba de Burque,” which won the New Mexico Music Awards Albuquerque Song Competition, extols the city’s virtues, and it showcases the tight, expressive, rhythmically deft bass of Carlos Noboa (Ecuador).

Some of the rhythms and acoustic instruments may have deep folkloric roots, but on Importados, Baracutanga writes and performs with a brash confidence that is electric and wholly modern. - Mel Minter

"Burque Music Scene: Baracutanga"

The buzz around the release of Baracutanga's new CD has me wanting more!
The first two singles from Importados has raised my expectations for the quality production of their collective artistic genius. “Rumba de Burque" won the New Mexico Music Awards' Albuquerque Song Competition in 2014 and “Deja de Matar” received the New Mexico Music Award for “Best Original Arrangement” in 2015. This CD has been in the works for a while and I know we're in for a treat!
Baracutanga is most definitely an All Star Band with members from some well known and beloved New Mexico Music Award winning Bands like Nosotros, RockFox, La Trova, Micky Cruz... and don't even get me started with a list of the musicians Paul Gonzales has played with during his career...just WOW!
Baracutanga Members: - Jackie Zamora: Lead Singer - Nicholas Adam Baker: Vibraphone, Drums Set, Percussion - Carlos Noboa: Elecrtic Bass, Percussion, Quena - Paul Gonzales: Trumpet, surdos - Kilko Paz: Surdos, Cajon, Charango, Drum Set - Randy Sanchez: Electric Guitar, Cuban Tres - Micah Hood: Trombone - Billy Lorne: Percussion
Baracutanga "people dancing", has been ramping up their energy leading to their CD release tonight, it's going to be a big, big party. - Lynn Marie Rusaw

"Review: ABQ band Baracutanga shouldn’t bother with genre hyphens"

The hyphen is often used to help inform listeners about the origins of musical blends. For example, there’s Tex-Mex and Afro-Cuban.

Baracutanga, the supercharged Albuquerque band, shouldn’t bother with the hyphen because it fuses so many Latin rhythms, many of them from ancient Andean music traditions.

The band’s debut CD, “Importados,” is testimony to these creative arrangements and an exciting mix of instrumentation. The 10 cuts add up to almost an hour of passionate performances.

Two of the cuts are previously released singles. One cut, “Rumba de Burque,” is an acknowledgement of the band’s love of its Albuquerque home and an invitation to dance (“Vamos mi gente a bailar”). The song won the 2014 New Mexico Music Awards’ Albuquerque Song Competition.

The other cut, “Deja de Matar,” is filled with the frenzy of a runaway train. That song received the New Mexico Music Awards’ “Best Original Arrangement” earlier this year.

The members of the band are vocalist Jackie Zamora, Kilko Paz on cajon and the charango, an Andean guitar, and surdos; Carlos Noboa on electric bass, percussion and Andean flute; Nick Baker on vibes, drums and percussion; Paul Gonzales on trumpet and surdos; Randy Sanchez on electric guitar and Cuban tres and Micah Hood on trombone.

Filling out the sound of the recording are hip-hop artists Hakim Bellamy and Nick Fury, as well as founding vocalist Ivan Camelo. - David Steinberg / Journal Staff Writer

"Alt.Latino: The Many Shades of Latinx Culture"

Who knew that Albuquerque stands next to Mexico City, Buenos Aires and even New York as a spot where Latin American expats gather to make music together? Musicians from Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia who found themselves in ABQ also found kindred spirits, forming the band Baracutanga to explore the rich musical palettes of their home countries — new Alt.Latino contributor Deborah Martinez stopped by one of their rehearsals. - NPR

"Alt.Latino: The Many Shades of Latinx Culture"

Who knew that Albuquerque stands next to Mexico City, Buenos Aires and even New York as a spot where Latin American expats gather to make music together? Musicians from Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia who found themselves in ABQ also found kindred spirits, forming the band Baracutanga to explore the rich musical palettes of their home countries — new Alt.Latino contributor Deborah Martinez stopped by one of their rehearsals. - NPR Alt Latino

"Baracutanga = People Dancing"

(Story by Stephanie Hainsfurther / Photographs by Liz Lopez)

Baracutanga means “people dancing” and that’s what happened at the band’s first gig, 10 years ago. “We played for hours. They made the last call at the bar and people moved to dancing in the street, so we continued the party out in the street,” said Kilko Paz, one of Baracutanga’s founding members.

Their rhythm is Pan-Latin but later they found that the name comes from Afrikaans, not Spanish or Portuguese.

“We picked the name because of the sound. Ba-ra-cu-TANG-a—it sounds like our drums,” said Paz. Dancing to the drums—and the surdos, charango, Cuban tres, Peruvian cajón, and Brazilian percussion—can be a metaphor for revolutionary thought and action. In Latin American culture, a dance also can identify a specific region or community, like the samba (Brazil and Africa), tango (Argentina), or bachata (Dominican Republic).

This Latinx diversity is represented within Baracutanga itself and certainly in its music. Paz is from Bolivia; lead vocalist Jackie Zamora is from Peru; Nicholas Baker, Paul Gonzales, Micah Hood, and Joseph Altamirano are from the US; and Carlos Noboa comes from Ecuador. Normally one labels band members by their instruments, but each member of Baracutanga plays many instruments.

“Everybody in this band has more than one talent,” said Jackie Zamora. “Our drummer plays a crazy number of instruments; they’re constantly rotating. The only one that’s doing nothing is me. Yes, I am rocking the mic, saying things that are important, but really I can barely walk and talk at the same time.”

She’s being droll and terribly modest. Zamora’s vocal style is powerful as she articulates the lyrics to original songs like “Cuida Tus Espaldas (Watch Your Back),” about recent immigrant experiences in the US. The song has an urgent rhythm underlying fluent rock styling. Starring local actor Efrain Villa, the video shows a Latino navigating the streets of a hostile city. The video displays an immigrant’s alienation and loneliness, but the lyrics show the danger surrounding him. Like all of Baracutanga’s songs, “Cuida Tus Espaldas” is sung in Spanish:

Watch your back,

If they find you, they’ll put a price tag on you

Your dreams destroyed without any mercy

The game will be over and you’ll go to jail

Cuida tus espaldas

Si ella te ubica te pone precio

Sin piedad viene y destruye sueños

Se acaba el juego y te lleva preso

The band created “Cuida Tus Espaldas” as “a danceable anthem to denounce social injustice.”

“Every time we create something, it has to have some meaning. While you are moving your body and dancing, you can also move your mind. We need to say something every single day, with every opportunity we have,” said Paz. They are trying to put a few Latinx bands together for a concert shining a light on the immigrant camps at our borders.

“We wrote [“Cuida Tus Espaldas”] before the camps,” Zamora said. “Kilko has these ideas that are almost premonitions; within six months, it is happening. I am a mother and I am an immigrant. I can’t even imagine being separated from [my children]. To come here to find compassion and to find violence instead—you don’t have to be an immigrant to relate to that. It’s a human right to be able to stay close to your family and protect your family.”

Baracutanga’s first album, Importados, includes the rousing “Rumba de Burque.” Its video, filmed at The Railyards in Albuquerque, shows a crowd of people, dancing as one. Paz imagines the dance floor as common ground. “When we are playing, we are bringing this message to you: Just look around. You are dancing with people with different religions and skin color, but you are in the same room having fun together. A dance floor is a different world, where what really matters is being together as human beings,” he said.

Although diverse in background and dynamic in musical styles, Baracutanga consider themselves one community. They work on their music together, and individual backgrounds contribute to the stew. With so many cooks from so many cultures, how do they characterize their music?

“Our music is a juxtaposition of styles: that is the fun part,” said Paz. “You’re listening to a very rock-based sound, then it changes to reggae. I would call us an American Pan-Latin band; it’s not exactly that, but we have to go with something. [Most people] put all Latin music in one big bag, but that is so impossible.”

Zamora has a slightly different description of Baracutanga’s sound. “I always believed that we are South American Roots because everything rose from them. In South America we have rock, reggae, we have everything, we can grow into anything,” she said. “I consider myself to be a Latin singer but that is so broad—there’s reggaeton, folkloric, rock—and I can sing in Portuguese so I can cover more ground.”

