Calexico’s Joey Burns and John Convertino return in 2022 with their luminous 10th studio album, El Mirador; a hopeful, kaleidoscopic beacon of rock, bluesy ruminations and Latin American sounds, to be released on April 8th via City Slang. Today the band are sharing the first single and title-track from the record, along with an animated video by video by director Elefanto and MERO ESTUDIO.
The band will also be touring throughout Europe this Spring for the first time since 2018 with headline shows in the UK, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany/Austria/Switzerland and Italy.
Oscillating between haunting desert noirs and buoyant jolts of cumbia and Cuban son, the album is permeated by longing. The title track “El Mirador” conjures images of a lighthouse, beckoning to lost souls in the night with hypnotic bass lines and cascading percussion.
Listen to & watch “El Mirador” here: https://youtu.be/EMeinq7I__w
Convening at longtime bandmate Sergio Mendoza’s home studio in Tucson, Arizona, El Mirador was recorded throughout the summer of 2021, crafting one of their most riveting and whimsical productions to date. Convertino, who now resides in El Paso, and Burns, who relocated to Boise in 2020, channeled cherished memories of Southwestern landscapes and joyful barrio melting pots into an evocative love letter to the desert borderlands that nourished them for over 20 years.
“El Mirador is dedicated to family, friends and community,” says Burns; singer, multi-instrumentalist and co-founder of Calexico. “The pandemic highlighted all the ways we need each other, and music happens to be my way of building bridges and encouraging inclusiveness and positivity. That comes along with sadness and melancholy, but music sparks change and movement.”
“El Mirador” features gossamer vocals from Guatemalan singer-songwriter Gaby Moreno, while Spanish rocker Jairo Zavala brings his signature bravado to “Cumbia Peninsula.” By working with friends and recurring collaborators, Calexico also highlights the unique social and linguistic intersections at the US-Mexico border and the magnificent possibilities of a borderless world. “The album is trying to convey openness,” adds Burns.“Look around you. If you’re in the North, you need a South to live in balance. We’re all breathing together.”
Burns and Convertino have been performing together for over 30 years, sharing a deep love of jazz and usually building songs on a foundation of bass and drums. But all these years later, Calexico is still breaking new ground. El Mirador showcases a sunnier side of the band, cutting through two years of pandemic fog with a blast of danceable optimism. Writing and recording alongside Sergio Mendoza (keys, accordion, percussion), the album expands on long running influences of cumbia, mariachi and the plethora of diaspora sounds flourishing throughout the Southwest.
“I’ve been playing with Calexico for about 15 years, and I admire Joey and John’s constant search for new sounds,” reflects Mendoza, who’s newly built home studio became a refuge for the band and reduced pandemic risks while fostering a more organic creative process. “After so many albums,” he adds, “I’m really proud we were able to achieve something so fresh together.”
Mendoza was born and raised in Nogales, where he soaked up the classic cumbias, rancheras and corridos that soundtrack daily life at the border. This rich melange of influences translates into the effervescent “The El Burro Song,” complete with mariachi strings, slide guitars and zapateado performance that transports the listener to a papel picado-decorated backyard party. On “Liberada,” piano and Cuban percussion provide an exuberant canvas for a universal tale of resilience, where even in the face of adversity, celebrating your uncle’s 80th birthday always comes first. El Mirador‘s all-star guest list is rounded out by poet Pieta Brown, who wrote “El Paso” and “Then You Might See,” as well as Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam, who provides backing vocals on the fluttering choruses of “Harness The Wind.”
El Mirador stands both as a lookout point and beacon in the dark; an opportunity to search inwards, ponder our connections to the Earth and its people, and hopefully illuminate a path forward. After decades on the road Calexico’s music remains boundless and romantic, still gazing upon the horizon in search of their next adventure.
Pre-order album here.
See Calexico live:
23 Apr 2022 – AT Linz Posthof
24 Apr 2022 – DE Munich Neue Theaterfabrik
26 Apr 2022 – IT Rome Auditorium Parco Della Musica
27 Apr 2022 – IT Milan Alcatraz
29 Apr 2022 – CH Zürich Xtra
30 Apr 2022 – AT Vienna Museumsquartier
1 May 2022 – DE Leipzig Felsenkeller
3 May 2022 – NL Nijmegen Doornroosje
5 May 2022 – DE Dortmund Konzerthaus
6 May 2022 – DE Berlin Tempodrom
7 May 2022 – DE Cologne E-Werk
8 May 2022 – DE Hamburg Fabrik
10 May 2022 – NL Amsterdam Paradiso
11 May 2022 – Lux Den Atelier
12 May 2022 – FR Paris Le Trianon
13 May 2022 – BE Brussels Ancienne Belgique
14 May 2022 – UK London O2 Forum Kentish Town