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Ani Cordero has been celebrated for her significant contributions to World Music, Latin Folk, and Indie Rock and today announces the release of her most ambitious project to date. El Machete, a full-length album of deep emotional range, with songs about feminism, colonialism, anger, love, loss, and healing, will release September 20 via Panapén Records. El Machete refers to a dream in which Cordero fought off enemies with a wooden machete, and references Puerto Rican resistance group, Los Macheteros, which supports independence for Puerto Rico.
To announce the release, Cordero shares the video for “Pan Pan (Sin Mantequilla)”, directed by Puerto Rico based musician and artist Macha Colón. “Pan Pan” or “Bread Bread—Without Butter” originates from 1950s Puerto Rican slang for a “spanking”—which Cordero playfully uses as a double entendre.
"The video uses bread as a metaphor for many things,” says Cordero. “The people are expected to subsist off the crumbs left over after government corruption."
Colón adds, "The dancer in the bread dress represents both precariousness and resilience. The bread is need, salary, food, desire, competition, scolding, death, religion, waste and hurt. The idea was to explore all the things bread can be, until it's gone. Because the thing is that, the bread becomes damaged or broken, but it also becomes food for the birds and ants. Where are we in that chain of power?"
“I’ve always used music as my way of coping with whatever is happening, whether that be personal or political”, Cordero explains. “The last couple of years have been pretty dark politically. I watched my beloved Puerto Rico be devastated by Hurricane Maria, and personally I’ve been fighting through my own storm of anger and loss. These songs - plus a hefty dose of activism - helped me get to the other side of those feelings and it’s my hope they will be able to be a lifeline for others who might be going through their own dark moments.”
There is also a new element present on El Machete: Electronic Production. For the album, Ani worked with Chilean/French electronic music producer Pablo San Martin.
“Originally, I went to him as a Beat Maker, because I wanted to incorporate electronic beats for one of the tracks.” Ani enthuses. “But we had so much chemistry, we decided to make a whole album instead. Pablo is truly a soundscape artist – he adds a level of depth in his production that makes the album feel huge, as if you can live inside each song”.
Ani Cordero has a long history of activist and feminist music projects, having played in groups such as Os Mutantesand Pistolera, and is co-founder of PRIMA (Puerto Rico Independent Musicians and Artists), which provided emergency grants after Hurricane Maria and aims to highlight and support the work of Puerto Rico’s independent music community and strengthen its ties with the diaspora.
El Machete follows the politically charged and critically acclaimed Querido Mundo and Recordar, the latter of which re-imagined many of the famous political protest and folk songs from Latin American History and built on her long-time collaboration with Sergio Dias from Brazil’s Os Mutantes. Both received accolades from NPR Music, The New York Times, Billboard, USA Today, PRI 'The World', Brooklyn Vegan, BUST, Remezcla, and others.
It is Cordero’s first release on her own Panapén Records, a collective of like-minded independent musicians who share the common vision of creating a space within the music industry built on collaboration rather than capitalist profit making. A spirited bunch, the artists in Panapén all contribute their talent and labor to the benefit of the collective. Whether it be creative marketing, sound engineering, project management, media contact lists, or even informal therapy sessions, the members of the group all bring in a wealth of resources and talents to help each other out in the business of releasing and marketing their own music. Members retain their own masters and licensing rights, (because that’s how it should be) and operate on the principles of a cooperative. Transparency is always at the top of the priority list and because of that they share one external resource who is in charge of publicity efforts and scheduling.
“I want Panapén to be successful in supporting and growing the careers of our collective members and also to be an example of what can be accomplished through collaboration,” declares Cordero.
Ani Cordero and her band will be touring behind the release of El Machete. For up-to-date information and tour dates please see below.