Ramona Cordova
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Ramona Cordova


Band Folk World


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The best kept secret in music


"The Tripwire"

Early last summer a young, Arizona-born, twenty-two year old named Ramon Vicente Alarcon (a.k.a. Ramona Cordova) phoned ECA Records founder Dave Conway and told him about some songs he'd been working on that centered around a little fairy tale of sorts he'd written. Dave, who runs ECA Records with Mary Kate Melnick (mostly out of her house when the both of them aren't working at their day jobs), told Ramon that he had some money saved up and invited the young songwriter to Boston to record what would become The Boy Who Floated Freely without ever hearing a single note of a single song.

The result was an album as weird as it is beautiful, as spectacular as it is unique and as purely imaginative as it is unforgettable. Based around Ramon's fairy tale, the album tells the story of a boy named Giver who washes ashore on an island, meets a band of gypsies, gets drugged with a sleep/love potion by a beautiful gypsy girl, eventually falls in love with her but takes too long in the process. Because of this, she grows bored and abandons him, leaving him alone once again.

The story, like the album, is intricate and detailed, but very subtle. It doesn't accost the listener with over-indulgent narrative. Instead, it flows along softly and gently, allowing the listener to decipher its genius in due time, over a series of listens. Beginning with the sound of birds chirping and the falsetto feminine voice of Cordova over light guitar strumming, "Introduction" ends with the sound of wind rushing and waves crashing and leads into "Inside The Gypsy Bar" with the sound of a creaky wooden door opening and a hearty greeting from those inside. The bar then erupts with the noisy strumming of Spanish guitar and hand claps as Cordova's unique vocal prowess showcases his multi-lingual aptitude with a passionate and elegant song sung in Spanish.

The story continues with "Giver's Reply," an organ drenched thing of beauty that bounces back and forth between slow, skeleton-like verses and clangy, garbage can percussion-filled choruses. Something about its childlike innocence and dreamlike delivery strikes a chord with me and sucks me into the next track like a jet engine of artistic inspiration.

Classical guitar work and more falsetto vocals find their way onto "Mixing The Potion," a sub-two-minute ditty sung from the perspective of a young gypsy girl, while the next song, "Heavy On My Head," brings some of the most thoughtful lyrical phrases on the album to the table. Finding beauty in the simple things, or looking at everyday events or feelings in a poetic and unique way is something I find to be an essential component of truly artistic songwriting. "I was born with eyes/I've seen what you're all about/I was raised with ears/I've heard what you have to say," Cordova sings on "Heavy On My Head." "I was born with feet/I've walked all around this land/I was raised with hands/I pushed through some padlocked doors," he continues. The simplicity of these words are the source of their beauty. Sung over the simple strumming of an acoustic guitar, they resonate with power and frailty and sadness.

"Brother" and "Sung With The Birds" are similar to the previous track, with simple guitar and vocals and thoughtful lyrics that tear at your heart strings. "One Day, Someday" is a song about what might become between two young lovers, one of which feels too young and inexperienced to truly make the other happy, while "Hot And Heavy Harmony" is a sweet and soft one minute, thirty-nine second realization of love.

With "Chesser," the story begins to wind down with Giver and his love parting ways, as Cordova sings both characters' parts as a duet, ping-ponging back and forth between a high falsetto and a more subdued, gentle voice. The passion and pressure and soul wrenching intensity of this break up song explodes and releases in peaks and valleys of emotional intricacy, ending with the repeating of "Tell me what I should do/'cause I'm not getting anything/and I know what it's like too/It's not only you," words that seem to parallel my own romantic relationships.

The album and story end with "Take Flight," a one minute, ten second realization of loneliness by the main character. "My favorite paper airplanes are the ones I write to you/your favorite paper airplanes are the ones that light your fire." And it's over...

