Ibelisse Guardia Ferragutti & Frank Rosaly set to release debut album, MESTIZX

Photo: GUMO

Bolivian-born singer and multi-medium performer Ibelisse Guardia Ferragutti and Puerto Rican drummer, composer and sound designer Frank Rosaly have announced the release of their debut album. Entitled MESTIZX, the album is a journey through their culture and identity, intersecting their heritage from Bolivia, Brazil, and Puerto Rico. The album’s title, MESTIZX, reflects their embrace of mixed identities and was chosed as “a non-gendered version of the sometimes slurred Spanish colonial word for a “mixed person” – as a means of both challenging and embracing the liminality of their identities and artistic practices”, as the press release describes.

Speaking about MESTIZX , Rosaly had this to share:

“I grew up quite Puerto Rican in my home, but was taught to mask it outside my home. I wasn’t allowed to speak Spanish, so the drums eventually became my language, secretly tying together my own feeling of connection to mi tierra. This record is the first time I actively give voice to the nuance within myself, allowing me to take ownership of this in-between, which is what this album communicates for me… There is this unusual place that exists between these two cultures, of which I am both. There is a complex story in that sliver of in-betweenness, worthy of giving voice to all of us that live in-between.”

Ferragutti also this to say:

“My personal understanding is one that stems from being placed in between lineages that carry the colonizer and colonized, the oppressor and oppressed, the demon and the angel… thus by definition is tied to post-colonial social constructs which we as Bolivians have to step in, like a 500 year novel that goes on and on… We have access to many memories and traditions, but not really, because we don’t fully belong to any of those… This makes us feel we’re in a constant state of being the “visitors” and “outsiders.” On one hand, we are never truly part of one lineage. On the other hand, it makes us a travelers of worlds, storytellers in between multiple languages, cultures, and worldviews. We chose MESTIZX for this work as an act of recognizing the mixed state of being as a difficult and yet powerful one.”

Produced and recorded at International Anthem Studios in Chicago, MESTIZX features an incredible ensemble of musicians, including Matt Lux, Avreeayl Ra, Ben LaMar Gay, Daniel Villarreal, Bill MacKay, Rob Frye, and Mikel Patrick Avery, and additional contributions from Chris Doyle, Guilherme Granado, Viktor Le Givens and Fredy Velásquez. The album traverses a wide range of musical styles, weaving together avant jazz, art punk, post-rock, bomba, plena, cumbia, Andean, minimal, electronica, and folk.

Ahead of the album’s release on May 3rd through International Anthem and Nonesuch, Ferragutti  and Rosaly are offering a marvelous glimpse into the album’s rich tapestry of sounds with lead single ‘Destejer’. The single comes with a gorgeous accompanying video directed by Espectador Domesticado, filmed against the backdrop of Corani Lake, near Ferragutti’s hometown in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Watch it now.

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