Reared among the three cultures of Brazil, Mexico and the U.S., Poranguí was steeped in various traditional forms of music, healing and ceremony since birth. Drawing from his cross-cultural background and ethnomusicology training at Duke University, Poranguí has over twenty years of international work experience as an artist, musician, educator, ...
When Poranguí plays, the wildly creative sonic guide arrives with everything he needs: a custom looping/pedal set up, a few dozen treasured instruments, and decades of experience with song, story, and ceremonial practice from across the Americas.
One notable thing is missing, however. A set list.
“Everything I do live is steeped in improvisation, in spontaneous sound. A lot of the work I do musically is about connecting to what’s happening in the moment in a given space with a given group of listeners,” explains Poranguí. “I try to get a feel for what is in the seen realm and the unseen realm, really tuning into the energetics of the space. That’s where the magic is.”
The presence, focus, and playful engagement resonates on Poranguí, which combines Poranguí’s skill in merging electronic innovation and age-old acoustic instruments and vocal techniques. With these combined forces, supported by the voice and words of partner Ashley Klein (whose invocations can be heard on an alternative version of the album), he weaves spiritual lineages, aspirations, and transformative possibility into the moment, drawing on a lifetime of travel, spiritual discipline, and thoughtful listening to indigenous leaders and teachers. The roots run deep, and the results are resonant, an ethereal, elemental dance set.
Recorded at an opening ceremony for Lightning in a Bottle and at the Espiritu stage at Santa Fe’s Unify Fest, the album takes listeners along a wave of sound and experience from the high-energy mantras of “Ganesha” to the deeply meditative joy of “Stardust.” Along the road, Poranguí and Ashley evoke the elements through songs to the air (like “Danza del Viento”), prayers to the waters (like “Oxum”), and endlessly ingenious musical layers and loops.
Whether sparking movement or beckoning contemplation, Poranguí sees his work as leading to the same place, a place he learned to seek from his beloved mentor, vocalist and composer Bobby McFerrin: “For me, the most powerful music responds to the living, breathing moment. What I respect about Bobby’s work is that he clears his mind to let novel ideas arise and runs with them. The key is you don’t worry about the note coming two notes from now. Sing the first one, and then you focus on the next note. Before you know it, you’ve traveled somewhere meaningful and beautiful, in a process that mirrors the way the present moment can help guide us to a more connected life.”
Poranguí’s movement through cultures, sounds, and wisdom comes naturally to an artist reared between three cultures--his native Brazil, Mexico, and the Southwestern US--and who shuttles effortlessly between intellectual work (he holds a degree in Ethnomusicology from Duke), ceremonial practice, and healing modalities (he is a trained, practicing bodyworker). Music works as a central pivot for all these directions, providing that magical moment of connection to what is happening right now.
Poranguí sprang from an urge to share this approach to creation and connection. He had many scores, remixes, and live sets under his belt, but was still searching for a way to capture the energy of his live shows in a debut recording. Poranguí decided to start with multi-tracked live recordings and video footage, and used them as seeds that sprouted both versions of the album, both of which embrace the full breadth and intensity of his and Ashley’s work.
This work is animated by a profound commitment and message, a reminder of our roles and duties to our planet and to each other. “Music isn’t entertainment for me, as the goal is transformation,” he reflects. “It’s a bridge to the heart, to a space where we can begin to imagine our best selves. This is crucial as our planet needs humans to upgrade themselves. For me, it’s coming into contact to our role as fire keepers. Technology is merely a different form of the fire we came to master long ago. We have a choice: to burn ourselves and everything around us with the fire of technology or to use it to illuminate the way.”