Nancy Sanchez is imparable – unstoppable, because she nunca parable – never stops. This persistence, celebrated in “Imparable” on her latest album La Gran Civilización, plus her seemingly unlimited talent and non-stop work ethic, has made her one of the fastest rising stars in today’s diverse musical firmament. It has also helped her shatter the stereotypes of what women, especially immigrant women, can do and achieve.
The album, which she calls Mexican-American Art Pop, ranges across languages, genres, nations and collaborators in a collection of 11 standout songs Sanchez wrote and produced over the past year with artists she admires and loves. Each is a work of genius in its own right and together they form an unforgettable musical adventure through the modern archeology of Mexico’s grand civilizations from the Olmecs to today’s Chicanx’s.
Produced by Joaquin Pacheco with special guest Grammy-winning producer Robert Carranza (Los Lobos, Ozomatli, Marilyn Manson, Jack Johnson) and Kennedy (BØRNS, 10000 Emerald Pools) La Gran Civilización demonstrates not only Sanchez’s musical chops, but her ability to pull together teams of the best-in- the-business across genres from jazz to mariachi to cumbia to pop and then blend her voice and creativity with theirs for songs that are far more than the sum of their parts or their collaborators. In La Gran Civilización Sanchez is not only an artist, but a meta-creator.
The album opens with the title song Gran Civilización pulsing with rhymes by MC Olmeca weaving over and around Sanchez’s haunting chorus and reply verses, celebrating pride in the storied ancestors of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans like Sanchez. The result grabs your gut as well as your ears and makes you rock and think.
Sanchez moves onto Puerta Del Sol, a rich mariachi song of hope and inspiration for immigrants, featuring Latin Grammy-Winning Flor De Toloache and produced by multi Grammy winning producer Robert Carranza. Sanchez’s voice blends with and emerges from the guitarrón rhythm and mariachi trumpets and violins with an urgency and seriousness that says “Now! is our time.”
But the music of Mexico is never far from love, which she presents to us in “Oidos” – featuring Mexico City-based Madame Récamier, Alvaro Wonatox (Flor Amargo) and a Son Jarocho musical arrangement performed by Sensacion Jarocha that showcases Sanchez’s romantic voice. She follows the love song with the cumbia “Money Pa’la Fiesta” swinging us laughingly around with a girl who just wants to have fun – on a tight budget.
The beat goes on but the fun is tempered with determination in “Imparable”, Sanchez’s unstoppable fast-beat track of tireless fighting and winning, compressed into a Latin-rocking anthem earworm worthy of constant replays.
Life has its inspirational downs as well as its inspired ups, and “No Siento Nada” tells us that when a relationship is not working, we must embrace the self- realization that pain can bring, along with the power inside to change it.
The next three songs on the album are also earworms, but they enter your brain through a different puerta. – pop. “In Other Words” is an English language jazzy love song commissioned as the title track to the feature-length romantic comedy In Other Words featuring La Voz USA standout Raymundo. “Jive Talkin’, the Bee Gee’s Saturday Night Fever classic, which Sanchez wrote the Spanish original for, is followed by ‘Mundo Juntos’, a bossa version of “In Other Worlds”, to keep you swaying and smiling.
Sanchez wraps the album with two reflective, but very different songs: “Que Te Perdone Dios” a passionate ranchera love song arranged by Mariachi Vargas legacy Pepe Martinez Jr. and performed by LA’s all-female Mariachi Las Colibri; and the gentle “Sanando Heridas” a paean to the child within that needs its wounds healed, featuring the incomparable world folk group Cuñao.
Sanchez was born in Toluca, Mexico and was only 4 years old when her parents brought her to the US along with her sister. Her family’s immigrant experience was typical – working multiple jobs to ensure their children thrived, an ethos seen every day in Latino neighborhoods. Music came early to Sanchez, blossomed in high school when she got her first guitar, took music classes and joined a mariachi-oriented afterschool music program. By the time she entered college, she was on her way, immersed in jazz, playing live at top clubs and recording a jazz EP. Since then she has won three Best Jazz Singer awards, appeared in the STARZ series Vida, scored music for film, toured Mexico and the US, played in Iceland – and managed to graduate from college with a degree in medieval music while releasing multiple albums and videos.
La Gran Civilización, set for release this Friday, is a musical tour de force of skill, talent and heart, but also an inspiration whose influence will be felt deeply in our generation. It firmly positions Nancy Sanchez as a star – and unstoppable in any language.
La Gran Civilización will be released Friday May 22, distributed by ONErpm on all streaming and download platforms
Nancy Sanchez: http://www.nancysanchezmusic.com/
Nancy Sanchez is signed with Universal Music Publishing and ONErpm Records
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