LoCura is Spanish for “madness” or “folly,” and it indeed might seem foolish, given our fragmented world, for this multiethnic band from San Francisco to promote unity across cultures through music. Still, there’s no denying the power of the nine-piece ensemble’s ebullient new “Semilla Caminante” (“Traveling Seeds”). Rooted in flamenco music, the album’s 11 tracks fuse elements of punk, funk, reggae and Cuban son to create a sound that’s as urgent — and exhilarating — as the politics of resistance they embrace.
Spurred on by a hiccupping ska backbeat, “Squatters’ Song” is a spirited shout-out to the tenacious picketers of the Occupy movement. “Guerriller@s” is a horn-driven celebration of the strength and activism of justice-minded women everywhere, while “Nuestros Caminos” (“Our Roads”) features Spanish-born lead singer Kata Miletich singing and rapping over martial beats and brooding flamenco guitars. Her sultry alto calls to mind her Colombian counterpart Shakira.
Elsewhere, “To’ Pa’ Mi” features a spongy funk bass line, traditional Latin American percussion and noirish surf-guitar; “Que Falta,” with its sinewy instrumental opening, updates the Chicano funk and soul of the great Los Angeles band War. The jazz- and dub-inflected “Te Sigo,” meanwhile, is a heartfelt pledge of allegiance. “Factions in motion, moving to the shore,” Miletich sings in one of the English stanzas of pensive title track, witnessing to her faith that through global music of the sort that LoCura makes, people of disparate cultures can find common, and mutually inspiring, ground. Traveling seeds, indeed.
“Squatters’ Song,” “Guerriller@s,” “To’ Pa’ Mi”