Tucson, Arizona continues to be the source of some serious and exciting cross-cultural music coming our way. Of course, Chicano culture plays a big element in this process, and Tucson-based XIXA is another cross-cultural band that is able to bring down all musical borders with their second album Genesis.
Taking cues from Howe Gelb and Calexico, XIXA brings in the elements of music from around the world into their quite exciting mix – from Peruvian chicha music (a Latin psychedelic surf, some would say) to Tuareg guitar sound and music of Greenland. All covered with the guests on the album that include Sergio Mendoza (Orkestra Mendoza, Calexico), Algerian Tuareg desert rock quintet Imarhan, and the Uummannaq Children’s Choir, which features youth from an orphanage in a small village in Northern Greenland.
Instead of turning such a proposition into disparate musical mush, XIXA is able to present all these elements with the musical finesse that some bigger names in music can often miss. The six-piece are able to cover any musical ground they step on with ease and flair, as if they have been around for ages. And it all works on the 10-track album, which also includes some fine lyrical insight that, as the band wanted themselves, juxtaposes “light and dark, good and evil, chaos and order.”
Overall, XIXA’s blend on Genesis works brilliantly, presenting some of the more exciting music so far this year.