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Spanish brogue: Mexican musician blends international influences on new album

The Brooklyn Paper
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This Mexican musician found his muse in Brooklyn.

A Mexican-born musican who mixes traditional Spanish-language folk music with Irish punk and Balkan ballads will play songs from his new album at Park Slope music spot Barbés on Aug. 8. Rana Santacruz says that the range of influences on his latest album, “Por Ahi,” is the product of its incubation in Brooklyn.

“You see this combination of cultures everywhere in Brooklyn,” said Santacruz, “you get influence whether you want it or not.”

Santacruz moved to Brooklyn in 2002, and found that influence mostly at local bars and music spots, notably Barbés, Americana music mecca the Jalopy Theater in Carroll Gardens, and legendary bluegrass bar Sunny’s in Red Hook. Santacruz says the eclectic influences on his music is something that could not have happened anywhere else.

“When I was in Mexico there was not a culture to go see unknown music,” said Santacruz. “It was something I really enjoyed about moving to Brooklyn. I think we are spoiled by all the great music available all the time.”

The songs on “Por Ahi” cover personal and political topics, but even the heaviest subjects are delivered with a certain jauntiness that keeps the album light at heart. Santacruz says that tone is an inherent part of his approach to music.

“Regardless of the idea, it’s very important for me to find my own way of getting the message across,” he said.

Santacruz’s devil-may-care attitude shines throughout the album. He pokes fun at corruption in Mexican politics on the song “El Chapulin,” and describing ripping off Saint Peter in his Irish rebel song by-way-of-Mexico City “Deseos De Un Hombre Muerto.” The songs contain an optimistic agression, and Santacruz really wants that feeling to reach his audience.

“I wanted to make it feel like a punch to the face,” he said.

Rana Santacruz at Barbés [376 9th St. on the corner of 6th Ave. in Park Slope, (347) 422–0248, www.barbesbrooklyn.com] August 8 at 10 pm. $10 suggested donation.

Reach reporter Harry MacCormack at hmaccormack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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