And now for something (at least a little) different: DeLeon, who are fresh off of a tour with Os Mutantes and are playing The Red & The Black tomorrow are a Sephradic indie rock band (from Brooklyn). Pulling heavily from the Iberian Peninsula influence, the relentlessly energentic outfit using complex Spanish and middle-Eastern percussion and electronic rhythms along with Ladino, Hebrew, and English lyrics blending it all seamlessly together into something that is both traditional and thoroughly modern and accessible. Mainly, you really don’t need me attempting to describe it, you should just hear it.
We asked frontman Dan Saks to walk us through a couple of their songs, to give you a taste of things to come. Take it away Dan:
This, like all of our music is based on an ancient Sephardic folk song. This one happens to be one trippy extended metaphor. It’s sometimes titled “Si La Mar Era de Leche” or “If the Sea Were Made of Milk,” which is a pretty big if. It’s full of great imagery which we tried to bring to life in a music video that we made for the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYFrpLckWf0
Almond Trees –
More than one person has told me that this sounds like a Talking Heads song. I don’t hear it, but I’ll take it because I like the Talking Heads and I like people and I’d hate for there to be tension between the three of us. This is one of the more radical reinterpretations on our album, in that it has neither the original language (Ladino) or melody. It is however a fairly faithful translation of the song it is based on, Arvolicos D’Amlendra. Here is a video of the song we made while on the road with Os Mutantes with a cameo by the mutants themselves: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2EhwCrUIKE
La Vida Do Por El Raki –
I give my life for Raki, which is an old school anisette type liquor. Who doesn’t like a good song about drinking? This one dates back to before the Spanish Inquisition, but substitue Raki for a well mixed Manhattan and you’ve got yourself a modren classic. When we were recording this record I was working in a restaurant kitchen in Brooklyn. I was the only non-Mexican in the crew and found myself listening to a ton load of Mexican drinking music while on the job. This song was me trying to imagine my ancestors living in my modern habitat and figure out how this tune might be sung today with all the various influences going on over here in Brooklyn town…but while using a banjo.
Sometime late last year we were asked if we would donate a song to an Amnesty International compilation being compiled by Buffetlibre to raise money to combat human rights abuses around the world. ”Sure thing” we said. ”How about a cover from the 70s, 80s or 90s?” they said. ”Wow that’s broad. Ok, let’s do a Shakira song” we said. And it was.
This is the song we did. The compilation just came out on April 12th and you can now download all 180 songs, many from artists you know and love, for a donation of your choosing at the swanky new website HERE: clickclick