When we heard that Boricua pop band Buscabulla was headed to Santiago de Chile for the first time, we knew we had to tag along. After a last-minute flight cancellation, an eight-hour layover in Houston, and an overnight flight, we finally reached our destination. The foggy morning sky, mild winter temperatures, and scenic views from the from the airport magically soothed the discomfort of 24+ hours of travel. As we entered the chic, French-styled lobby at Hotel La Revé in Providencia, a familiar “cantaito boricua” greeted us. You might run into Buscabulla band members at any NYC spot, but getting to hang out with them in a place as far away from home as Santiago de Chile was truly special.
We were able to meet up with the Boricua band thanks in part to Converse’s Rubber Tracks Live experience. We had the privilege of witnessing Buscabulla’s first-ever performance outside the northern hemisphere alongside local post-pop newcomers Playa Gótica and producers Nico Castro and Diegors. Though the new audience and unfamiliar venue presented a challenge, Buscabulla were able to pull off a stellar performance.
In the days leading up to the show, we all had the chance to meet with some of our local heroes, fine-tune the live set at Dënver’s studio, and experience the local nightlife.
D-Day finally arrived. Playa Gótica set the tone of the night with an upbeat performance that reminded us that Santiago is still a major player in the Latin American indie pop scene. At 11 p.m., the wait was over. The unmistakable voice of Frankie Ruiz introduced “Tartaro,” a cut from Buscabulla’s forthcoming album. Among hits like “Sonó,” “Metele,” “Caer” and the rare but very audible shoutout to Puerto Rico and the DR coming from the crowd, everyone was transported to a place they’d never been before. Welcome to Buscabulla’s world.
As Raquel Berrios explained, getting everyone on the same page wasn’t easy. “The vibe was hard to read at first, particularly because we were playing new songs, but by the time we started playing our older songs we slipped into a pretty cool zone, riding the same wave length.” The night lasted until 3 a.m., or perhaps until the high levels of piscola in our blood allowed us to be fully functional on the dance floor.
Santiago might be a sleepy town to some, but if you happen to connect with the right people and visit at the right time of year, you can end up living the New York experience all the way down. Festivals and programs like #RubberTracksLive are helping break the new wave of talent neglected by traditional media. Clearly, Buscabulla agrees with us. “I actually think it’s better than the NY scene, because it feels smaller, and they all seem to know each other and support each other regardless of their musical styles. Synth pop kids, ravers, trap heads and singer-songwriters all kick it in the same spaces. It reminded me more of the San Juan, PR indie scene.”
Watch the video above to relive Buscabulla’s special moments in Chile, and check out photos from that night below:
Photos by Jaime Valenzuela