“Oidos”, a collaboration between LA-based jazz singer and mariachi artist Nancy Sanchez and Mexico-based pop singer Madame Recamier is what I call a triple threat song – it fills your heart with emotion and your ears with pleasure while it makes you dance.
“Tengo miedo de quererte tanto” they sing – I am afraid of loving you so much. We have all been there – an awkward romance that is just beginning, or is not quite reciprocated, or is moving too fast. It becomes the center of your focus, the single point of your emotional life. But it is hard – “Si me miras, alumbras mis pasos” – if you look at me, my steps light up. How can you give that up, no matter how afraid you are being hurt? The music answers the question: dance.
Energizing our ears with the baile hupango – the dance music of Vera Cruz – Sanchez and Recamier sweep us along. Our hearts may be uncertain, but our feet know what to do as the jaranas (small, 8-stringed Mexican guitar from the Vera Cruz region) play the rhythm of the zapedado, the high energy Fandango-evolved dance performed on a raised wooden platform. Starting with an acapella verse, the song is quickly filled with jaranas, violins, harps, guitars and vihuelas (5–string Mexican guitar common in mariachi music) as the two women move us along with a fast-paced up/down guitar strum rhythm that somehow manages to be upfront and in the background at that same time. Simply brilliant.
The “Oidos” video, directed by Madame Recamier, is also brilliant. Shot in both Mexico City and Los Angeles, it features the pair outfitted in matching red sundresses framed in an old-time TV set as they move through Mexico City. Moving from the 19th-century neighborhood Colonia Escandón to downtown Mexico City and the Plaza de Bellas Artes, Sanchez and Recamier end up in a cantina drinking tequila and playing with Sensación Jarocha, the band featured on the track. So much fun in any language.
The song emerged from a chance meeting in LA between Sanchez and Recamier when Sanchez was working on a fast – 6/8 – song and Recamier was stumped by a writing block. A collective lightbulb went off over their heads. Recamier ran with the song and pulled in the Son Jarocho group Las Charcas Veracruz to assemble a pain-of-love song with dance rhythms. No wonder it works. Sanchez, a multiple-winner of jazz awards who is skilled at fusing pop, traditional Mexican folk, and R&B into hit songs like “American Novio” and “Angel Baby”. Recamier is international songwriting winner who has honed her unique brand of pop music with artists like Alik Syntec and writing songs for films, SWSX and touring in Mexico. With this kind of DNA, it is no surprise that they give birth to a song that is simultaneously satisfyingly sophisticated and just plain fun. A match made in heaven for music that propels your feet.
by Patrick O’Heffernan,
Oidos by Nancy Sanchez and Madame Recamier, released June 14 on the OneRPM label, is available on Spotify, iTunes and other online stores.