Nino
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Nino

Santiago, Santiago, Chile | SELF

Santiago, Santiago, Chile | SELF
Band World Pop

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This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Nov
29
Nino @ Otherlands

Memphis, Tennessee, USA

Memphis, Tennessee, USA

Nov
03
Nino @ Mercadito

Memphis, Tennessee, USA

Memphis, Tennessee, USA

Oct
27
Nino @ River Arts Festival

Memphis, Tennessee, USA

Memphis, Tennessee, USA

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Music

Press


The debut album from Nino is an intriguing, worldly exploration. Composed by a man who relinquished his job security for a series of travels through North and South America, Nino merges elements of traditional South American music with contemporary pop settings, all to excellent effect. From the start, allusions to Simon & Garfunkel’s “El Condor Pasa (If I Could)” are unavoidable, and that’s not a bad thing. While it is important to note the traditional aspects of Nino‘s instrumentation as being representative of the Bridge over Troubled Water track, their similarities are merely the byproduct of a shared, regional influence. In fact, Nino often covers “El Condor Pasa” in his live repertoire, albeit with an updated flair. When listening to Nino, one need not go further than ninety seconds to experience its beautiful mesh of modern and traditional textures. Huge percussive flourishes and augmentative, electronic washes form “Alturas” into a track that demands immediate attention. I particularly enjoy its variance between arrangements of full sound and the interspersing of quieter interludes. In some settings, this dynamic variety might come off as a bit choppy, but in the able hands of Nino, it produces a nice flow. I’m particularly impressed with Nino’s diverse use of synthesizer textures and contexts, all within the confines of a single release. He switches effortlessly between grandiose (and sometimes wonderfully bombastic) phrasings and introspective, incredibly “Eno-esque,” ambient styling. Throughout the album, the listener is treated to an intriguing mixture of rhythmic backdrops, airy and spacious moments, and generously-sprinkled, traditional Andean instrumentation. Vocals are present; however, as a general rule, they are used as an understatement within Nino’s “voice-as-instrument” approach, without becoming the dominant focus of his songs. It’s a device that works nicely. The transposition of the “traditional” with the “modern” continues in “The Untold Want,” a track that could easily warrant the recognition of ambient electronica fans, as it pushes genre boundaries with a powerful, emotional construction. “Challa” is certainly not top-forty fare, but perhaps the most pop-oriented number that Nino has to offer. Here, the sheer strength and volume of its layers separate “Challa” from the commercial standard as the song progresses. “Dina,” with its highly introspective combination of rhythmic instruments, may well be my favorite track on the album, as it incorporates more instrumentation with chanting vocals. It is impressive that one artist can cover this much melodic territory within a single track and still retain consistency. “Cajamarca” is a fine example of how well folk music translates between cultures. Here, Andean rhythms and textures are again the focal point, and “Cajamarca” has a distinct South American feel to it; yet, the listener can easily drift to hear hints of Celtic influence. I would easily recommend this track to a traditional Celtic band, only to hear what they could do with it, as the composition is that good. Contrast “Cajamarca” with “Ronnie Stevens, I Will Find You,” an incredibly powerful piece that begins with a string-band style picking and is soon joined by a crunching wall of sound. One might refer to this crunch as “power-chording.” The song’s vocals, essentially wordless, are still used to great effect. “Ronnie Stevens” is a track worthy of significant airplay on the college radio circuit. My only regret in regards to Nino is that the lyrics are in a language that I do not understand (regrettably) and, as good as my listening efforts might be, I still can’t help but think I’m missing some of the goodness that the album has to offer. Still, this is a strong and triumphant debut. Sometimes, music is so piercing on an emotional and textural level that one need not grasp its lyrical intentions. Thankfully, this is one such album. - YrDig


