Fridays Live: Meridian Brothers
Fridays Live • SFJAZZ At Home

Meridian Brothers

originally filmed on JULY 29, 2023

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"Mezcala for a Party Across the Latin Diaspora": 12 Songs Curated by the Meridian Brothers

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Meridian Brothers

Tonight on Fridays Live, SFJAZZ presents a psychedelic and experimental musical collective from Colombia, Meridian Brothers. They combine traditional Latin American rhythms and instruments with electronic sounds and effects, creating a unique and surreal sonic landscape. Led by multi-instrumentalist and composer Eblis Álvarez, Meridian Brothers offer a fresh and playful take on the rich musical heritage of their country and beyond.

There’s everything here from cumbia to reggaeton and Andean huaynos, in an ever-changing fusion.
The Guardian

Masterminded by Colombian multi-instrumentalist Eblis Álvarez, the Meridian Brothers project has gained a rapidly expanding following for it’s wildly inventive take on Colombia’s neo-tropicalista movement, described by The New York Times as “at once a psychedelic fever dream, a deep dive into salsa’s past, (and) a critique of society’s surrender to technology.”

Though the name suggests a familial collaboration, Meridian Brothers is solely the brainchild of Álvarez, who started it in 1998 as a self-released, cassette-only songwriting laboratory for which he played most, if not all, of the instruments.

Almost a decade later, the project became a performing band with the addition of a revolving cast of musicians who were initially college friends of the composer and were eventually playing the festival circuit throughout Latin America.

Álvarez has released a steady stream of recordings under the Meridian Brothers that blend traditional folkloric styles with experimental approaches, electronics, and modern rock influences, and his latest release for Ansonia Records, 2022’s Meridian Brothers & El Grupo Renacimiento, is a revelatory new chapter. For this release, Álvarez presents an invented collaboration between himself and a non-existent 1970s Colombian salsa band that had fallen on hard times and now makes a triumphant comeback, allowing the composer to freely experiment in a classic style and take his audience on an entrancing journey of imagination.

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