July 19, 2006

World Music Wednesday: Nil Lara

Nil Lara is a Cuban-American songwriter with Venezuelan roots who has just blown me away. I read about him recently on Matt Nathanson’s celebrity playlist (of all places), sought him out, and immediately loved what I heard. Lara is soulful and passionate and sings like his heart is burning. Add in heavy doses of warm & layered Latin percussion, traditional Cuban and Venezuelan string instruments, and his soaring chants and vocals (in a combination of Spanish and English) – and I was hooked.

It’s been named by some “Number 2 on my list of Best Albums By People That 99.5% of the World Has Never Heard Of.”

His 1996 self-titled album was critically acclaimed, but never received the popular attention it deserves. As such it is kind of hard to find: It is on iTunes (but not eMusic), and you can find used copies on Amazon. I would completely go see him live, and surely dance myself sore, but he seems to be on indefinite hiatus. Download these, and buy the album, though – sheer fabulousness.

I Will Be Free – Nil Lara
(I love the Spanish ululating — which almost sounds African at times — and furious guitar strumming on this one)

Mama’s Chant – Nil Lara
(standout traditional drum & chant piece, builds slowly and you feel it from your toes on up)

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30 Comments »

  • One of my favorite video performances is of Nil on Sessions at West 54th where he rips through “How Was I To Know.” Thank you for bringing him up. His website has two new releases available on it (and t-shirts). Google and ye shall find. BTW I Am Fuel is a wonderful use of the ether. Thank you.

    paul in nyc — July 20, 2006 @ 5:11 pm

  • What an amazing post. This was an incredible album and when he was signed to Capitol for this, they were expecting serious greatness but never happened. Nil put out a couple of crazy records a couple of years ago but nothing like this. He’s still a staple on XPN airwaves. Nice stuff as always. Check out the band Think Of One on Crammed Discs. Very cool stuff – Bruce

    Bruce — July 20, 2006 @ 6:56 pm

  • Heather… just stumbled onto your blog and first thing I read is Beatles tapes found, then a blurb on Nil Lara! Where you have been all my digital life! I’ve loved Nil Lara’s stuff since they played a snippet of “Fighting for my love” on Scrubs like 6 years ago! You rock… I’ll be reading this thing everyday!

    Dav — July 20, 2006 @ 8:06 pm

  • FYI – amazon.com has a few of his CDs (new) in stock and shipping through amazon as of 7/20/06.

    Anonymous — July 20, 2006 @ 9:51 pm

  • You *must* hear his song Amor en Ti which is off an EP called Cuatro (you’ve gotta order it from him). It’s my favorite song EVER.

    He used to have a website but it’s been down for several weeks. I hope not permanently!! He’s my favorite singer!!

    aquay — September 3, 2006 @ 10:06 pm

  • I highly recommend Nil Lara’s self-titled album. I forgot just how good it is until reading this. It’s probably in my top 20 of all time. Not that this means much coming from a stranger. :)

    Love your blog, by the way.

    tommyeats — September 5, 2006 @ 6:50 pm

  • i discovered Nil Lara in highschool almost 10 years ago. his passion haunted me, when i saw him live i felt truley alive. Now i have a 2 week old son, and instinctivley i sang him MY FIRST CHILD in the hospital when i first held him. i wish more people knew about him, how the fuck is Paulina Rubio so succesful with such little heart and soul? If only Nil had her backing, the musical world would be a much better place. Lets support real talent, not models with no talent who bark into a microphone with their butts showing. gente latina, apoyen talento verdadero, no modelos sin talento, que le ladran a un microfono con la nalga afuera
    jorge R.N. in miami

    Anonymous — October 20, 2006 @ 8:08 pm

  • Hey . Nice site. Anybody knows where to find chords to fighting for my love?
    Toke , denmark

    Anonymous — November 8, 2006 @ 2:56 am

  • wow…i just linked to your blog from someone on a forum somewhere out there on the interwebs. i had this nil lara album and loaned it to someone way back when…it was so good…but i never got it back. there was a radio station in L.A. that played his music back then (KSCA) but it has since gone the way of the dodo. thanks for putting this song up on your end-of-the-year recap. so good.

