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By Kevin Duggan
Would you like to ride with their
A Bushwick band will play its
blend of dream pop and Puerto Rican
beats to launch the 2020 House Sessions
concert series at Bric on March 5. Balún
layers synth-laden sounds over a popular
1990s Caribbean rhythm known as dembow,
creating a new sound the musicians
dub “Dreambow.” The music connects
them to their native island and to the past,
said the band’s frontwoman.
“There was certainly an element of
nostalgia that came in but it was also a
way for us to reconnect with the island,”
said Angélica Negrón, who sings and
plays accordion for the band.
Negrón and her bandmates formed as
an indie-rock group in Puerto Rico in the
early 2000s and they released their debut
full-length record “Something Comes
Our Way” in 2006, shortly before moving
to Brooklyn. Their music already
had a subtle influence from dembow,
which Negrón attributes to being surrounded
by reggaeton and other popular
music of the Caribbean.
While in New York, the band’s Puerto
Rican influences stood out from their
peers, and the band began to deliberately
highlight those elements, adding
the accordion and traditional string instruments
like the tiple and the cuatro to
the mix, according to Negrón.
“It was something we just took for
granted, but when we moved out slowly
it just became more of something we
carefully thought about,” she said. “It
came out very naturally. It was almost
a stream of consciousness.”
In 2010, the band published “Memoria
Textil,” inspired by early 8-bit
video game music, but the group’s 2018
album “Prisma Tropical,” brought all
their eclectic influences together for a
“We’re embracing the totality of who
we are more,” Negrón said.
Negrón’s lyrics, which are all in Spanish,
often deal with the experience of
living between two different places, the
“That connects to being part of a
diaspora and this experience of going
back and forth between places you
call home, this kind of push and pull,”
At the March 5 concert, the band
will open for Chilean musician Álex
Anwandter, who will bring his 1980sinfluenced
dance music and songwriting
to the show.
Band from Puerto Rico blends
dreampop and island rhythms
“Balún” at Bric House 647 Fulton
St. at Rockwell Place in Fort Greene,
(718) 855–7882, www.bricartsmedia.
org. March 5 at $18 ($15 in advance).
Photos by Kelly Smalls
Pretty in pink: (top) The six-piece
Balún will play Bric on March 5.
(above) Angélica Negrón sings
and plays percussion.