The small press mailing sent by the label included a small piece of paper cut from a larger ink sketch of two young boys on a beach. It was folded into a paper airplane. At the time, I had no idea what it was, or why it was in there, but now I get it. I "get" this whole album. It's the beautiful and strange vision of a dreamer, a boy that was sung to sleep with the Spanish lullabies of his grandmother and the subtle acoustic guitar of his father and who was infatuated with animated fairy tales like Pinocchio and Snow White as a child. It is Jose Gonzalez and it is Devandra Banhart. It is a Grimm's fairy tale. It i - The Tripwire

"Good Hodgkins"

I’ve never been to New Mexico and my only experience with Arizona is limited to standing on its side of The Grand Canyon, but I can imagine what it would be like quite a bit to grow up and write music in that part of the country. When I listen to artists like 20 year-old Zach Condon and 22 year-old Ramón Vicente Alarcón, I don’t hear that part of the country, and that tells me all I need to know.
That’s not to say that escapism is only limited to places that see 90 degree heat on a regular basis—Cleveland has seven months of winter, and believe me, sometimes I want nothing more than to escape—I just hear a different kind of escapism in young artists like these. When I say I want to escape Cleveland, Ohio, I probably mean for somewhere lame like Dayton, Ohio. There’s nothing romantic about that.
The Boy Who Floated Freely is a concept album about a boy named Giver who washes ashore on an island, the curious gypsy-folk he meets there, and the love he finds and loses—a story that gets told with the wonderment of a child experiencing the world for the first time and the musical acumen of a seasoned veteran with ten albums under his belt. But it’s important to stress that a seasoned veteran could never have written such a magnificent album: never overbearing with its narrative, Freely is light and soaring like a paper airplane (the promo actually shipped with a paper airplane—I’m not kidding) and could only be the work of a dreamer untainted by age and fresh with the memory of the fairy tales and fantasy stories of his youth.
At some point, most of us lose that kind of creative exuberance and I suspect it’s around the same time we start worrying about insurance payments or when we find ourselves purchasing napkins for the first time (We’re probably the same people who necessitate music like this in the first place). I’d love to recapture the innocence of my youth but I fear it’s been wholly decimated by heartbreak and adult responsibilities. Hell, I haven’t even remembered a dream in three months. Maybe I do need to escape. On The Boy Who Floated Freely, Alarcón emerges as a visionary and does his best to help me do this. And even if this is the closest I get until next July, somehow that’s good enough.

- Good Hodgkins

"The Phoenix"

Ramona Cordova has a secret, and he wants to share it with you. He wants to sit down with you personally on Parrish Beach on a warm, sunny day and whisper shiny tales of faraway places into your ear.
At least that’s what if felt like last Friday night at the Green Line Café. A small coffee shop in West Philly, the Green Line Café was crowded with various types of scenesters out to get their local music fill for the weekend. The narrow café is clearly not meant to be used as a performance space. Chairs were awkwardly arranged facing the front of the shop so that people had to walk in front of the performers to sit down.
Rather than a drawback, this awkwardness contributed to the quaint, neighborly feel of the performance. The attitude was one of “Hey, come on in, the more the merrier!”
This atmosphere was perfect for Cordova. He stood hovering in the back of the café as other performers took their turns. A small young man with a perfectly trim beard, wearing a grandpa sweater and wool hat, Cordova’s presence was ethereal. He didn’t quite seem to belong there, but I doubt that he would seem to belong anywhere.
His debut CD, “The Boy Who Floated Freely,” is a concept album about a young man named Giver who finds himself on an island and falls in love with a girl named Marcia.
The songs are simple and beautifully written. With a singer-songwriter feel, they sound like they could be part of a sound track to a grown-up Disney movie, without being trite.
Cordova often sings in a falsetto voice, which is both unsettling and beautiful. He seems to want to draw you into his fantasy world and explain his thoughts to you, but he will never be quite able to express himself. The listener gets just enough insight to be left craving a little bit more.
Each of the songs in the intimate coffee shop setting felt like a secret Cordova was telling explicitly to his listeners.
With only a guitar and an iPod playing bird noise sound effects, Cordova’s performance was stark and exposed. I suspect, however, that even if he were playing to 20,000 people in a giant stadium, he would still retain that intimate feel in his performance.
Despite his other-worldly appearance, Cordova seemed to be a down-to-earth guy. To a crowd that would probably have licked his feet had he asked, he felt he had to apologize and explain that the guitar he was playing was not his normal guitar, and he was making many mistakes. I am sure that very few noticed and even fewer cared.
Ramona Cordova is playing tonight at seven at Cereality in Philly and on Saturday at eight at Bryn Mawr. No matter what kind of music you like, I urge you to go see one of these performances.
The song, “Giver’s Reply” observes: “So then you try to turn around/ and figure life is all about/ the happiness you find/ in a simple lullaby.”
He is right to notice happiness in simple songs. Cordova’s songs were simply beautiful, and without a doubt, you will come away from his performance feeling fulfilled.

