BC PREMIERE: Music Video For Jamie Drake & Greg Loiacono’s “San Felipe” Jamie Drake and Greg Loiacono's first collaboration is a beguiling Latin-infused folk ballad
NEW YORK, NY- Some musical kinship is born of years of collaboration, and others seem simply predestined. The latter kind of preternatural pairing is true of Jamie Drake and Greg Loiacono (The Mother Hips), whose first collaboration, “San Felipe,” layers warm, sinuous harmonies and guitar lines over a lithe Cuban rhythm. The result is a Latin-infused folk ballad that’s as timeless as it is beguiling.
Blurred Culture premieres the music video today, a brilliant synthesis of animator/director Deren Ney’s classic cinematic aesthetic and Carolina Loiacono’s vibrant drawings. The visuals are minimalist yet striking, with bold lines and saturated tones. During the instrumental bridge, we’re given a bird’s eye glimpse of the Baja waters — the setting that was the genesis of the song.
Jamie Drake‘s crystalline vocals convey the warmth of the tropical sun alongside an aching vulnerability — “it was the first time that you let your guard down before me.” The LA-based indie-folk artist has co-written and collaborated with Jim James, Peter Yarrow, and Moby, all while carefully honing her own craft and preparing for the release of her album, Everything’s Fine, later this year.
Jamie recalls walking into the studio in Ojai, California, having just met Greg and having no idea what to expect. Their musical chemistry was clear from the start, she says: “I felt like I had stepped into an Elis Regina and Tom Jobim video from 1974” — referring to the making of the iconic Brazilian bossa nova record.
Greg Loiacono, who, with the Mother Hips, defined a new breed of California rock, echoes Jamie’s reflections on the two’s instantaneous connection. He imagined “San Felipe” as a duet with Jonathan Richman (Modern Lovers) and Astrud Gilberto (the Brazilian bossa nova singer), an amalgam of his “slightly awkward yet romantic charm and her subtle, enticing beauty.”
The guitar pattern that forms the rhythmic base of the song came to Greg by way of extended family — his wife’s aunt learned that folk rhythm while growing up in Santiago de Cuba. He recalls how she would tear off her acrylic nails in order to show him the strum, and proceeded to sing a heartbreaking ballad.
In making the video, Deren Ney drew from the widescreen ambiance of the song, which for him, recalls the minimalist, bold shapes of Saul Bass’s animated title sequences for 1960s classics like “The Man with the Golden Arm” and the Sinatra “Ocean’s 11”. The angularity of that aesthetic is softened by Carolina’s drawings, and the vivid primary colors evoke the underlying intensity of a love that unfolds beneath an equatorial sun.
LA denizens can catch Jamie Drake in residency every Monday in March at the Bootleg Theater.
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Follow Deren Ney on Instagram.