Bi-lingual Latin Music at MASS MoCA: Helado Negro’s “Island Universe Story” [Berkshire on Stage]
Roberto Carlos Lange, aka Helado Negro, produces bi-lingual music that is “a sonic landscape that reflects 21st-century Latin America” (NPR). Fresh off a release on Sufjan Stevens’ Asthmatic Kitty label, Lange sets out on his new musical/visual project “Island Universe Story,” which will be developed at MASS MoCA in North Adams with a team of eight musicians including Mikael Jorgensen of Wilco and David Byrne percussionist Jason Trammell, as well as members of the William Onyeabor Atomic Bomb Band and Marc Ribot’s band. Helado Negro will perform a work-in-progress concert of his latest project, “Island Universe Story,” at MASS MoCA on Saturday (January 24) at 8pm.
Born into the vivid colors and pounding boom box beats of 1980s south Florida, experimental electronic producer and performer Lange incorporates the sensual tropical storms and irresistible Latin groove of his childhood into the eclectic, reflective sound of his most recent musical identity, Helado Negro. Spanish for “black ice cream,” Helado Negro’s style is at once primal and sophisticated, characterized by layers of ethereal Latin rhythms and contemporary beats that combine Lange’s rich, soulful voice and poetic lyrics in hypnotic soundscapes that have earned him the title of “experimental psych maestro” (Pitchfork). A multi-tasker on stage, Lange merges music and art in mesmerizing multi-media performances that often incorporate video, laser lights, fog and back-up dancers.