- Don Hopkins
Watching Femina-X gain momentum over the last several years has been exciting. The Latin-rock, alt-pop, trip-hop, world-music group has never tried to be anything but themselves as their sound has matured. They've explored tribal sound textures and Native American tones in their tracks, which grabbed the attention of publications such as Texas Monthly and Vice.
Spearheaded by Daniela Riojas, who works as a full-time professional photographer and artist, the front-woman explores her own spirituality and native roots through her music, which is clearly on display in the band’s latest offering, KIVA.
So is Riojas's grief over the death of her mother from cancer in 2017.
“Of course, by the time you record all the songs, you’ve written them all [long] before,” Riojas says. “So it’s a little hard to be in all these places at the same time, and say, ‘Oh, this is what the album is [about]’ because it’s a lot of different things. But I think the fact that [the songs] all came together when I was grieving my mom – I kind of grabbed at a bunch of [songs] that I had put aside. But then all of a sudden it became super important to me to document for my mom because they felt like the truest essence of me. Whenever you’re grieving a parent, everything you think about is your childhood, your past and all the different experiences that you had with your parent. So I kept thinking about when I lived with my mom, and so it made all these songs more special, like 'Moon Song' – my mom loved that song.”
“Moon Song” might also be my favorite
“I wrote this song after an ecstatic experience, swimming in the San Antonio River by Blue Star during a full moon during a mushroom ceremony,” Riojas said. “I was definitely in
Another stand-out track will be the first single from KIVA, “Las Caderas.”
The dance track on the album, “Las Caderas” is punctuated with flutes and a driving bass line that pulses over a grooving Latin-inspired beat that encourages listeners to move to the rhythm of the track.
Overall, the album feels like a sophomore record. From the production to musicianship and cohesiveness of the collection of songs, there’s a maturity about KIVA that feels different from 2017’s Multiverse. It’s less self-focused and more outward-looking, encouraging listeners to find their own light.
Femina-X will play their album release show at Sam’s Burger Joint on Friday, July 6, with Arte y Pasión and Volcán, directly followed by a two-week tour, which will take the band up the East Coast and down through the Midwest.
For updates on the band and to hear more recordings, follow the group at femina-x.com.
Listen to "Las Caderas" below: