CD5 released: Jan 12, 2024
INTI WATANA: EL RETORNO DEL SOL
The iconic voice of Luzmila Carpio rings out from the Andes, spreading messages of indigenous struggle, female empowerment and unceasing love for both the people and planet around us. An undeniable icon of Bolivian Andean culture whose career spans multiple decades, Luzmila has released more than 25 albums (there's a reason that Rolling Stone described her as "one of the most prolific indigenous singers of South America"), inspiring millions while singing in both her native Aymara-Quechua language and Spanish.Yet Luzmila Carpio isn't someone who's content to simply rest on her laurels; she continues to take risks-and push her music into vibrant new soundworlds. On new album Inti Watana: El Retorno del Sol (her first LP in a decade), she's teamed up with Argentinian producer Leonardo Martinelli (a.k.a. Tremor), a ZZK veteran who's spent the bulk of his career finding the common ground between Latin American folk rhythms and modern electronics. Building off the momentum created by 2015's Luzmila Carpio Meets ZZK collection-in which her music was reworked by not only Tremor, but standout electronic artists like Nicola Cruz, Chancha V a Circuito and El B ho-this new album is meant to stretch across genres, generations and continents, with Luzmila's sonorous, occasionally birdsong-inspired vocalizations gracefully gliding amongst ambient textures, programmed beats and (of course) a bevy of traditional instrumentation from around the globe. Over the course of the LP, Bolivian charangos and quenas sit comfortably alongside the sounds of harmonium, violin, acoustic and electric guitar, Argentinian bombo leguero and sacha guitar, Armenian duduk and a litany of Asian percussion.Inti Watana: El Retorno del Sol-which will be accompanied by a full length documentary-might not sound like previous Luzmila Carpio releases, but on a spiritual, political and lyrical level, her core values remain unchanged. A native of Bolivia's Potos region, she's long been a beacon for indigenous communities in not just her home country, but throughout Latin America, her voice inspiring joy and pride amongst ancient peoples whose culture and inherent beauty are often overlooked. Her pursuit of music-a field traditionally dominated by men in Andean communities-long ago made her a pillar of women's empowerment, but Carpio has also been a vocal proponent for social change, using her influence to advocate not just for the rights of women, but for the protection and increased visibility of all indigenous people. Yet it's the planet itself that Carpio is most passionate about, and she's devoted much of her new album to conversations with Mother Earth and Father Sun, whom she refers to as Pachamama and Tata Inti. In a time of acute environmental turmoil, it's more important than ever to find harmony with our surroundings, and Carpio has purposely planned for the unveiling of her new LP to coincide with the June 21 solstice, while the record's release date falls on September 21-the date of the September equinox.Through it all, Carpio exudes a palpable sense of wonder, her optimism (and reverence for all that exists beyond the everyday) undimmed by even the most seemingly insurmountable challenges. Pachamama and Tata Inti may be the central characters of Inti Watana: El Retorno del Sol, but it's Carpio herself who emerges as the album's most inspiring figure.