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South American duo Lulacruza exhibits soundscapes evocative of rainforest shamanic parties, oozing spiritual-sensual electronica beats and sultry-soft vocal inflections. Emanating a sense of seeking, of growth and insight, the pair, consisting of Alejandra Ortiz and Luis Maurette, also offer a hint of spicy soul flair, worthy of an up close and personal, booty-shaking club waltz. Blending folk of their Colombian and Argentinian roots with modern electronics, the pair uses an array of musical apparatuses including South American instruments, varied percussion (African drums), woodwinds and even accordion to create a phantasm-inducing auditory trip.


Founded as Lulacruza in 2006, Ortiz and Maurette met while studying at Berklee in Boston with Maurette playing on the drumset as well as producing electronic music, and Ortiz singing jazz and playing South American folk music.

“We got together because we were deeply interested in ritual music… We loved anything from indigenous tribal music to electronic dance music,” said Ortiz.

Most moved by synchronicity and the raw beauty of nature, their compositions offer an organically fluid listening experience. The two discussed their aspirations and inspirations for an entire year prior to getting together to play.

“One of our aspirations is to create music that truly dialogues with the chaotic beauty of nature… Another is to make people dance while awakening their memory, making music that resonates in the most crystalline corners of their DNA, just like teacher plant medicine does. Also, we make music to give voice to our many voices inside…”


Their first album, Do Pretty! was recorded with folk instruments, field recordings and electronic programming. Since then they have recorded three more albums: Soloina (2008), Canta EP (2009) and Circular Tejido (2011), and made a film in 2012 entitled Esperando el Tsunami. Directed by Vincent Moon,the piece documents their improvisations in nature with folk musicians while traveling in Colombia. In the past eight years, Lulacruza has toured extensively in the US festival circuit as well as Mexico, Colombia and Argentina. Now, they are completing their fourth album Orcas, recorded on the San Juan Islands off the coast of Seattle.

I believe it is our most personal album, with a lot of songs about love,” Ortiz divulges. “It was recorded when I was 5 months pregnant and features the instruments we play the most: the Colombian cuatro, the Bolivian charango, the Argentinian bombo leguero and the Indian Shruti box.”

The band is also working on a visual album, recorded during the travels in Colombia with Vincent Moon, incorporating unused material from the film.

“We have so much good material that didn´t make the movie. We want to release some gems from our collaborations with Colombian musicians as well as from our live performances in nature. With time, our appreciation for Vincent’s creative input has grown. We are also re-discovering some of the sound work by Andres Velasquez (the project’s sound engineer), his intrepid mic techniques, which included placing mics under sand, in water and in close proximity to some crazy insects.”


Accordingly, they describe their music as encapsulating nature, rather than focusing on a specific style or genre.

“We like to let nature talk through us, move through us, dance through us…In our ears, synthesizers, loopers and crickets are just as important as traditional folk instruments, chants and silence.”

They believe that music comes with a purpose—that it occurs and is created in the present, and that its vibrations offer healing benefits moving through bodies and minds.

“Music moves through you. It is vibration and is received not only through our ears but also received with our whole bodies; all our tissues receive the vibration of music. Thus, music can not only change our emotional state, it can physically alter all the vibration of our organs and tissues…Music can awaken deep intuitive knowledge, through resonance. And what’s best, you don’t need to understand it for it to be working its primal magic.”


Its importance, Ortiz expounds, comes with the ability to move and exist in everything.

Music is everywhere, music is in everything that moves, from the atoms, to the circulatory system, to the astral bodies travelling in the universe… When we make music, we create entire universes with the vibration. What could be more important?”

As such, Ortiz elects a significant piece as Doña Doña from their first album, designating it a “potent” song and “good medicine” for them to play.

It talks about letting parts of ourselves die, to make space for the new. It´s always painful to let go of a relationship and even harder to let go of ideas about ourselves, yet its always through death that new life can grow…”

Reinforcing this idea was a particular incident they experienced on their first day of filming Esperando el Tsunami where they encountered a recently stabbed dead man on top of a mountain.

“It was an intense experience which was caught on tape. We mention it in the film but we decided not to include the footage. It set the tone for the rest of our travels.”


And, as sinuous as their music, the last thing she learned was a lesson of ire.

“Anger can be a very constructive tool if used properly. It can ignite a creative force as strong as a volcano if you dare to feel it, accept it and use it for concrete action!”

Lulacruza intends to perform at more community-organized events where the experience is co-created by organizers, artists and audience members, and are thus far “richer.”

“We love DIY but truly we are advocates of DIT (Do it Together).”

Their wildest dream?

“A world with clear clean bodies of water, thriving with self-sufficient communities, where everyone dances, everyone sings, and diversity is honored.”


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