Baracutanga also covers all ages; their enthusiastic fans bring the families to their shows. They make no effort to connect with any one demographic. “The more we are ourselves, the more we’ve been able to transcend every generation. If we’re making music that is honest and genuine, all age groups are going to be interested in it,” Zamora said. “In Latin America, at every party, every celebration, you’re made to dance with your tias and your tios. Now my oldest is 12 and she’s a dancer because she grew up with that.”

Young fans grow up and return to hear Baracutanga’s music with their own families, remembering their early experiences with the group. “Seeing people sing along to our lyrics is one of the most powerful feelings I get when performing,” said Zamora.

The band is writing original music to record a new collection this summer. Paz will visit his mother, activist and author Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, in Bolivia and do some filming for the new video. They have also proposed an evening of Pan-Latin music to the New Mexico Philharmonic and hope to schedule that concert in June. In the meantime, they hope to finish the new CD and tour throughout the Southwest in venues popular with the fans.

“Anywhere we play, there is room for people to dance,” said Zamora, “and if they don’t have room, we make room,” said Paz.

To learn more about Baracutanga and their performance schedule go to - Local Flavor Magazine (Santa Fe NM)

"Dancing with Baracutanga"

At some point, you’ve got to dance. Why even the former folks strutting their stuff—or what’s left of it—at the opening of the Seventh Seal get to knock off a jig or two before being transported lovingly to the other world. And though life may be brutal, one is constantly reminded of the beauty all around—and the beauty we can each create ourselves through creative endeavors like listening, singing, painting, playing and, of course, dancing.
In a world where complexity is constantly reminding us of a chaotic universe complete with serious mierda—like a massive global failure of human rights while the whole of Western Civilization is perched on the precipice and parts of the Third World are really on fire—it’s more than good to know that there is still much goodness within our reach.

Local postmodernist polymorphic, Latinx hipsters Baracutanga are like that. No, don’t hide away from the profound truths that their lyrics lay upon you. It’s la neta, me intiendes? Instead take it all in: The complex rhythms, the circular, mythic melodies and the stories that come along with new clarity. It’s possible that you might be happy and outraged at the same time. Well, that just means you’re alive, dang it, and that you have the power of beauty—just like the septet called Baracutanga does—to see the world, do something about the world while dancing your arse off in a very human discourse that’s really all about the soul of humanity.

I guess that’s a good enough summary of what I think about the band I interviewed this week. They’re totally excellent, by the way, and will be celebrating their 10th anniversary this weekend—as well as premiering the compelling single and video for a song called “Cuida tus Espaldas”—at Sister on Friday, Sept. 13.

Anyway, here they are, here’s Baracutganga—well, three of the ensemble, actually, comprising multi-instrumentalists Kilko Paz-Rivera, Carlos Noboa and Micah Hood—in conversation with me, August March. We’re talking about all that stuff, homie, so saddle on up and let’s go for a ride. Afterwards, we can dance.

Weekly Alibi: Your band has changed the entire dynamic for popular music in Burque, bringing Latinx music to the fore. What’s your history like?

Kilko Paz-Rivera: Well, we started in 2009 as a all-percussion Brazilian band. It was just for fun. We got together with some friends, most of them were Latin or had Latin influences. We started playing drums like kids, you know. You love to play drums as a kid. And then we started playing together and after a while it started sounding like something we could do. We had our first performance in the Spring of 2010 at the Uptown Bar. We only had four songs, but we managed to play for two hours.

Was there a lot of improvisation going on back then?

Totally. We were jamming, people were dancing; they were dancing nonstop. Even after they closed the venue, the people kept on dancing. We took all those people out onto the street and had a street party. That was amazing. That was the first time we did something that was Brazilian because I’m from Bolivia, Carlos is from Ecuador and our vocalist [Jackie Zamora] is from Peru. No one is from Brazil. We started like that, found it was fun and decided to keep on going. The band evolved. I play charango. Carlos plays bass and Andean flute. Blake Minnerly, one of our founding members that moved to New Orleans, played saxophone and guitar. At that point, we decided to go deeper, past our roots, to try to find our sound as a band. Currently we have some Brazilian influence but now it’s mostly Andean and Afro-Columbian in nature.

What about your compositional style?

The compositions are original. I think that we—of course this is a never-ending journey—try to find what the essence of our band is, what our sound means. This is really a difficult process because we all have such vast and divergent influences.

Micah, how did you get involved with Baracutanga?

Micah Hood: I got involved about 4 or 5 years ago. And it was because a sax player that was with the band back then invited me to sit in at a show they were performing at Sister. They were just starting to write original tunes, getting things settled for their first record. It was perfect timing, I guess. We all got together, exchanging ideas in the process, and I helped develop some of the horn parts, too. It was a great collaboration. After that came the first CD. It became clear that we had a structure to work with. I signed on as the trombonist, but I also branched out to other instruments as needed.

You also do the arranging, que no?

Yes, the arrangements. Now, for this latest record, we all have a major part in contributing; I’ve been doing all sorts of stuff.

So is Baracutanga more like a musical collective and less like a traditional band?

Yes, very much so. We all have our own backgrounds that we inject into that. That’s part of what makes us sound the way we do. We do have our roots in South American music, Afro-Columbian music with an Andean kind of flavor, but we mix up the rhythms in interesting ways. We’re trying to bridge this gap between different South American styles, too. It’s awesome that I get to have that kind of creative input and that my influences come out, too. Baracutanga is all about collaboration, about building on mutual influences after years and years.

And your background is in art music, I’m told.

Yes. I studied music and have a master’s in trombone performance and theory/composition. That’s mostly what I studied, Western art music.

Kilko, what do you think about that?

Kilko: You know, it is truly amazing. We’re always influenced by North American music. We love rock! We have our brands of hip-hop that we dig in South America. But I’ve never had the opportunity to work like this, with such diversity around. The possibilities are endless; we can build a new music.

What do you mean?

Well, let’s say we start with a cumbia. Then Carlos says he has as flute part with a rhythm from Ecuador that he wants to include. So then Micah arranges that result with a string quartet. Oh, my God! I never even dreamed about such possibilities.

Carlos Noboa: We’re hoping to bring every idea we have to life. We have so many rhythms that make the songs sound fresh and different.

Cool. Let’s talk about your new single—which comes with a video called “Cuida tus Espaldas,” or “Watch Your Back”—that you’re bringing into the light with your Fiesta Mayor at Sister on Friday, Sept. 13.

Kilko: We started filming this video in 2017. It’s curious, the fact that it presaged some events much like the CD we released in 2015, before the 2016 election. We kind of felt it was a premonition. As part of the immigrant community, we’re really sensitive about what’s going on. Anyway, the concept behind the song and video started in 2017. But the actually theme started coming together recently in the face of all the deportations immigants in the country are facing.

Everyday we read about more tragic travesties of human dignity made through Trump’s immigration policy. How does the video speak to these issues?

The song and the video are intended to spread a positive message. Both try to illustrate that, behind every immigrant who has been deported, there are thousands of others in the shadows. We want to show that we want to act as a whole, do whatever we can to help. Our music is a way to communicate solidarity and to protest, too. Music has been used like this for centuries. We want to keep that political nature as our core. We’re always going to say something in our songs. It’s not just shaking it. Of course, you can shake it, too.

Is the tune danceable, then?

Oh yeah. Shake it and think.

What can we do to engender better lives for immigrants as well while cultivating an understanding for what you all are doing through music?

Micah: I think first off, we have to keep our finger on the pulse of culture, of what’s going on in the world. Things are changing all the time, yet the theme remains the same. Especially with this administration. It’s been really rough. But showing compassion—we tend to do charity gigs for the immigration groups we support for instance—the real way to help is to be as inviting as you can. People want to listen to music and our music is a way to enliven the senses.

Well said.

For us, as a band, we have to be able to keep up with the news—not so we can stay relevant—but so that other people won’t get caught in the dark. The whole point behind “Cuida tus Espaldas” is that, yeah, there’s a lot of injustice going on, but for some people it’s a total surprise. We went up to Colorado when ICE raids were going on, when people were being separated from their loved ones. And we played a concert knowing that we were helping and were part of the community [calling the administration into account]. Our music invites others to be members of the community, too. We have this one cause together, locking arms in a positive way.

How have audiences reacted?

