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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ramona Cordova at LAVA Space, The Bul Bey at Johnny Brenda’s, Jonatha Brooke at Bryn Mawr Gazebo

Ramona Cordova | photo by Inma Varandela | courtesy of the artist
Ramona Cordova | photo by Inma Varandela | courtesy of the artist

Ahead of their upcoming release On Paper, indie artist Ramona Cordova will perform at LAVA Space. The venue is the perfect compliment for Ramona’s music and values, both working to create spaces that are inclusive and diverse and respectful through performance. Each of Ramona’s three records thus far have moved in different directions that reflect their growth and transformations over the past ten years: the boy who floated freely tells a story, taking the listener on a journey, quinn to new relationships is more expansive musically and abstract lyrically. Ramona tells The Key in a recent interview that the newest record, set for a July 4th release, is “inspired by the struggle I felt transitioning back to the United States from France: re-arising trauma, feelings of state and social oppression, hopelessness, longing to be back in a place where i just felt free.” Ramona will perform with Pinkwash, Gland, and Jenny Jones World. For more information, visit the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Become The Gatekeeper: Ramona Córdova reflects on a decade of pushing boundaries and arriving at the new ON PAPER

Ramona Cordova | photo by Inma Varandela | courtesy of the artist
Ramona Córdova | photo by Inma Varandela | courtesy of the artist

Ramona Córdova‘s video for “Decision” opens with Angela Davis’s sultry, portentous voice lamenting the state of racial relations in 1960’s America, particularly police violence and housing discrimination against black people. Her words and Ramona’s use of them are portentous. As the video lurches through footage of hippies protesting it bleeds into stark bleached out film images of key moments in black history. “Decision” is a song about using your intuition to make loving choices– to stay, to go, and to live with these choices long after you’ve left the corporeal world. The songs contemplative nature is underscored by a marching, casio-fueled back beat that seems to hold together the wistful pop-folk. Despite a stark intrusion from a racist Willie Lynch quote, the video ends hopefully, awash in color, the people having made their choice to abandon the parts of them that are uninterested in liberation.

This kind of witchy imbalance and playful questioning has informed Ramona Córdova for the past decade they’ve been creating music. A multi-instrumentalist whose cultural background is a wonderful mosaic (Haitian, Filipino, Puerto Rican), Ramona embraces a nostalgiac sense of liberation through the dreaminess of the new album On Paper. The record is a buzzy, brilliant fever infecting listeners with its Flaming Lips-but-really good song writing. Ramona peeks through the lazy clouds of the act’s past efforts for a taste of modernity, albeit replete with a lo-fi orchestral scratch. A true angel with a voice to match, you can find Ramona Córdova on the one couch at your local community center, drifting through the dream state and the real world, at once absorbing the sight and sounds of west Philly’s queer bent indie scene and projecting an aura so vibrant genre can not contain.

We talked to Ramona about On Paper, the sometimes rough terrain of the larger indie landscape, and about the power in witchy energy. Join us! Continue reading →