Mercedes Peon - SÓS
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cd cover Mercedes Peon
…---… SÓS (Boa - do Fol Música)
cdRoots Code: boa-df048

The stunning 2011 release by the Galician singer and composer. Stridently contemporary, deeply rooted but unfettered, Peon has crafted one of the best new looks at Galician music in a very long time.


1. Elas
2. Derorán
3. São Paulo
4. Anacos
5. Babel
6. Desaparecer
7. Nana meus
8. Falar mellor
9. Máisdará
10. Ciumes

Andrew Cronshaw writes in fRoots
There’s nobody in Galician music like Mercedes Peón. She graced the cover of fR 214 back in 2001 at the time of the release of her first album Isué, which is still a magnificent landmark, and there’s new feature upcoming, so I’ll spare you the explanation of just why here.

She’s not a prolific releaser of albums; they come out when she has something new to say, and a new one is an event. Galician label Do Fol, to which she’s moved after the debut on Resistencia and two more on Discmedi, celebrates Sós (which in Galego means ‘alone’) with a limited-edition black metal box bearing the letters SOS in Morse code.

In sound it’s perhaps her most urban yet; the huge strength and sensitivity of her singing is surrounded by hefty and upfront use of the sampling tools of dance-music or hiphop, but they’re bent to the will of her deeply Galician music and shot through with the sounds and rhythms of stone on metal spade, squealing gaitas, and the skittering rattle of pandeireta. She has an archetypal Galician traditional voice, an absolute expression of the strength, shapes and sounds of the village traditions of the pandeireteras and gaiteiros she’s so familiar with; a voice of the rocky places that has resounded throughout time.

Sós reflects her move in live performance from fronting a band to an extraordinarily powerful solo show, showcased to acclaim at Womex, in which she plays clarinet, gaita, pandeireta, snare drum and spade while triggering intricate samples, a demanding, complex task but none of it distracting her from the raw wildness and intense focus of her singing. Her taking on of the whole sound-creation process extends to the album too; her usual co-producer Nacho Muñoz wasn’t available this time, though he plays keyboards and samplers, so she did it all herself, and played most of the instruments.

All the songs, while rich in traditional shapes and turns, are her own compositions, and while they’re entirely enjoyable to the wider world just as music, for a Galego-speaker her lyrics are a major factor. With an economy of words, the music resonating their strength, she sings of connectedness with Portuguese, Moroccan and Berber music and people, reflects on rich and poor, street demonstration, home and the warmth of family, and the Babel of internationalism, language and travel.

Like Mercedes herself, Sós is dramatic, bold, and individual, breaking with the usual folk-revival ways while embracing and cherishing the characterful, lined faces of deep tradition.

More info:
This is Mercedes' fourth album and a turning point in her career. With her first three albums, she has situated herself as one of the most interesting artists in the European World Music scene, winning national and international awards from the World Music Forum and FolkWorld magazine. She has been nominated for the BBC Awards, National Culture Prize, “Galician of the Year”, etc. This year she has been selected for the demanding Womex committee to carry out the next showcase in October 2010.

With her new album, Mercedes takes a step further as a composer, producer and singer and pushing the boundaries of World Music. Her music could fit in festivals such as Sonar, Coachella or Boom Festival or with events like Burning Man or Snowbombing.

A sophisticated concept that surprises, impacts and at the same time touches. Audible intensity that is never aggressive, powerful messages, social criticism, constructive and positive thoughts. A personal pursuit with universal results.

…---… SÓS is a call for help in Morse code used out at sea which also means alone, music full of emotion, feeling and demands with a desire to share. With all of its nuances, without shame … the electric is treated as acoustic, and the acoustic as electric. Alone and chaotically intertwined. …---… Mercedes Peón, magic.

She is probably the Galician composer with the most international awareness. After going into depth of the Galician tradition for more than 15 years, in 2000 she recorded her first album “Isué”. The tone of her debut album was so energetic and strong that she became her own brand. Peón masterfully mixed the tradition of bagpipes and percussion with her powerful voice as no one had done before. Leaving a natural space for guitars and electronics.

In her albums “Arjú” in 2004 and “Sihá” in 2007, created her particular creative atmosphere, a combination of Galician tradition, electronics and rock as if it were the most natural way that such disparate styles would meet, making of them her sound, outside of our boundaries.

With …---…SÓS, Mercedes confirms herself as a global artist in the vanguard of artistic creation.

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