This week’s Best of the Listening Room feature is Las Lloronas, a Brussels-based trio that merges world music with slam poetry. Learn more about Sura, Amber, and Marieke as they share their music journey in the interview below! But first, check out their knockout performance from the Sofar listening room.
Sura: There was a period at the beginning of Las Lloronas where my grandma was in a psychiatric hospital. I was going to visit her regularly, then meeting Amber to play in the streets. Singing and playing my heart and voice out in the streets after having been confronted with the traumatic stories and suffering of my grandma made me realize how powerful and vital music is to me as a way to channel, transform and cope with strong emotions. I also felt my playing was so bold and raw then. There I realized that I cannot hide when I perform and that I should not even try, because the authenticity of what is happening within fuels the music.
Sura: “Telefone” by Noname, that I first discovered on Tiny Desk, with her “healing the world with vulnerability” and super powerful deeply political and personal lyrics, and her “scramble thought” spoken word style.
“Diaspora” by Ibrahim Maalouf, with the merging of field sounds (streets, radio), traditional sounding pieces and melodies, and electronics and rock, all combined in a coherent and heart-wrenching album.
We just released our first album: "Soaked"! We had a very fun and celebratory weekend last week in which we played 4 open-air concerts for 50 people (sometimes soaked by rain, but also in the sunshine luckily). Right now, we are looking forward to performing this album, to spread it, sing it, and play play play it as much as possible. We have some concert dates coming up this summer, mostly in and around Brussels, but we are looking forward to traveling with these tunes as well. Besides that, we are also slowly working on new songs (stay tuned: www.laslloronasmusic.org).
Amber: Oh, there are so many people we'd love to play with, even if just to meet them and listen to those amazing musicians out there. Giora Feidman, Noname, and I think today I'd choose Tcha Limberger. He is a singer/violinist/guitarist, a multi-instrumentalist genius, I would say, that plays a lot of different folk/traditional music from different cultural backgrounds, but with such devotion. He is someone who I admire for embodying those songs, playing them from the guts with raw emotion. There is a lot to learn from him, his sensitivity and skill.
Marieke: When Belgium entered its first lockdown we had just started to independently organise the release of our album. We got in touch with different venues, one of which was Muziekpublique. I still don’t exactly understand how it happened, but Muziekpublique, which is not only a one-of-a-kind music venue in Brussels, but also a small-scale label, suggested to co-produce the album with us. We were absolutely baffled! And spent the next few weeks trying to wrap our heads around the complex field of music rights, and negotiating our contracts with Muziekpublique. We then went back to the studio to record a few more tracks. We made a video clip for “Lágrimas”, the single of the album. We released “Soaked” online in November 2020, and had to postpone the release concert at least three times since then. That was frustrating and demotivating at times. Of course we also had to face the cancellation of many exciting concert opportunities and festival gigs, and I don’t know how and if we would have made it through this COVID-19 period without the ongoing support, the network and expertise of our label team.
That’s a tough question! We would like to spread our music to so many places! Spain, Germany, and the US are definitely on top of the list, as, between the three of us, we have roots and personal connections in all of them. Playing in Berlin, Sevilla or New York would be a blast!
Marieke: It’s so hard to choose one show! I’m going to pick one from the top of my head — a concert with countertenor Philippe Jaroussky and contralto and conductor Nathalie Stutzmann with her Orfeo 55 baroque orchestra. I was blown away by how their voices fused, how Nathalie Stutzman conducted and sang at the same time, by their enormous precision and soulful interpretations.
And our own favourite show? The release concerts last weekend felt really special! Finally performing “Soaked” on an actual stage towards the actual ears of actual people actually sitting in front of us was absolutely overwhelmingly beautiful.
Meet more incredible artists and bands like Las Lloronas every week in the Listening Room and on the Sofar YouTube channel.