The debut album from Nino is an intriguing, worldly exploration. Composed by a man who relinquished his job security for a series of travels through North and South America, Nino merges elements of traditional South American music with contemporary pop settings, all to excellent effect. From the start, allusions to Simon & Garfunkel’s “El Condor Pasa (If I Could)” are unavoidable, and that’s not a bad thing. While it is important to note the traditional aspects of Nino‘s instrumentation as being representative of the Bridge over Troubled Water track, their similarities are merely the byproduct of a shared, regional influence. In fact, Nino often covers “El Condor Pasa” in his live repertoire, albeit with an updated flair. When listening to Nino, one need not go further than ninety seconds to experience its beautiful mesh of modern and traditional textures. Huge percussive flourishes and augmentative, electronic washes form “Alturas” into a track that demands immediate attention. I particularly enjoy its variance between arrangements of full sound and the interspersing of quieter interludes. In some settings, this dynamic variety might come off as a bit choppy, but in the able hands of Nino, it produces a nice flow. I’m particularly impressed with Nino’s diverse use of synthesizer textures and contexts, all within the confines of a single release. He switches effortlessly between grandiose (and sometimes wonderfully bombastic) phrasings and introspective, incredibly “Eno-esque,” ambient styling. Throughout the album, the listener is treated to an intriguing mixture of rhythmic backdrops, airy and spacious moments, and generously-sprinkled, traditional Andean instrumentation. Vocals are present; however, as a general rule, they are used as an understatement within Nino’s “voice-as-instrument” approach, without becoming the dominant focus of his songs. It’s a device that works nicely. The transposition of the “traditional” with the “modern” continues in “The Untold Want,” a track that could easily warrant the recognition of ambient electronica fans, as it pushes genre boundaries with a powerful, emotional construction. “Challa” is certainly not top-forty fare, but perhaps the most pop-oriented number that Nino has to offer. Here, the sheer strength and volume of its layers separate “Challa” from the commercial standard as the song progresses. “Dina,” with its highly introspective combination of rhythmic instruments, may well be my favorite track on the album, as it incorporates more instrumentation with chanting vocals. It is impressive that one artist can cover this much melodic territory within a single track and still retain consistency. “Cajamarca” is a fine example of how well folk music translates between cultures. Here, Andean rhythms and textures are again the focal point, and “Cajamarca” has a distinct South American feel to it; yet, the listener can easily drift to hear hints of Celtic influence. I would easily recommend this track to a traditional Celtic band, only to hear what they could do with it, as the composition is that good. Contrast “Cajamarca” with “Ronnie Stevens, I Will Find You,” an incredibly powerful piece that begins with a string-band style picking and is soon joined by a crunching wall of sound. One might refer to this crunch as “power-chording.” The song’s vocals, essentially wordless, are still used to great effect. “Ronnie Stevens” is a track worthy of significant airplay on the college radio circuit. My only regret in regards to Nino is that the lyrics are in a language that I do not understand (regrettably) and, as good as my listening efforts might be, I still can’t help but think I’m missing some of the goodness that the album has to offer. Still, this is a strong and triumphant debut. Sometimes, music is so piercing on an emotional and textural level that one need not grasp its lyrical intentions. Thankfully, this is one such album. - YrDig


The stories of Gringos that tour around Latin America and soon after end up in love with her geography, her sonorous and spiritual vibes, fill the collective imagination. And Neal Barenblat, also known simply as Nino, is one of them. This gringo, backpack over his shoulders, began his journey for six months in this nest of the world; traveling through the Amazon jungle and mountains of this dusky continent, and he ended up falling in love with our Andean music to the extent of paying it homage with his debut album.

Two years ago Nino learned to speak Spanish, or at least two years ago since he has been trying. And upon returning from South America, he has learned to play the quena, the charango, and other instruments that have permitted him to emulate Andean music – a music unbeknownst to him previously – and to fuse it with electronic elements, creating a certain fluidity with his own story and captivating spirit. Latin America and her ample horizons and her culture have engulfed this “Andean gringo.”

