Nicola Cruz Merges Electronic And Folk Music With The Use Of Cave Acoustics Ecuador-based musician Nicola Cruz is known for mixing electronic music with various ancestral instruments. His new album, Siku, is out now.
NPR logo

Nicola Cruz Merges Electronic And Folk Music With The Use Of Cave Acoustics

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/688813284/688976879" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Nicola Cruz Merges Electronic And Folk Music With The Use Of Cave Acoustics

Nicola Cruz Merges Electronic And Folk Music With The Use Of Cave Acoustics

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/688813284/688976879" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF NICOLA CRUZ'S "SIETE")

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Our next guest is one of the most well-known electronic musicians in South America.

NICOLA CRUZ: I'm Nicola Cruz. I'm a musician based in Ecuador. I mainly focus on electronic music, kind of mixing the folklore and roots from around South America.

SIMON: He creates vivid soundscapes using various instruments, including wood flutes, percussions and small guitars.

CRUZ: Living in a place like Ecuador, it just feels natural. You know, all around folklore and roots are quite present. You know, you turn on the radio and you listen to folkloric music.

(SOUNDBITE OF NICOLA CRUZ'S "SANACION")

CRUZ: It came to a point where I was making techno music with I guess a faster BPM, and I decided to slow down and, you know, investigate, like, music from here, never thinking about, like, what would sell or whatever, you know? And it got to a point where I created this song called "Sanacion," which opens "Prender El Alma."

(SOUNDBITE OF NICOLA CRUZ'S "SANACION")

CRUZ: And that really made me take a step back and realize what what I was doing. And, like, it really felt magical. It felt powerful.

SIMON: Nicola Cruz released the song "Sanacion" on his first album four years ago. Now he's out with his second project called "Siku."

CRUZ: "Siku" is a reference to an wind instrument here from the Andes, but at the same time, "Siku" means - well, it's, like, an Andean tradition, which means playing in pairs, not necessarily playing, like, in the physical form but really being connected with one another while playing.

(SOUNDBITE OF NICOLA CRUZ'S "SIKU")

CRUZ: I tried to be as experimental as possible. You know, I feel that's one of the things we can take advantage of in electronic music.

(SOUNDBITE OF NICOLA CRUZ'S "ARKA")

CRUZ: At the same time, in lots of other songs, I like to record outside of a conventional studio or space where things can be a bit more chaotic.

(SOUNDBITE OF NICOLA CRUZ'S "ARKA")

CRUZ: So "Arka" was recorded in these caves in a volcano near me. It's not an active volcano but pretty much all the mountains around here were once a volcano. And "Arka" is done in collaboration with Esteban Valdivia. And he does such a great job in - I don't like the word rescuing but at the same time, he - that's what he does, pre-Columbian instruments, and he's a master at playing those.

(SOUNDBITE OF NICOLA CRUZ'S "ARKA")

CRUZ: We always wanted to do a song together. And so we thought, like, these caves, which are near our homes, was the perfect place to experiment. So we got together, just the two of us. I set up some microphones, started experimenting with the space. Those caves have quite a vibe. So it really puts you in a nice, nice mood to be creative, you know.

(SOUNDBITE OF NICOLA CRUZ'S "SENOR DE LAS PIEDRAS")

CRUZ: Do I change the perception of pop music here in Latin America? Well, I hope so, you know? I really - at least I know I'm doing my music, you know, with quality and intention. So, yeah, I really hope it gets heard, and it replaces our concept of, you know, popular music - enough reggaeton (laughter). No, I like reggaeton.

(SOUNDBITE OF NICOLA CRUZ'S "SENOR DE LAS PIEDRAS")

Copyright © 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.