Meridian Brothers - Metamorfosis (feat. Grupo El Renacimiento)

Song of the Day
Hosted by Albina Cabrera

Today's Song of the Day, as chosen by Albina Cabrera and DJ Chilly, hosts of El Sonido, in honor of Aquí y Ahora: Without Borders, is "Metamorfosis (feat. Grupo El Renacimiento)" by Meridian Brothers, from the 2022 album Meridian Brothers & El Grupo Renacimiento on Ansonia Records.


 
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photo by PERLA HERNÁNDEZ GALICIA (CORTESÍA)
written by jasmine albertson

This week's Songs of the Day were selected by KEXP DJs Albina Cabrera and DJ Chilly, hosts of El Sonido, in honor of Aquí y Ahora: Without Borders. Join KEXP September 12 through October 14 for a month dedicated to amplifying the contributions, resilience, and music of Latinx, Hispanic and Latino-identified communities worldwide. More info here.


For Eblis Álvarez, frontman and figurehead behind Bogotá band Meridian Brothers, the imaginary is a primary source of inspiration. His latest record, and 11th since the band’s inception in 1998, is a collaboration with a fictional band called Grupo El Renacimiento. Creating an entire backstory for the band, Álvarez claims them to be a 1970s salsa group from a small village in Colombia who had a small amount of fame but then were forgotten after the band delved further into drugs and partying.

But that’s not the only story on Meridian Brothers & El Grupo Renacimiento. There’s also a Kafka-esque storyline on today’s Song of the Day “Metamorfosis,” in which the formerly-human protagonist wakes up to find themselves transformed into a robot. “Memory is dying,” reads the English translation of the lyrics. “They’ve already connected the internet to my lung /To my heart.”

“Salsa singers in the '70s, they used to sing about, you know, like, actual problems,” Álvarez told NPR in an interview. “Social problems, political problems, human problems of emotional problems. So I decide to imitate that attitude - ‘Metamorfosis’ - that tells about this dystopian world where technology takes over the human brain, takes over the human body, takes over the human societies and control it.”

This record is also important because it marks the first release in 30 years from long-standing label Ansonia Records. Created in 1949 by Puerto Rican immigrant Rafael ‘Ralph’ Pérez, the New York-based label was the home for a surprisingly large, diverse, and important catalog of seminal recordings featuring traditional and popular Latin rhythms and sounds. Genres such as música jíbara, plena, bomba, danza, son, guajira, bolero, danzón and merengue are well represented, as are guaracha, mambo, cha-cha-cha, pachanga and boogaloo.

Watch the lyric video (in both English and Spanish) for “Metamorfosis” below.

 

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