Brooklyn-based electronic indie band Balún self-identify as transnational. The quartet that broke out of the San Juan indie scene a decade ago has since undergone a formational odyssey through the industry, academia, and the stateside Puerto Rican experience. Balún’s long awaited sophomore album Prisma Tropical focuses an incredibly wide field of genres and influences into a revelatory sound that evokes both of the band’s homes and the distance between them.
We sat down with the band and asked them to name 5 bands that they’re currently into from the local San Juan scene, and also, 5 organizations that are helping with Hurricane María relief efforts.
ÌFÉ – BANGAH (Pico y Palo)
One of our favorite (and NPR’s) albums from 2017, IFE combines traditional afro-caribbean music with cutting edge electronic sounds creating a true form of afrofuturism. We’ve been following band leader Otura Mun and singer Mima for a while and we can’t wait to hear more.
Los Wálters – Más De Nadie
We played with Los Wálters last Christmas in Puerto Rico and it was a blast. Their music and show is full of catchy melodies and dreamy synth vibes. If you ever go to San Juan, make sure to catch their show!
Labajura – L.Y.A
We met Derick Joel aka Labajura last year and he’s part of a new wave of electronic musicians from the island who are making interesting and refreshing dance music. He’s also a very talented graphic designer who’s designed some of our show flyers.
Los Nervios – Resonancia
Andrés Fontanez from Los Nervios is a good friend of ours and he played with Balún for a long time. Los Nervios is his main band which showcases his indie pop and electronic sounds en español.
iLe – Triángulo
We love her powerful yet intimate vocals, the sensible arrangements and her evocative lyrics which give voice to various generations of female artists in her family that were all an essential part of this beautiful and nostalgic record. Our good friend and Balún collaborator Enrique Bayoán tours and records with iLe.
Back in September 2017, Puerto Rico was hit with two powerful category 4-5 hurricanes that caused major destruction to the island’s infrastructure. Almost 4 months later, most Puerto Ricans (including our families and friends) don’t have electricity or water. The following organizations have taken the lead in helping the country get back on track and recover in the short term future by working directly with local communities and artists.
Collective of artists focused on delivering micro grants for Puerto Rican artists)
Focusing on protecting natural, cultural and human resources
Supports grassroots organizing of vulnerable communities on the frontlines and long-term recovery
Serving the immediate and long-term needs of families and communities
Puerto Rico Resiliency Funds
Offers short-term assistance while concentrating on the long-term recovery of Puerto Rico’s sustainable food and farming initiatives)
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