From this geographic passion, Nino has elaborated his story with 13 potions (if you will), launched his first “opera” on May 18th, 2013. This self-titled disc that unites these 13 songs, with lyrics and voices at the hands of Barenblat, demonstrating his dominion not just to our language, but to our codes. Listening to Nino, I am reminded of Robert Wyatt interpreting our own folk artist Violeta Parra’s Arauco tiene una pena.

In Barenblat’s fusion, the compositions are truly beautiful; they bring images of landscapes and nature. This album is his own interpretation of our folklore and Nino delivers with honesty and without falling into a caricature or bad taste. Nor does he attempt to invent something entirely new or revolutionary, but there is a certain untouchable freshness here.

In songs like Surrealidad or Alturas, the folklore and the electronic elements are brought together and create some of the grandest moments of this musical plaque. The songs are generally long, with rich ambient instrumentals. Nino prefers to sing in Spanish alongside his quena, charango, zampoña, and synthesizers.

After several listens, this album achieves going beyond and transcending the phenomenon of curiosity. This isn’t just a gringo making Andean music…this is a musician connected with the powerful language of music. At the end of the day, music is universal.

Think if Arak Pacha met Moby. In his album, Nino drinks from the distillery of quenas and synthesizers, from mountains and dance clubs. Interesting idea. - Absenta Musical


The stories of Gringos that tour around Latin America and soon after end up in love with her geography, her sonorous and spiritual vibes, fill the collective imagination. And Neal Barenblat, also known simply as Nino, is one of them. This gringo, backpack over his shoulders, began his journey for six months in this nest of the world; traveling through the Amazon jungle and mountains of this dusky continent, and he ended up falling in love with our Andean music to the extent of paying it homage with his debut album.

Two years ago Nino learned to speak Spanish, or at least two years ago since he has been trying. And upon returning from South America, he has learned to play the quena, the charango, and other instruments that have permitted him to emulate Andean music – a music unbeknownst to him previously – and to fuse it with electronic elements, creating a certain fluidity with his own story and captivating spirit. Latin America and her ample horizons and her culture have engulfed this “Andean gringo.”

From this geographic passion, Nino has elaborated his story with 13 potions (if you will), launched his first “opera” on May 18th, 2013. This self-titled disc that unites these 13 songs, with lyrics and voices at the hands of Barenblat, demonstrating his dominion not just to our language, but to our codes. Listening to Nino, I am reminded of Robert Wyatt interpreting our own folk artist Violeta Parra’s Arauco tiene una pena.

In Barenblat’s fusion, the compositions are truly beautiful; they bring images of landscapes and nature. This album is his own interpretation of our folklore and Nino delivers with honesty and without falling into a caricature or bad taste. Nor does he attempt to invent something entirely new or revolutionary, but there is a certain untouchable freshness here.

In songs like Surrealidad or Alturas, the folklore and the electronic elements are brought together and create some of the grandest moments of this musical plaque. The songs are generally long, with rich ambient instrumentals. Nino prefers to sing in Spanish alongside his quena, charango, zampoña, and synthesizers.

After several listens, this album achieves going beyond and transcending the phenomenon of curiosity. This isn’t just a gringo making Andean music…this is a musician connected with the powerful language of music. At the end of the day, music is universal.

Think if Arak Pacha met Moby. In his album, Nino drinks from the distillery of quenas and synthesizers, from mountains and dance clubs. Interesting idea. - Absenta Musical


Discography

LP - "Nino"
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/ninoband

Photos

Bio

The music of Nino aims to paint a picture of the struggles, delights, and epiphanies of new experiences through the eyes of the mysterious and mythical music of the Andes. After quitting his job to backpack through Spanish South America, Barenblat took to learning and incorporating several instruments of the Andes into his music, most notably the charango, the quena, and the zampo単a (panflute).

Barenblat tells his story - that of love, adventure, and discovery - through the lyrics (mostly in Spanish) and sounds that Nino emits.

"Nino" is a combining of cultures - North and South America - into a respectful fusion that aims to dig deeply into each's distinct musical agendas.

Band Members