We’ve started to get some push back. There have been a couple of instances. After we released the video for “Cuida tus Espaldas” and wrote about it on our email newsletter, we got some fiery push back. Someone wrote back about the immigrants “who come here illegally” and why didn’t we talk about that. You can’t win them all, but the fact is this is really going on and we don’t want people to be blind to it or to turn away from it. For us, even the push back is a positive thing. It encourages us. It’s one of the things that has to be done if you want to put the truth about injustice out there.

Musically, what’s going on with the groove in the tune?

Kilko: It’s a perfect example of the collaboration we do. It’s a song where we each bring something unique from our own culture. It’s started with a riff by Randy Sanchez—he’s not in the band anymore, but he’s still part of the family—it’s very catchy, very nice. Simple but really catchy. Anyway, I thought this riff could go very well with a rhythm that is called caporal, from the Andean region of Bolivia. We did it and then we changed it by adding some cumbia. Cumbia goes with everything, it’s like green chile.

Wow, it’s like postmodernism totally makes polymorphism cool!


At the end of the show, what does Baracutanga mean?

Well, I’d go back to the green chile analogy. It’s like eating a big bowl of green chile stew with a lot of corn from South America folded in for texture. It’s really difficult describe our music, so come to our show and decide for yourself what we mean. The common denominator is that Baracutanga means “People Dancing.” People dance. They dance everywhere and it’s exactly the same all over the planet; they even dance where they shouldn’t, it’s that much fun.

Micah: I think that it’s true what Kilko said about it being a sort of stew. At first when you go to one of our shows, you might not know what to expect other than it’s Latinx music of some kind. But that’s an oversimplification. When you hear all the influences, taste all the flavors and feel the different rhythms coming and going, it really is something thoroughly enjoyable; there is something really special about how this particular group of people writes, performs and embodies their music.

It’s sorta like the quintessential American experience, right? We want to see everyone dancing together in a big melting pot.

Kilko: That is exactly what I was going to tell you. - Weekly Alibi


SINGLE: Cuida tus Espaldas (2019)Recorded at FW Studios in Santa Fe, NM. Mixed and mastered by the Latin Grammy award wining Frank "El Médico" Rodriguez
Produced by: Kilko Paz Rivera

IMPORTADOS (2015)Recorded: Wall of Sound Studios, Third eye Studios, Chipi Cacheda, La Cara B (Cadiz, Spain) , and FW Studios

Mixed: FW Studios

Mastered: Black Box Studios (Madrid, Spain)

Produced by: Kilko Paz Rivera and BARACUTANGA

Copyright Š 2015, all Rights Reserved 



Baracutanga is a seven-piece band representing four different countries (Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, USA) that prides itself on arranging traditional South American rhythms in new and interesting ways, such as huayño and cumbia with Middle-Eastern darbuka or mixing Afro-Cuban bata and Afro-Peruvian festejo with Andean zampoñas, among several other rhythmic combinations. This kind of experimentation, coupled with blending ancestral traditions with a modern sensibility, has resulted in an exciting and distinct Latin flavor all its own that leaves dancing crowds always wanting more.

Lyrically and musically, Baracutanga proposes to build bridges between the south and the north, overcoming the barriers of discrimination.  Aside from their affinity and respect for native rhythms from the lands of their ancestors, the group finds common ground in creating songs those cross-linguistic and cultural barriers, promoting intercultural experiences that empower Latinos with a positive message of self-affirmation.  They fervently oppose all types of violence and conceive their music as a vessel to increase and acknowledge cultural pluralism.

Baracutanga’s new single and video “Cuida tus Espaldas”, mixed by Grammy-nominated, triple platinum engineer Frank “El Medico” Rodriquez (Kinky, Juan Luis Guerra, Daddy Yankee), was released on January 2019.  Their debut full-length studio album, Importados, (recorded in Albuquerque, NM, Santa Fe, NM and Cadiz, Spain) was released in September 2015.  With multiple regional awards and recognition, performances across the Southwest, Rocky Mountains, and California, with stops in Calgary, NOLA, Austin and México, and an ever-growing fan base, New Mexico-based Baragutanga is ready to spread their fresh take and mix of South American flavors to national and international audiences.

Band Members