AKAWUI, a Montreal musician of Chilean Indigenous descent, has released his first video, “Cruz Andina” (Andean Cross), as a solo artist. The video premiered Sunday April 9th on MusiquePlus and the song is one of three tracks from his upcoming EP, “INTERTRIBAL”, which AKAWUI is launching May 18th at Café Campus.
AKAWUI’s vision is to use his music to re-ignite Indigenous pride in his fellow Latinos/as around the world. “This song is about reconnecting with your true essence. For me, that was about reflecting my Chilean Mapuche roots and fusing it with the urban music I grew up with and love. I want my music to connect deeply with my audiences, for it to reflect their reality … be exciting and inspirational. If my music speaks to people, that’s the measure of true success!”
AKAWUI has been working on his original music for the past 2 years with Frank Palacios, a.k.a. El que todo lo puede, a Latin Grammy Award-winning producer, well known for Gente de Zona’s #1 Latin hit, »Bailando ». AKAWUI said, “We took our time with these songs because we were in unchartered territory, creating a unique sound. We had very little to reference but I think we succeeded in blending Andean flutes and rhythms with electric guitar, strings, horns and Rap and EDM beats.” The song features an Indigenous dance/rhythm called La Diablada (Dance of the Demons), from the Chilean Aymara culture, performed often at La Tirana Festival in northern Chile as well as in Peru and Bolivia.
AKAWUI honours his family and musical roots by having the devil in the video played by his father, Nelson Riquelme Pincheira, an accomplished traditional Chilean musician who busked on several Canadian city streets with his son since AKAWUI was 3 years old. There is also a photo of a pre-school AKAWUI with his grandmother and father wearing traditional Mapuche regalia.
The video’s co-director and DOP was Carlos Guerra, a childhood friend of AKAWUI’s who’s been producing for such Quebec artists as Soldia, Rymz, Ti-Kid and Infrak and recently created a clip for Universal Music France and the French Rap artist, Kaaris.
The video’s artistic director/choreographer was Alejandro Ronceria, an internationally acclaimed and award-winning director, choreographer, and producer based in Canada. The video’s two dancers are Maria Munera and Valérie Chéry.