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Interview: Insólito UniVerso

Updated: Nov 13, 2018

Photo By: Betty Zapata
Photo By: Betty Zapata

Check out our interview with Venezuelan Experimental Folk group Insólito UniVerso. Currently residing in Paris, France, they are creating an exploratory style of their own rooted in their culture. Listen to their latest singles now!

Hey Insólito UniVerso! Thanks for interviewing with Indie Witches. How did your band come to be?
It all started with an artist residency at FGO Barbara, a music and arts centre in Paris. Me and Raul got together playing and talking about Venezuelan music and all the unusual associations that our ears brought together, stuff we liked, combinations rather far away, like Meredith Monk, Stereolab, gamelan music, Schubert, Tom Waits,  Monteverdi. Then we wrote together two of the songs of our album, and got the hints for three more, we didn't know what will come out of it, but we had the smell that something very fond for our creative path had chances to appear. Then I invited Edgar, with whom I used to improvise on Venezuelan contemporary poetry, and Raul called Andrés who plays with him in his other project of Afro Venezuelan music, then we had the feeling we'd got a sound of our own, and we quite enjoyed the thing.
2) What is your music making process?
Usually I bring lyrics and a melody and cuatro accompaniment (venezuelan guitar) , and then we work all together on the structure of the whole thing. Other times Raul shows me some material that becomes a melody that calls up the lyrics, and becomes a song , Edgar wrote Yo soy mi Rio out of a poem of Eugenio Montejo, an extraordinary venezuelan poet.
3) How was it doing research on the musical traditions of your home country Venezuela to help create your own sound?
It's an essential thing, I wonder how much of nostalgia is in it. But personally I cannot imagine doing popular music without connecting to these roots. The sound of the cuatro, kind of a larger ukulele, as well as ternary rythyms with unexpected accents, gives a raw, rural, dusty sound that gives us a foundation to explore with the infinity of new sounds and textures of other musics more jazzy, electronic or contemporary. I think we enjoy this distant dialogue - do they really listen to each other...? - between the venezuelan folk fields and the urban electricity.
4) How is the music scene in Paris?
Paris is very fond of traditional music, rather purist; they are very curious and at the time a little skeptic towards fusion, but here is where we happen to be.
5) Favorite venue you’ve played?
This summer we enjoyed a lot playing at the Festival de la Cour Denis, in Lormes, France; it's a music festival organised by free music makers, where we met a bunch of people proposing really amazing music like the Meridian Brothers, Stratocastors, Chocolat Billie, Magallanes...
6) If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Maybe we would all agree in having dinner with Aldemaro Romero, a venezuelan composer, who created de Onda Nueva in the 70's, kind of venezuelan bosa nova, a genre which definitely inspire us. 
7) What artists are you currently listening to?
Each one has it's own, but we go on sharing excepts from CAN, Josephine Foster, Tortoise, Portishead, Julia Holter, Steve Reich, Pharaoh Sanders, Sun Ra, Stereolab, Hermeto Pascoal...
8) Any upcoming shows? Where is the best place for fans to follow you?
We will be playing in London at the Servants Jazz Quarters on the 30th of november for the Album launch and the on the 20th of december at the Cirque Electrique in Paris. you can follow our Facebook page.


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