- The Phoenix

"Quoting Freely"

“…The Boy Who Floated Freely is one of the year’s most pleasant surprises.”
- Largehearted Boy

“…an album as weird as it is beautiful, as spectacular as it is unique and as purely imaginative as it is unforgettable.”
- The Tripwire

“Accentuated by a distant production aesthetic and the quaint instrumentation of saws, recorders and xylophones mixed into soft Spanish guitar, it's a sound that can silence the most savage bar. And the record, the boy who floated freely, is ethereal without being limp.”
- Philadelphia City Paper

“…definitely be a unique and important voice in indie songwriting.”
- Raven Sings the Blues

“Ramon Vicente Alarcon crafts soft spoken songs with a fantasy-like narrative to them.”
- Chinese Restaurant in the Forrest

“…never overbearing with its narrative, Freely is light and soaring like a paper airplane (the promo actually shipped with a paper airplane—I’m not kidding) and could only be the work of a dreamer untainted by age and fresh with the memory of the fairy tales and fantasy stories of his youth.”
- Good Hodgkins

“His new album is exciting and bold in a way that’s sure to elevate him even further in his cult hero status.”
- You Ain’t No Picasso

“…his music picks you up out of your seat and tosses you back to your childhood where everyone is smiling and you havent got a care in the world except for swaying to the melodies.”
- Skatterbrain

- Various


The Boy Who Floated Freely - full length CD

Track Listing:

01 introduction
02 into the gypsy bar
03 giver's reply
04 mixing potion
05 heavy on my head
06 brother
07 sung with the birds
08 one day, someday
09 hot and heavy harmony
10 chesser
11 take flight

Ramona Córdova and "The Boy Who Floated Freely" tells a story about a boy named Giver who washes ashore on an island. When Giver regains consciousness, he starts to hear music coming from a nearby village. He immediately runs after the sound with the little energy left in his body, hoping to find people. As the music grows louder and closer he realizes that it is coming from inside a small bar within the village. Upon entering the bar, Giver is welcomed with a song played for him by a band of Gypsies. They welcome Giver, and offer him a place to stay for the night so that he may regain strength. Giver is led to his room by a very pretty young girl named Marcía who has been ordered to offer Giver a small dose of potion to help him better sleep. He accepts, only, the young girl adds a potion that makes Giver fall in love with her as well.

When Giver falls asleep, he dreams of his brother and of other things that are heavy on his mind. When he awakes though- he feels light at heart, and he and Marcía sing a song together. Giver begins to realize he's in love, but does not feel he is old enough or wise enough to be suitable for Marcía. Although the love is there, by the time Giver truly allows himself to be fully taken over by his feelings, Marcía's love has grown dull. Giver is then left alone again, light and free as a paper airplane flying high



Feeling a bit camera shy


Once upon a time there was a boy named Ramón. When Ramón was very young his father would sing him to sleep with the aid of an old acoustic guitar. When Ramón couldn't sleep his grandmother would give him a glass of warm milk and whisper soft spanish lulluby's in his ear. In the morning's when Ramón would want to sit and watch cartoons, his mother would sometimes suggest instead a musical like the sound of music, singing in the rain, an american in paris, or oliver twist, and Ramón would fall asleep. Sometimes they would watch cartoons like pinnochio or snow white, but he would still fall asleep. Ramón seemed to fall asleep whenever he listened to music. This, my dear little friend, was not because Ramón was bored by music. Ramón loved music. It was in his bones. It cried from his mouth and beat in his heart. See, Ramón fell asleep whenever he listened to music because he loved to dream too. He would dream of the songs that filled his head, and dream of the sights that paired with them. He would dream of far off places, and painted landscapes, and fun adventures, but music would always be there, in the background, off in the distance, creating the feelings that made life beautiful to him.

As Ramón got older he learned how to make his own music. he began to travel, and his dreams came true. now he was helping create that feeling off in the background. that feeling that makes life beautiful to him.

Ramón Vicente Alarcón was born on February 17, 1984 in Kingman, AZ. As a gift, he received a little handmade guitar from mexico when he was an infant. At the age of 9 he began to learn how to play songs, and at the age of 11 he began writing his own. After playing in several bands, Ramón started working on a project where he would tell a story. This project he named after his grandmother, Ramona Córdova, and the story he named "the boy who floated freely".

contact:: info@ecarecords.com