Sorry to y’all who have noticed the absence of posts from me since last Thanksgiving, but I just woke up from my food coma. I think mine was definitely the longest, therefor I do believe I win, regardless of the lack of established competition. Nonetheless, I am sorry for not sharing my musical discoveries and developments in the past year; with this apology, shall we embark on something new? Yes, or should I say, “algo nuevo.” Vamos.
The “new wave” movement means something different to everyone. When the term is brought up many would call upon New Wave/Punk/Cult-Hat-Sensation Devo, others on the dark, synth-pop stylings of New Order and Depeche Mode, but travel to Venezuela and you will discover something entirely different. Mention “la Onda Nueva” on the streets of Caracas and you will surely find yourself discussing the genius of Aldemaro Romero, a child prodigy turned experimental-Latin Jazz composer. At age nine Romero was a staple of Venezuelan radio, getting airtime as a piano player. At age thirteen he relocated from his home in Valencia to Caracas to play piano professionally. After moving to New York and subsequently returning to his native Venezuela he did the world the great pleasure of practically inventing and founding the “Onda Nueva.” This distinct brand of Venezuelan Jazz-Classical fusion is very easily identifiable by its use primarily of triplet based percussion patterns, deeply arranged vocals, mostly performed by small choirs along with traditional big band instrumentation.
One of the most distinct arrangements in the Onda Nueva is that of Romero’s composition “Natalia.” This piece embodies the semi-ridiculous, playful experience that the Onda Nueva is known for. Instrumentation on this lush track is incredibly sparse. The band consists of a drummer equipped with brushes laying down some light, nonetheless groovy, triplet beats and (my guess) about four (?) vocalists, split half male, half female. The men take on the traditional thumping bass parts while the women dominate the upper register with extensive, rather disorienting and technical hocketing. Natalia is a song without lyrics, but other tracks feature, of course, Spanish, so if that’s something you’re into, you’ll REALLY like this. You’ll also be pretty into it if you like to dance. It’s really hard not to.
Natalia can be found here:
And another of my personal favorites, Marisela: