Electro-folk duo Lulacruza is teaming up with videographer Vincent Moon (of the cult-beloved Takeaway Shows) on a quest to uncover and reinterpret the myriad styles of Colombian music. Part ethnomusicology, part composition, and part cinema, the project offers backers a fully immersive cultural experience with rare field recordings, exclusive outtakes, conversations with the artists themselves, and much more. We’re pretty excited about all of it, so we decided to jump the gun and give you an early look into the artists’ thoughts and ambitions.
LM = Luis Maurette (Lulacruza); VM = Vincent Moon
In your video you say you want to help preserve the many kinds of Colombian music through interacting with and reinterpreting them. What are the differences in cultural preservation between recording and releasing traditional music versus reinterpreting it and creating new forms?
LM: From some of the travels I’ve done in the past, I’ve learned that cultural extinction is a very real phenomenon. Western culture, mainly through its media, is taking over many of the smaller cultures and languages. The young people of these communities watch television, go online, and in many cases are more interested in the trends of the western world than in their own language, music, and culture.
By archiving these cultures we are doing nothing to help them continue to be alive. I think that the only way cultures can survive is through adaptation, through dialogue, and through reinterpretation. By creating new musical forms in collaboration and by exchanging ideas and knowledge through workshops for the communities, we hope to contribute to the well-being and cultural flowering of the cultures we encounter.
VM: Personally, I see the 20th century as the century of cultural archival. A lot has been done, by great people, to preserve, or “save,” various cultures around the world. But nowadays, the needs are not the same, and the whole “musification” of numerous aspects of cultures makes the experimentation with such traditions very important — to keep them alive, in some way. “A recording is a tombstone of a live performance,” as Hakim Bey said.
You’re going to be improvising as you go. Have you done other improvisational projects in the past? If so, what were they and how will this be similar or different?
LM: Creating music that arises from the moment is an essential part of Lulacruza. In our live concerts, songs are loose structures that allow us to create from being present, not only through improvisation but also through channeling. Each moment and each place allows for the music to takes different shapes and colors.
This project is based around that belief, setting up experiences that will open the door for us to create things that are outside our normal lives and circumstances, opening the door to places and the music that resides in each place.
VM: I always improvise as much as possible in my films. They don’t need a strict narrative line, so I can play with the encounters, the impromptu of everyday life. The pleasure of filming comes from this very first idea that I film things I don’t know. It’s my main reason to make films, to learn in the process.
How did you three meet and decide to collaborate?
LM: We met in Buenos Aires about a year ago but Alejandra was in Colombia at the time so we couldn’t film with Vincent. Through conversations we realized our common fascination for the sound of folkloric music around the world. An initial invitation to come to Bogotá to film Lulacruza grew into the ideas of this project.
VM: I guess a common excitement to explore various sounds of various parts of the world made us quickly connect around exploring Colombia.
Are there other projects, movements, and/or key players out there doing something like what you’re doing, in other parts of the world, that you’re a fan of?
LM: I’m a fan of a number of human projects that I’ve encountered in the past few years, groups of people reimagining how to relate to each other, how to relate to the land they live in, and how to relate to the greater society. People who stretch the meaning of what it is to be alive and who explore the capacity of being human.
In terms of music, I’ve recently been listening non-stop to an unreleased album by an artist named “Mucho Indio” that very effectively brings the world of minimal electronic music and the world of indigenous music together.
VM: I am a big fan of the works of Lucky Dragons and Jacob Kierkegaard these days. They are trying various options in between genres, and it’s something very important I think. There are too many people to cite, but as a traveller, obviously Damo Suzuki has been a constant inspiration.
You can support the project here.