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Display Artist
Daniela Lalita
Catalogue Number
Release Date
September 16, 2022

DANIELA LALITA: 1303 an essay by E.R. Pulgar

There’s a deep shadow work at play within Daniela Lalita on her new EP Trececerotres, out on September 16th via Young. Stylized as 1303, the Spanish spelling of these numbers crammed together is a direct reference to the apartment where Lalita grew up with her mother and grandmother.

Every song on the five-song experiment feels like a different mode of ancestral channeling. The Peruvian creative — whose practice spans music, fashion, and performance art — stretches her voice into raw guttural depths and feral, brutally emotional heights throughout the record to startling effect. A testament to a childhood talent of learning to do different voices for commercial jingles, these vocal distortions mesh together with drums, gnashing electronica, and esoteric glossolalia to craft a sound both modern and mystical. This penchant for the spiritual can be traced to legendary Venezuelan musician Ilan Chester, Lalita’s father and an avid Hare Krishna devotee. As a child, Lalita often visited temples with her father throughout the U.S., learning the meditation ritual Kirtan. This method of communing with Spirit is rooted in the voice, and it has clearly served Lalita as she progressed musically.

Sound has always been integral to Lalita’s work despite her focus moving to visual art and couture early on. She studied piano as a child, later attending design school and a graduate music technology program at NYU. In New York, she studied under CalArts founder and buchla mod synthesizer pioneer Morton Subotnick. He taught Lalita how to compose with the instrument, and the buchla synth opened up a world without the limitations of traditional scales for her. The instrument proved to be the perfect weapon-of-choice for a boundlessly curious young artist like Lalita. She went on to soundtrack her experimental short Madre with the synth, layering the moody drone of the instrument alongside her grandmother Doris Secada covering “Silencio en la noche”, a tango classic originally by legendary Argentinian singer Carlos Gardel.

This wide open approach informs Trececerotres, which sees this practice of recording and layering vocals being implemented to craft very different sonic worlds ranging. The record is a field that seemingly goes on forever and in every direction, from the primal chanting on “Tenía Razón” to the dark-tinged shrieks of the title track. Lalita is no stranger to disruption: a lot of the soundscapes here deal in drums, percussion, and layered vocals, sometimes swerving into high-energy stomps (closing track “Pisoteo”, a chorus of passionate marching punctured by Lalita’s vocal belting) and deconstructed rave (string-tinged dragon drum fantasy “Atras”).

The EP is rooted in magic, ritual, and the relationship between Lalita and the generations of women before her, specifically her mother and grandmother. Growing up with them in Lima, the three would often share the same bed and sing in ceremonial unison during tough moments, like when Lalita’s grandmother was recovering from cancer. These tender ceremonials planted the seed of an auditory healing process and the ensuing traditions that Lalita continues to implement in her work. This formative relationship, unbeknownst to Lalita, echoes the Wiccan triad of the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone, a power structure of divine femininity that she very much taps into.

“My mother used to tell me I was born with three stars on my forehead,” Lalita recalls. “It symbolizes the three of us. There’s a multiplicity in me because of this. My mother and grandparents lived in El Koari with an Asháninka tribe [a nomadic Indigenuos peoples of the Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon rainforest] as part of the community. I have a big tie to Tomasa, my great-grandmother who grew up in Abancay in the sierra of Peru. Growing up in that environment led my grandmother, her daughter, to incorporate certain rituals into her life: singing a certain way, lighting candles, leaving offerings…I became interested after Tomasa passed as to why she lived like that, and I developed rituals to deal with my own problems.”

Lalita visited the reservation when she was young, and visited the heights of Arequipa, where her grandmother studied at university, to shoot the video for haunting antepenultimate track “No Para”. The video sees Lalita in the mountains where her grandmother came of age, writhing in a tattered dress like a nature spirit. The ensuing dance, shot at one of the highest points of the region — 16,000 feet above sea level in the Mirador De Los Volcanes — is a tribute to Tomasa, who was often in communication with shamans to contact mountain spirits called Apus. The performance mimics a similar ritual Lalita has done in a different location in the mountains.

A lot of the record sees Lalita creating a common ground with others for feeling, healing, and experiencing the unsaid. The communal healing of the hurt inner child that Trececerotres sets the stage for takes place in the body and the way it reacts to the sounds of Lalita’s voice. The process is as important as the result, every performance and ritual birthing a new sound, a new space for the expression of raw honesty. In that regard, Trececerotres is as much about connecting to her roots and honoring the generations of women who came before her as it is a ceremony, a portal, the tale of the latest in a long line finding her voice through the fragments.

“[Subotnick] told me to always make my voice honest in everything I do,” says Lalita. “I learned how to tap into my own kind of musicality, to find the strength and confidence to explore it. I downloaded two plug-ins and everything else [on Trececerotres] was my voice, just layering things on top of one another. It was an inefficient process, but it felt important to really feel all of it out. [This EP] is an emotional exploration of my own sincerity, an effort to understand and experiment with the pure part of me. When I made these voices, I had to record myself a million times.”

Digital Tracklist

  1. 1 Trececerotres 2:15 Buy


  2. 2 Tenía Razón 2:53 Buy

    Tenía Razón

  3. 3 Atrás 3:05 Buy


  4. 4 No Para 3:31 Buy

    No Para

  5. 5 Pisoteo 2:35 Buy


Daniela Lalita

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