ListN Up: Carmina Escobar (March 5, 2021)

ListN Up is a series of weekly artist-curated playlists. Born from a desire to keep artists sharing and connected during times of isolation, ListN Up offers an intimate sonic portrait of contemporary artists by showcasing the diverse and stylistically varied music that influences their creative practice. 

Carmina Escobar is an extreme vocalist, improviser, sound and intermedia artist from Mexico City currently based in LA. Escobar investigates and expresses emotions, politics, states of alienation, and the possibilities of interpersonal connection through voice performances, installations, and video pieces that seeks to challenge our understandings of musicality, gender, queerness, race, the spoken word, and the foundations of human communication.

Hi, my name is Carmina Escobar. This playlist is an ontology of my sound universe. It consists of artists that I have worked with and I share a deep spiritual, sonic, and experiential connection. While listening to them, I realized that there are commonalities among them and those are that all of them work with sound in deep ways that seek the beauty of truths, that transform the sound in magical ways, and in doing so bring healing and connection into the world. I hope you find the same.

“Song for Brown Children” by Dorian Wood

Dorian Wood’s voice just sinks right into my soul. The immense power and beauty that emanates from them is something I can’t escape from and want always to revel in. This particular song finds the light through the darkness of the human soul. Dorian is a truthsayer that heals with their voice.

Self-Isolation Soundscape by Juanjosé Rivas

These poignant field recordings and sound improvisations by sound and visual artist Juanjosé Rivas hold a beautiful sonic encapsulation and manipulation of last year’s intense period of seclusion in one of the biggest cities in the world, my hometown Mexico City. Electronic sorcery encoded with so much emotion.

The Quarantine Concerts – Laura Steenberge

Laura Steenberge’s quarantine concert at the Acorn Series curated by Nomi Epstein is an entry into the intimacy of her home. At a moment in time when the actuality of experience seems lost in the virtual, she offers her space and brings her magic to yours. Laura is a genious that never ceases to amaze me and opens the multiverse of possibilities and alchemical power of sound.

“La Tormenta” by Juan Pablo Villa

This song is incredibly profound and elemental to me. A verse goes, “To find fire on water, to find life on the dead, and death on the sea.” Juan Pablo Villa is one of my ontological voices. In this particular song, his energy reveals the voice. Deep dive into his music and you’ll find vocal alchemies that bring so much beauty and wonder.

“Mirrors” by Micaela Tobin a.k.a. White Boy Scream

This song is liquid moonlight to my ears. The phrase, “We are mirrors facing towards the sun” repeats and transforms within itself, and doing so, within myself. This is my favorite track of the album Bakunawa by goddess Micaela Tobin.

Thollem / Susan Alcorn 02 by Thollem and Susan Alcorn

Close to my heart are these two incredible musicians and improvisers. A cosmic array of sounds that create a galaxy of its own.  Alcorn’s steel pedal and Thollem’s synth just make me listen over and over in the dark as to let me color the insides of my mind.

Caja con Cuerdas by Fernando Vigueras

Caja con Cuerdas (“Box with Strings”) by sound artist Fernando Vigueras, one of the most fundamental sound artists in Mexico, explores, transforms, and re-signifies a complex object like the guitar with extraordinary sensibility. As if the guitar would speak, sing, and cry, Fernando manages to bring out of the darkness, the world of hidden sounds.

Asher Hartman and Edgar Fabián Frías Talk About Love

While not a song per se, this conversation between these two massive figures of light, Asher Hartman and Edgar Fabián Frías, sing through honest spoken words the potential of Love through the guidance of our Ancestors.

Saa Niñi Ya´a by Carmina Escobar, performed by Carmina Escobar and Maqueos Music (Yulissa Maqueos, conductor)

The title of this piece comes from Mixteco, and it means “bird blood here.” I created this piece with a directed improvisation with one of my favorite collaborators Maqueos Music, a Oaxacan Youth Brass Band in Los Angeles CA, and my dearest Yulissa Maqueos, their fearless director. They allowed me and welcomed me to explore with them traditional and experimental music. Always inspiring, all of them bring into light the power of tradition in motion, and with them I have hope in reimagining possible futures and actualizing them.


I CARE IF YOU LISTEN is an editorially-independent program of the American Composers Forum, funded with generous donor and institutional support. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and may not represent the views of ICIYL or ACF. 

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