Bolivian Legend Luzmila Carpio Meets ZZK in Epic Musical Mestizaje 7 Years in the Making

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Bolivian quecha-speaking legend Luzmila Carpio has staked out a new place in remix dialogue thanks to a ground-level project between ZZK and French label Almost Musique. Carpio, an inimitable presence in the country’s indigenous culture since the ’60s, is now crossing into the digital pathways to shed new light on her culture’s connectedness with la Pachamama of the altiplanos, directly from her home base of Qala-Wala, Potosí.

The collaboration between BA’s infamous experimenters and Almost Musique’s Unicef-sponsored album provided the source tracks. While there’s often a gap between remixers and the venerated artists they draw from for inspiration and material–which was seen in early global bass days with artists like Toto la Momposina and Petrona Martinez–this project proposes an alternative model where the original artists have a voice in the musical mestizaje.

Luzmila Carpio
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This extra step opens up the possibility of artists mediating sampling, even though it may significantly slow down the process. Although the remixes are scattered geographically,  ZZK made sure that Luzmila could be hands-on with the process, giving feedback and approving or denying changes.

ZZK called on artists across their roster and extended family for the remix duties, with Los Angeles’ Captain Planet laying down his signature intricate percussion work, and El Remolon taking his track into trippy dub territory. El Buho laid down original string instrumentation in addition to the original multi tracks, while ZZK vet Chancha Via Circuito’s gentle “lullaby remix” of “Amaotayku Avelino Sinani” scatters aviary field recordings throughout the track to gracefully wind down the compilation. The remixes read through as thoughtful touches on the originals, leaving plenty of room for the potency of the originals to breathe through.

Later this year, Almost Musique will have the original release available in a CD and vinyl edition for worldwide distribution. Listen to the ZZK remix project here.