Ars Dominicana: New Music from Rita Indiana

Words by Eddie STATS Houghton

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An icon in her native Dominican Republic, a virtual unknown in North America, Rita Indiana is worth learning more about, if only for her improbable bio. A former fashion model, Indiana didn’t get really famous until she became a novelist, garnering a cult following with a book called simply Papi. In between she found time to start on a screenplay for a forthcoming Calle 13 movie and make waves by admitting she likes girls. But apparently the adoration of both the literati and the glitterati wasn’t enough so she decided to make music. NY-based, global-minded imprint Dutty Artz dropped her debut stateside single today and if it’s any indication, merengue meets art-rock may be the next flavor of the month. Somebody alert the hipsterati.

Judge for yourself with the two jams below. Personally we prefer “Los Poderes,” where her moody vocal sits on top of a killer afrocentric riddim from Banana Clipz (aka Cheif Boima and DJ Oro11 of Bersa Discos fame).

[audio:http://largeup.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Rita-Indiana-Los-Poderes-www.duttyartz.com.mp3|titles=Rita Indiana – Los Poderes – www.duttyartz.com]

The experimental mambo of “La Hora de Volver” is hitting too but the music is definitely held back by the somewhat self-indulgent video, which looks like the  Zoolander version of Holy Mountain.