The debut EP of Italian Filipino singer-songwriter and ex-model Charo Galura, Life Through the Apocalypse [Jupiter Music], is out today.
Charo combines electronic psychedelic blues, a sharp voice and deep “look on the bright side” philosophy that will blow you away. Simply made of voice, this debut Ep showcases Charo’s both artistic and personal journey.
The sound inebriates the listener with an exciting melancholy that aims at conveying a very powerful message: look positively at the dark side of life.
We interviewed Charo to find out more about her music and her fascinating concepts.
GRIOT: Tell us about you. What are your musical influences and how was this project born?
Charo Galura: I’ve always wanted to be a musician, I grew up with blues, especially Lightnin’ Hopkins, R.L. Burnside, Howlin’ Wolf etc. I really like that old, country style blues and personally I think it’s impossible to be a musician without a blues background, because most of today’s music comes from there. I listen to different genres as well, like progressive rock, stuff like Kim Crimson, Robert Wyatt and so on.
Before starting this solo project, I’ve collaborated in other projects that are still ongoing. I do electronic and electro jazz with two bands, but a while ago I finally took courage and started focusing on my solo career.
I decided to sign up for a rock contest [Controradio] and with great surprise I was shortlisted and I ended up at the semi-finals! It was a great challenge for me because for the first time I played my songs live. Then I did another contest [Tuscany 100 Bands] and I won the funding which I invested in making the EP and the video for the lead single, Oh Lover.
Let’s talk about your EP, Life Through the Apocalypse. I know there is a lot of philosophy behind it, tell us what the concept is and how you composed the tracks.
This is a difficult question. Unfortunately, I went through a very bad period of my life and in that moment I discovered the best side of myself, both musically and personally. I grew up a lot thanks to these experiences and this also pushed me to start my solo project.
In The Idiot by Dostoevskij, which is one of my favorite books, there’s a quote that I adore, more or less it says: “Even in a prison cell, you can see the light”. A dear friend of mine, who is also the director of my video, says I have a very Buddhist vision of life, even though I am not Buddhist.In this EP I also include concepts about the cyclicity of life from Shijing, The Book of Odes, for which good and bad moments in life alternate following archetypal patterns.
That’s why Life Through the Apocalypse…
You don’t just sing but you use your voice as an instrument to create imaginary, dreamy places. How did you develop this approach to arrangement?
The core structure is my voice, because I find it to be the most personal instrument. During the recording of the EP I worked with two blues musicians and added instruments as a complement in some of the songs.
Davide Mazzantini plays the electric guitar and Ray Wallen the harmonica. I’ve been working with them for years and I knew that they would be able to get in the mood of my music really well.
Unfortunately, they both live in London but I’m in Florence, so I usually do live performances on my own.
The visual element in your music is very strong and you also enjoy playing with your image. What can you tell us about this aspect of your art?
I’ve been modelling for many years, that’s why I have a lot of artistic shots. As for the video, the make-up and styling were by Ester Santacroce under my direction, cause I wanted to create four contrasting looks. The first is the black one and it represents the goddess of death, while the white one is a sort of ti bon ange, a small angel (one of the two parts of the soul, according to the Voodoo religion.)
Then there is a more humane component during the frames where it looks like I’ve been crying. And in the final part I am surrounded by masks. This is the part of the video that I’m most proud of because it was my idea. I am a sort of “super man” – super woman, actually – and the masks represent my subconscious that’s trying to get me and hurt me.
What goal do you want to achieve with your music?
I have big plans. In my future I want to travel the world with my music, because traveling and making music are my two greatest passions, so putting both things together would be a dream. I know it’s going to be difficult because my music is not very “easy”, but I’m gonna do it.
You can listen to Charo Galura’s EP and find out more about her music here.
Cover image | (c) Mariangela Della Notte – All images | Courtesy of Charo Falura
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