It’s Friday afternoon and it’s hot in LA, so what better way to introduce the trio Femina to the local media than in a swimming pool, complete with munchies, micheladas (beer, lime juice, spicy salsa, and ice), and underwater photography. The three Patagonia singer/songwriters who have mesmerized crowds in Latin America and Europe are on their first US tour, and freelance music promoter and musician Phoebe Smolin decided to show them a bit of SoCal life. So, on went the bathing suits and everyone into the pool.
Well, not everyone. When I arrived, the trio was in the pool with an underwater camera crew shooting a video. Since my camera was not dressed for swimming, nor was I, I filmed the filming and then sat the ladies down with their feet dangling in a cool waterfall at the back of the pool and talked about the band, the tour, and custom made guitars.
But first, an introduction. Femina is made up of sisters Sofia “Toti” Trucco on vocals, guitar and ronroco, and Clara “Wewi” on percussion and vocals, plus their best friend Clara Miglioi on guitar and vocals. Together they create shimmering harmonies, mixing cumbia, rumba, rap, and funk with boleros and Latin pop. They started in San Marin de los Andes, a small village in the Andean mountains of Patagonia, eventually went to Buenos Aries where they were discovered and tutored, and the rest is history. That history includes two albums, sold-out tours in Europe and Latin America, and a much anticipated third album slated for release this year.
They are hardworking women, but they know how to relax, party, and enjoy what they are doing.
“We are bringing a mix of cultures from Latin America, from Argentina –we don’t play just Patagonian music, but we are very inspired by the landscape of Patagonia. It is in our music.”
They also bring some interesting instruments. Sofia had a custom guitar made that brings out the sound of Argentina, and they play rococo (small charanga type guitar) and a Cajon for rhythm.
Their fame was unexpected.
“When we were living in Argentina, we knew of a lot great artists – actors, painters, musicians – it is a very inspirational place,” says Toti. They come from musical and artist families, but were more interested in acting than music – music came later in their teens. It was a trip to Buenos Aries that hooked them up with teachers who opened new worlds to them. They took full advantage of it, learning to combine Latin rhythms with 4/4 rock and roll, incorporate rap, and bring their voices together in powerful harmonies.
“It is hard sometimes to rap and make different Latin rhythms with any instrument, and we have a lot of lyrics and the rhythms is with our voice – it is very difficult sometimes, but that is our art,” says Clara Trucco.
They returned the next day to New York to finish recording their third album with the Argentine-born electronic music producer Uji, giving them little time to meet the LA Latin fusion community.
The album is slated for release this year and will be in Spanish, but they promise their beats and harmonies will be more than understandable in any language. And they really, really want to come back to LA.
Next week, how a Grammy-winning artist will find herself singing a parking garage.