    Patrick — November 20, 2006 @ 10:54 am

  • Nil Lara will be playing an acoustic show on Feb 1st – 9PM at Transit Lounge in Miami, FL….. For more info log on to the Transit Lounge website at http://www.transitlounge.us…..Hope to see you all there……

    Anonymous — January 18, 2007 @ 9:17 pm

  • Finally, Nil is playing!!! It’s gonna be great for those lucky enough to be in Miami Feb 1.

    Anonymous — January 23, 2007 @ 11:49 am

  • NIL LARA UNPLUGGED
    THURSDAY FEB 1st 2007
    MIAMI FLORIDA USA
    TRANSIT LOUNGE
    729 sw 1 st
    free

    http://www.myspace.com/nillara
    http://www.nillara.net
    http://www.myspace.com/belugabluerecords

    Anonymous — January 27, 2007 @ 10:38 am

  • NIL LARA
    UNPLUGGED II
    THURSDAY MARCH 1 2007
    @ TRANSIT LOUNGE
    MIAMI FLORIDA USA
    9pm FREE CONCERT

    for more info
    Beluga Blue Records
    305.774.7034
    belugabluerecords@yahoo.com

    Anonymous — February 6, 2007 @ 7:29 am

  • Nil came to the Fox Theater in Boulder, CO back in 1996 while on the tail end of his HORDE tour (blues traveler, big head todd, dave matthews). He played to a full house and I was lucky enough to get a copy of Baro and Bleeding from the show that night. He is an amazing live performer and I will be happy to share the tracks with anyone interested. The sound quality is decent and you can sense the passion in his voice and guitar playing. He has not been back to CO since that time…damn it!
    ddblatt@yahoo.com

    Anonymous — February 16, 2007 @ 9:58 pm

  • Nil Lara will be playing again unplugged next april 5th at the transit lounge. Last performance was magical. What a talented performer, what soul.

    Anonymous — March 11, 2007 @ 7:19 am

  • NIL LARA UNPLUGGED
    THURSDAY APRIL 5th
    TRANSIT LOUNGE
    MIAMI FL USA

    BELUGA BLUE RECORDS
    305-774-7034

    Anonymous — March 27, 2007 @ 11:14 am

  • I Like your blog. It’s really interesting! Keep on keeping on!

    Sitora Nekto — April 7, 2007 @ 9:23 am

  • nil lara
    thursday may 3 2007
    transit lounge
    miami fl usa

    http://www.myspace.com/nillara
    @ amazon.com

    beluga blue records
    305-774-7034

    Anonymous — April 22, 2007 @ 10:48 am

  • Keep posting the dates – I’m in SoFl and no idea Nil was playing again – haven’t seen him since Sunfest!

    Anonymous — May 10, 2007 @ 12:44 pm

  • yes, Nil is legend…a very mysterious character indeed! Nobody could ever quite figure out why he didn’t continue on the path he was on…he didn’t seem to do many interviews, either, so who knows? I was lucky to see him back in the old days in Miami…saw him one year on New Years’ Eve when he came out wearing an Eastern Airline’s mechanic outfit! That was a night of music that I’ll never forgot- what a party! What an incredible performance!Anyhow, Nil, if you’re reading this, please keep playing and creating music…thanks for giving the updates here on this blog…I’m in Phoenix currently but hopefully the next time I visit my brother in Ft.Lauderdale you’ll be playing somewhere! Take care!

    Anonymous — May 14, 2007 @ 6:12 pm

  • Yes, Nil seems to have a good little streak going on here of tour dates in the first week of each month at the Transit Lounge in Miami…

    hopefully the trend continues! I guess stay posted to this thread for details! Thanks to whomever keeps posting them.

    heather — May 14, 2007 @ 7:02 pm

  • Nil Lara will be playing again on August 2nd at Transit Lounge. http://www.transitlounge.us

    Anonymous — July 25, 2007 @ 9:45 pm

  • Is Nil playing anywhere else in the upcoming weeks in Miami?

    Anonymous — August 2, 2007 @ 2:01 pm

  • NIL LARA IN NEW YORK CITY

    @ THE BITTER END

    147 Bleecker Street
    Greenwich Village . NEW YORK . USA

    SAT. NOV. 17 2007 8 pm
    MON. NOV. 19 2007 7:30 pm

    THANK YOU!

    nil lara — September 28, 2007 @ 8:56 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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