Clap With Me

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In the beginning there are two claps.
The claps ground the light tapping of drum sticks. A guitar chord tentatively dances around the taps and claps, establishing a lighthearted funkiness to the song. When the heavy instrumentation of Mostacho Xprmnt’s new single “Clap With Me” falls in a few bars later, we’re already ready to groove along to the band’s first dance song.
“We needed an opener for our show. The words are an invitation to come jam with us,” says Andrés Marín, Mostacho Xprmnt’s drummer and founder of the band. He began the project in Boston while studying music composition at Berklee College of Music. Since then, the band has seen many singers, many pianists and guitarists, though Marín notes that “Dave [Lowenthal, Mostacho’s bassist], he’s been there all along.” More than any genre or musical influence, Marín’s vision of collaboration has been the drive of the project. With its a jazz vocalist, funk bassist and rock guitarist, Marín sees the band as an incubator for new, and sometimes difficult, sounds. “Clap with Me” was born out of ideas that former keyboardist Haruka Yabuno and former guitarist Eitan Akman brought to a jam. It became obvious to put them together. As the band’s line-up changed, subsequent musicians layered their own sound on top of the sounds that came before them. Marín is proud of the product. “It’s a true collaboration. It has the flavors of all the members of the band.”

Mostacho Xprmnt’s vision of collaboration means that it can be difficult to pin a genre on the band. Their compositions experiment with instrumental pieces that play with jolting time signatures and mellow slow-jams. “Clap with Me” is one of the band’s first forays into easily danceable music, and, judging from the audience reaction at their recent single release party, they seem to be on the right track.
Mostacho Xprmnt celebrated the release of “Clap With Me” with a party at Piano’s on a recent Sunday evening. On stage, singer Leala Cyr and guitarist Luís D’Elias’s flirtatious chemistry led the audience through the varied set. The band closed with their opener, “Clap with Me,” and with the first notes of its ear-worm of a hook the song had infused the Churning audience with a beginning-of-the-night energy. The band progressed into the dreamy bridge of broken piano chords and roaming vocals, and charged into the ambiguously undone ending. Audience members bopped along throughout it all, and when Cyr sang, “Clap with me,” they did.

La Giraffa’s First Day of Spring Playlist

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Mother Nature loves the irony of burying us in 24-hours worth of wet, sticky snow just as the calendar announces Spring. My apartment, though, is a tropical paradise.  Why? Because of music.

I love music: I grew up with Motown and Bluegrass, spent my adolescent years head-banging to grudge and learning to dance with R&B, went on to hip-hop in my young adult years, had a short soca and reggae phase, and now I’ve been pretty steadily stuck on music of Latin America. All of this over the backdrop of my professional musician father’s jazz and classical. This is the simplified version. Now I date a musician who’s band creates avant-garde jazz/R&B fusion. Because of the scope of music I’m exposed to, I think I have pretty great taste.

My boyfriend agrees, and recently suggested I share my favorite songs with the world. So, here you are: the very first La Giraffa playlist. I cheated a bit for this one, because most of the songs were on a mix CD I made for my father years ago. It was such a hit that he’s since made copies for all his friends and the rest of the family.

Here’s the YouTube version:

And here’s the Spotify (which do you prefer?)

A short description: Most of these songs are from Brazil, Colombia, or from elsewhere in Latin America. I lived in Latin America for a few years, and for me Samba is has an almost unbearably romantic sound. And the rhythms of the Caribbean are unbeatable.

This playlist is pretty mellow: all instruments and voice, no electronics, no reggaeton or funk carioca, sorry! That will have be another playlist.

And if you made it all the way to the end of this post, here’s an old video of me pretending to samba in a waterfall. Those were the days!