July 25, 2011

New Release From Appalachian-Andean Artist Jack Herranen

Check out the title track from the new album by our good friend Jack Herranen. You can order the album Runa Blues on his website: www.jackherranen.tennesseefolk.com

From Jack's website: Kumana is Aymara for a bundle of ceremonial elements and offerings. In Quechua to be a Runa is to be a dignified, rooted, communal being always in conversation with, inseparable from, the communities of spirits and the myriads beings of the natural world. In the great rush towards the false lights of some “better future progress” and “First World ideals” the term acquired a negative and venomous connotation in the mouths of the proponents of these goals. “These damn backward Runas! If they would just give up their old ways, become productive individuals, then we’d ALL progress!” Hell, we’re all familiar- and many of us have felt- this painful story. “These hillbillies/ol’ farmers/rednecks/ indians/blacks/wetbacks a- takin’ our jobs!!”

Our band Kumana is the creative tapestry woven by several extraordinary Bolivian and North American music partners. "Runa Blues" is our first record. It is the full manifestation of the Appalachian-Andean cultural conversation that has been underway for more than a decade. We recorded the bulk of this new music in Cochabamba with an exciting medley of talented folks from Cochabamba, El Alto, La Paz, Italy, and Detroit via Los Angeles.

"Runa Blues" is now deepening its Appalachian roots with the impeccable musicianship of some of the core members of The Bearded, one of southern Appalachia's favorite string/Old Time bands. Two of Knoxville’s hardest-working recording engineers (Nick Corrigan & Brian Wojtowicz) have been instrumental in harnessing the spirit of the work, in the exquisite music store/recording studio environment of Morelock Music right on historic Gay St. in downtown Knoxville. Sound engineer/musician/professor T.J. Jones is chief engineer for the mixing and mastering of this intercultural musical tapestry.

Inside Kumana's blues there is no feeling of defeat. It is the creative space where dignified rebellion is safeguarded. This music collection is an homage to campesinos, miners, working class folk, indigenous brothers and sisters, African-American and Latino comrades…the folks often pinned beneath the wheels of progress. Each song is a musical dialogue that runs from the Appalachians to the Andes, a chorus of voices and melodies that arise from the “Venas Abiertas” of Las Americas.

The elements we bring are our different musical styles, the cultural and political struggles of our peoples, our spirituality and our histories. The songs are journeys along diverse pathways that embrace and extend through the wounded lands of Las Americas. They are sometimes calm, sometimes openly rebellious. Always festive, always meant to give nurturance, sustenance, warmth to the heart in calloused times.

The music is our kumana. We lay it at your feet amigos! It is music for regeneration and remembrance, a space for stoking the flames of festive rebellion and safeguarding the dignity of all of us…Runas. And remembering that…TODOS SOMOS HIJOS DE CAMPESINOS!

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