by Kevin Vaughn
The screen slowly fades from black to a hazy blue as the sun rises over the beaches of Cabo San Juan. Alejandra Ortiz and Luis Maurette, the magic minds behind the band Lulacruza, are resting on a boulder watching the rhythm of the waves, the light gradually brightening the horizon, listening to the voice of the sea and the way that it communicates with the rocks along the beach. They have reached the end of a 6 week road trip through the rich flora and fauna of Colombia, the most diverse in the entire globe, recording the people and sounds of this wildly varied landscape that has created an equally dynamic sense of culture and forms of expressing it through music.
The two retreat into a small cave opening. Luis, utilizing a sampler full of recordings from the entire journey, produces a calm pulsating noise that echoes the water dripping down the caves interior. At his side Alejandra sings with her hand cupped around her mouth to mimic the curve of the cave. Her pitch rises before slowly disappearing like the melodic rhythm of the sea in front of her. We are quickly ushered back to the beginning of the journey. In the depths of the thick jungles of Juiaca, the sound of a harmonica replicates the vibrations of the wind brushing against the trees and the bugs clicking amongst one another.
What Ortiz and Maurette have sought to capture is this interaction between the immense beauty of nature and the sounds that they inspire. That if one listens close enough music can be found everywhere. The documentary, the ultimate road trip movie, continues along this trajectory throughout the entire film. Not once do Ortiz or Maurette try to superimpose their music upon the people and places that they encounter. Rather they sit back and listen, and they allow the poetry that surrounds them be their guide to a beautiful musical journey. All is captured with vivid imagery and edited to absolute perfection by master music filmmaker Vincent Moon.
The idea behind the film was birthed by complete chance. Last spring, Vincent Moon, the French videographer known around the world for his work with La Blogotèque, came to Buenos Aires to shoot impromptu music videos for the series. Lulacruza was on his lists of musicians to film but schedules conflicted that from fruition and the musical pair suggested that he join them in Ortiz’s native Colombia to record a project. Lucky for everyone, Esperando el Tsunami was born.
I couldn’t imagine a more perfect pairing. Ortiz, who in addition to her work with Lulacruza practices sound healing (we meet her teacher towards the end of the film), and Maurette are humble and open to every experience that greets them. And Moon, who may very well be cinema’s most prolific music filmmaker, brings his keen ability to capture the most minute details to open our eyes and ears to the power of sound long after the credits roll.
The documentary was released for download in late last year for anybody anywhere willing to host a public screening. Lulacruza themselves will be hosting a showing Wednesday the 29th of March at 9pm at the Quetzal (Guatemala 4516, Palermo) followed by a live performance. For more info about the event, click here.