The official video for “Juanita”, also out today on Partisan Records and starring Angélica, was directed by Sonia Malfa, an award-winning documentary filmmaker from Puerto Rico, and explores liberation from restrictive gender roles through its dualling characters. Steeped in Angélica’s love for her culture and passions for visual poetry and storytelling, the black and white video further explores spirituality and Angélica’s Latin heritage.
“Your voice, the sound of stars/Not even the gods can draw you,” Angélica sings on “Juanita”, an expression of beauty in a song that also probes the chaos inherent in cycles of generational trauma, and the possibilities of breaking them. Or as Angélica puts it: “I wanted “Juanita” to feel like the story of my life, but one that was also true in a past life. I wanted the song to have a never-ending quality.”
The track has its roots in 2020, as Angélica was sitting before an altar that she constructed in her bedroom, a culmination of her new inquiry into ancestral veneration: looking into the past to inform the present with familial knowledge. Raised by an Episcopal priest father in a traditional Latino family structure, Angélica has devoted her recent years to the process of deconstructing religion, spirit, heritage, and womanhood, confronting grief and healing.
On the production style and lyrical weight of the song, Angélica adds: “Many cumbias have lyrics about pain and longing... My intention was for the tension and confusion in the song to feel like remembering a past life. I wanted to capture what the shadow side of grief does to us.”
“Juanita” is just the latest signifier Angélica is primed for an exciting 2024. In March she will debut a newly configured live arrangement at SXSW in Austin, Texas and she capped off the last year in stride with her inclusion on the New York Times' songs we (nearly) missed roundup. The end-of-the-year inclusion of the pulsating “El Que”, a part of her striking two-song debut for the label released last fall, is a testament to the major year in store for the young talent.
Last year she also wrapped a string of tour dates with the legendary Blonde Redhead, made her two video/track debut for Partisan which earned praise from Rolling Stone, WNYC and the Fader who said, "Countless songs deal with grief, but few capture the intensity of the fear it provokes in the way “El Que” does. Its cavernous drums — combined with Angélica Garcia's towering, hypnotic vox — evoke the sensation of dancing in a massive club, losing control, surrounded by strangers, immediately after experiencing a devastating personal tragedy." And later on Angélica deepened her immersion in this slow-building hurricane of electronic pop with a delightfully menacing remix from TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek.
It’s clear Angélica is summoning sonic reinforcements from another realm, and with refreshing intensity, that even led WNYC to compare the music to a “sci-fi magic ritual.” These themes were reflected in the visuals for the singles, too, wherein “Y Grito” represents a battle of the physical while “El Que” represents a battle of the mind. Both singles are connected in spirit.
Produced by Chicano Batman’s Carlos Arévalo, “Y Grito” and ‘El Que’ marked Angélica’s first music sung entirely in Spanish, her native language, the one in which she learned to sing rancheras with her family as a child. It’s clear now Angélica has discovered and tapped into a fresh pop perspective, creating music that is searing and borderless, free of cultural confinement and challenging the notion that singing in English is a prerequisite for creating American music.
Now living in Los Angeles, Angélica was raised by her Mexican and El Salvadoran family in El Monte, California; east of LA where she lived for most of her life. Already she’s earned praise from the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, a debut at NPR’s Tiny Desk, space on Barack Obama’s annual best-of-the-year roundup with her cross-cultural anthem “Jícama” along with syncs at Apple, HBO, tour dates with Mitski, Vagabon and beyond. Stay tuned for much more to come from Angélica Garcia later this year, including a series of UK shows this May and June (listed below).
ANGÉLICA GARCIA - UK TOUR DATES
16th - The Great Escape Festival, Brighton
10th - The Louisiana, Bristol
11th - The Castle Hotel, Manchester
12th - The Lower Third, London