Black Pumas’ Adrian Quesada Brings Balada Music to 2022 With Tribute Album
Photo by Cesar Berrios
With his new project, Boleros Psicodélicos, Black Pumas guitarist and producer Adrian Quesada pays homage to balada, a genre heavy on heartbreak as well as groove that connected music lovers across Latin America in the late 1960s and early ’70s
Most of the 12-song album, coming June 3 on ATO records, consists of original music from Quesada, with covers of balada classics like La Lupe’s “Puedes Decir De Mi” and Jeanette’s “El Muchacho De Los Ojos Tristes.” Each song on the album features a different collaborator, including Gaby Moreno and Grammy winner iLe.
Quesada grew up speaking both English and Spanish in Laredo, a Texas-Mexico border town, and years later discovered balada on his car radio during a drive around Austin. He was immediately hooked. After pulling his car over to let it all sink in, he took himself straight to a record store to kick off “a lifelong obsession,” according to a press release announcing the album today.
The pandemic allowed Quesada some time to dig deeper into the music and make plans for what would become Boleros Psicodélicos. In addition to introducing others to the genre, the project is aimed at both recounting its history and spreading its message of unity.
“Balada changed the face of Latin music forever,” Quesada said in the press release. “If something like that happened today, it would be normal because everyone’s connected on Instagram. Think how powerful this sound had to be for everyone to be connected through the songs. As someone who grew up speaking two languages and living on both sides of the border, I love how much music can transcend barriers and boundaries. It really is a universal language, especially back then.”
The first single from Boleros Psicodélicos, “Mentiras Con Cariño,” featuring iLe, was released today along with a video directed by Cesar Berrios and filmed in San Juan, Puerto Rico, that pays visual homage to balada’s heyday in the ’60s and ‘70s.