CABRAKAÄN – new album out. Documentary film presence
Photo Credit: Angela Ambrose – Lunar Ring Sound & Graphics Inc.
The Mexican-Canadian folk metal artists Cabrakaän refine rough metal with the sound of their ancestors. Their new album Aztlán tells of the era of Spanish colonization and slavery in Mexico, which provided the musical fabric of the country with threads of African and Spanish folklore. “Aztlán” is called the home of the Aztecs, though its location remains a mystery to this day. By using historical Mexican instruments, the musicians transform the genre of folk metal into a diverse, open field. One example for this is how prehispanic sound artifacts were rediscovered by researcher Agustin Garcia Reyes (an expert on the history of Mesoamerica), recreated and personally presented on the album.
The album was self-released November 17th, is meant to tell different stories from Mexican history, and here’s some interesting facts about it: The band collaborated with a professional organist to record organs for their song Luces y Sombraes / Shadows, which is a song that tells the story about the Catholic church’s controversial efforts to assimilate indigenous Mexicans during colonization. They recorded organs on-location at Knox United Church in Calgary, Canada.
“Aztlán” is called the home of the Aztecs, though its location remains a mystery to this day. By using historical Mexican instruments, the musicians transform the genre of folk metal into a diverse, open field. One example for this is how prehispanic sound artifacts were rediscovered by researcher Agustin Garcia Reyes (an expert on the history of Mesoamerica), recreated and personally presented on the album.
The band collaborated with a string ensemble – a cellist, violinist, and violist – for multiple tracks on Aztlán. Several songs on the album were adapted from original demos that the band recorded nearly a decade ago. 6. Some tracks will include flute samples performed by Agustín García Reyes, a researcher and expert in Mexico’s indigenous history. He hand-makes traditional flutes and ocarinas. The documentary will contain an interview and video demonstrations of traditional instruments.
So far, for each album the band has released, they record an adapted cover of a traditional Mexican song. For Songs of Anahuac, they recorded an adapted version of La Llorona that incorporated indigenous lyrics. For Cem Anahuac My Home, they recorded a cover of La Bruja. The new album will include a cover of Linda Ronstadt’s La Cigarra.
Cabrakaän lets us take a look behind the scenes of their album production with the just released documentary Journey to Aztlán, which strikes the balance of cultural cohesion and the much needed break with the conventions of Eurocentric folk metal.
The documentary dives deep into a world between Aztec culture and the modern way of life. What makes it so special for the inquisitive culture nerds among us metalheads, is the sometimes challenging journey of the people behind the mysterious name Cabrakaän, which is documented in the film. In order to help their ancient cultural heritage to a renaissance free of resentment and restrictions by means of 21st century heavy metal, and to reach a worldwide audience, the band migrated to Canada. This resulted in a moving, self-told musical story of exploration and discovery, learning and deep friendship. The band notes: “Mexico is a land of contrasts and nuances that enchants: a deeply rooted, ancient land.” Impressive images tell of the legacy of ancient folklore through sound, visuals, and the spoken word.
Cabrakaän is a Mexican-Canadian folk metal band that relocated from Mexico to Canada shortly before the global pandemic after a moving performance in Calgary and friendships made as a result. Formed back in 2010 in Mexico by composer, drummer/percussionist, black/death metal shouter and producer Marko Cipäktli and classically trained soprano vocalist Pat Cuikani, the band quickly began to shake up the scene with sensational live shows.
Inspired by their shared love of the diversity of Mexico’s indigenous languages and cultures, the at first glance disparate duo combines a passion for raw metal with folk music and opera added in.
In folk metal, we all have become accustomed to thinking of the Middle Ages or hearing exciting stories from the time of the Vikings. With Cabrakaän, now composed of multi-national musicians from Mexico, Colombia, and Australia, who are based in both Mexico and Canada, Mexican ancestors and their deities get a voice – loud, colorful, yearning, passionate and always poignant.
The disruptive nature of their own ancestral roots reach both deep into the Mesoamerican culture of the Mexica/Otomi people and simultaneously into the Spanish culture of their repressive conquerors. This makes Cabrakaän a gang of the driven, of explorers and cultural ambassadors. The appeal of the disreputable – the denied world of the Aztecs (Mexicas), Toltecs, Otomi and Mayas – gets a fair shot at becoming a place of aspiration for metalheads. Finally, because even in today’s times of empowerment, the confession of pre-Hispanic roots is still taboo in large parts of Mexican society.
Check the album Aztlán now at:
Cabrakaän on Aztlán are:
Pat Cuikani – Vocals
Marko Cipäktli – Drums, Rough Vocals
Alex Navarro – Lead Guitars
David Saldarriaga Tobón – Rhythm Guitar/Bass
Chellan Hoffman – Live Organs
Reed Alton – Guest Vocals (La Cigarra)