Pulsating with the images of the past and looking onward to the treatment of asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border, Dallas-based artist, Ariel Saldivar, better known as CAMÍNA, debuts her single, “Cinnamon,” and reigns with an equally haunting video to boot.
Taken off the artist’s forthcoming debut album, Te Quiero Mucho, due out October 2, “Cinnamon” settles in the discomfort of reality with the aim to push for change. The track’s hypnotic glitch is an electronic, trip-hop lament, alluding to greater elements, meanings, and sonic fusions for the album.
“It is my hope as an artist to communicate through my individual experience a thoughtful critique to our political, economic, and social systems, and to encourage people to learn, engage, and make steps towards the systemic change necessary for social progress,” shares CAMÍNA in a press release.
CAMÍNA’s distorted vocals echo against each hit of the marimba for a mesmerizing invocation. The passive and eerily bright melody of the instrument breathes a dark and warm pout of air. The production swoons with heavy hit lines which blend African-American spirituals (“Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen”), Spanish activism chants (“Si se puede / Yes we can”), and the realistic damage that will be carried regardless (“We will rise above, but the damage is done”).
And while the track carries its own cross, the video resurfaces each nail. Shot and directed by Daniel N. Johnson — who has created videos for Black Lives Matter and the Bernie Sanders campaign — the video’s pain is felt from each watch. Dripped in a monochrome scale (until a prophetic and symbolic, colored ending) with CAMÍNA isolated in the history of her ancestors, exhaustion is seen and felt through each hard cut. Close-up shots of hands and the artist’s mouth flourishes the story’s intimacy, yet keeps the story alive from passing it along.
“I wanted to put the aesthetic and conceptual themes of Ingmar Bergman’s classic film Persona and the sentience-gaining robots of the show Westworld into a blender, stir in a slightly off-kilter editing style that matches the haunting lo-fi, glitchy repetitiveness of the song, and pour out something that felt unique and representative of Camina and her message,” explains Johnson.
“I had envisioned a doll-like version of her as the filtered or edited version of our expressed selves – projecting an air of innocence and perfection – who slowly gains awareness of her body and the world in which she inhabits. It was important to connect her Mexican heritage and intention behind the lyrics with the archival imagery of field-laborers, protests, and police brutality, and create a film that is simultaneously beautiful and discomforting, like a daylight horror film that continues to make you think long after you’ve seen it.”
The identity and message is alive and well from both director and artist and we are looking forward to the next cut from both.
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