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Helado Negro

The eclectic electronic pop musician is back at Doug Fir! Get ready to dance.

Helado Negro

Luz Elena Mendoza, Anis Mojgani, Daniela Karina

Wed, March 8

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

Doug Fir Lounge

Portland, OR

$12.00 - $14.00

This event is 21 and over

Helado Negro
Helado Negro
The son of Ecuadorean immigrants, Helado Negro was born in South Florida in 1980. His childhood was suffused with tropical heat, humidity, hurricanes, all refracted with the rich sounds and colors of the various Latin American cultures of southern Florida. Pounding bass beats from passing cars, boom boxes bouncing down the block, and late-night parties called "peñas" provided a foundation for Helado Negro's interest in sound and lifelong quest to discover the unlimited variety of objects used to produce music. Most recently he created a new collaborative group with Julianna Barwick called OMBRE releasing their debut album in 2012 called Believe You Me. Helado Negro has worked with Bear in Heaven mixing their Pitchfork's Best New Music album Beast Rest Forth Mouth. He also produced Prefuse 73's 2010 album Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian.

If that was not enough, Helado Negro's other projects include ROM, Epstein, and Helado Negro. Epstein is Helado Negro's "beats and loops" project, a friendly beast born of the MPC sampler. Epstein's wildly prolific output, including a series of digital releases, full-lengths, and a remix album, is a gauzy, sunny kind of dancemusic that references DJ mixing, summertime blockparties, and mellow compositional noise. Helado Negro came together when Helado Negro moved to New York in 2006 (he now calls Crown Heights, Brooklyn home). The early group concept grew through projects and experiments Roberto would conduct while recording himself and others in his home studio. Loops, computer synthesis, record samples, and live instruments provided the foundation for the first full-length, Awe Owe, a vibrant, shimmering, full-band Latin psyche-funk-folk epic.

After taking time to create a new series of sound sculptures, release a Helado Negro EP, score one film and begin work on another (based around his animation), Helado Negro recently holed up in a cabin in the Connecticut woods to record the follow-up to Awe Owe. Canta Lechuza is the latest incarnation of Helado Negro and its sound may come as a surprise. Gone is the big collaborative group jam of previous work and in its place is Helado-Negro-as-intimate-solo-project. Canta Lechuza feels like the place it was recorded—its vocals and beats and synth lines coming together to craft a warm, buoyant, comforting electronic dance sound, an effortless, personal thing anchored by Helado Negro's warm, earthy, conversational voice. Based around field recordings and live instrumentation fed through computer processing, Canta Lechuza is a thoroughly modern affair, a thing drenched in texture and mood. The album has the feeling of hibernation, of satisfying days spent keeping warm next to the fire, of hot tea and technology as constant companions. It's the kind of record that feels good to hear alone, but throw it on at your next danceparty and you will have no complaints. This is the world of Helado Negro. Keep an eye on him. He'll always have a surprise for you…
Luz Elena Mendoza
Luz Elena Mendoza
With Y LA BAMBA, Luz Elena Mendoza draws from both her strict Catholic upbringing as an only daughter of a Mexican immigrant and a debilitating illness that led her to fall away from her faith, to create what LA Weekly calls "Devendra Banhart-influenced art-folk with hazy femme vocals and traditional Mexican sounds."

Mendoza's father immigrated to the Bay Area from the Michoacan region of Mexico after meeting her mother who had received her US citizenship as a teenager. Her father got a job at a southern Oregon sawmill and Luzelena would spend her childhood summers on a farm in California's San Joaquin Valley among peach, almond, and fig orchards. It was in these strong Mexican communities that she would soak up the melodies and the stories that were being told while, as she remembers it, "the men with tassel hats" strummed their guitars and sang their traditional folk songs in three part harmonies. "I remember singing along, mimicking my father's voice and dancing like a little wild child," she recalls. For Mendoza, this music was the only way she could relate to her father, and was a bright spot in a rough childhood.

In 2003, Mendoza traveled to New Zealand and India, in a quest for a deeper understanding of her spiritual growth as an active Christian, hungry for the tools to create a shift on this planet. During her trip to India, she contracted amoebic dysentery and giardia, causing her to suffer from insomnia, lose 60 pounds and fear her loss of sanity. "It shook me in ways I was not expecting, leading me to struggle with my prayer life and search for a healthy relationship with God, the universe, and with myself," says Mendoza of her condition (which was only complicated with a misdiagnosis). "I gave up on Christianity and what religion was starting to mean to me due to a natural awareness that was knocking on my door."

Upon her return to the US, she took in a white six-toed cat to keep her company as she fought to regain her physical, emotional and spiritual health. She christened her new feline companion La Bamba, a name that she incorporated into a moniker for her home recordings and performances at open mic nights in her new home, Portland. Bassist and vocalist Ben Meyercord caught some of Mendoza's open mic performances and the two quickly found a musical connection. In a whirlwind week that she said happened magically, Mendoza recruited Mike Kitson on drums and David Kyle on guitar. Luzelena played in an Ashland band with Kitson when she wanted a more quiet alternative to her early punk roots and Kyle was a musician she met online that shared her spiritual and eccentric philosophies. Intuition told her that she was going to meet the final piece in her musical puzzle and, sure enough, she stumbled upon accordion player Eric Schrepel playing the squeezebox at a puppet show.

With a raw songbook of home recordings under her belt and a new group of musicians to help Mendoza with her musical vision, Y LA BAMBA began to captivate audiences in Portland and tour stops around the US. Eventually, the quintet would attract the attention of The Decemberists guitarist Chris Funk, who offered his production skills for the band's first studio recording. Funk worked tirelessly to capture Y LA BAMBA's rustic tones, songs inspired by the traditional tunes of Mendoza's childhood, and her signature vocals that resemble the sounds spilling out of a 1930's Victrola. Dubbing the confidently stunning body of songs Lupon (after a nickname that Mendoza's father despised), Y LA BAMBA has emerged from the studio, ready to wow listeners everywhere. Lupon will be available during the fall of 2010 on Tender Loving Empire.
Anis Mojgani
Anis Mojgani
Anis Mojgani is a two time National Poetry Slam Champion, winner of the International World Cup Poetry Slam, and multiple-time TEDx Speaker. He has been awarded residencies from the Vermont Studio Center, AIR Serenbe, and the Oregon Literary Arts Writers-In-The-Schools program. Anis has performed at numerous universities, festivals, and venues around the globe and has performed for audiences as varied as the House of Blues and the United Nations. His work has appeared on HBO, NPR, and in the pages of such journals as Rattle, Forklift Ohio, Paper Darts, and Thrush. He is also one heck of a nice guy.
Daniela Karina
Daniela Karina