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Tarta Relena: Tiny Desk x globalFEST 2024

In 2021, the Tiny Desk x globalFEST series was created to promote international music discovery. For the last three years, artists from around the globe have performed Tiny Desk (home) concerts from their respective countries, but for the first time this year, artists performed at the Tiny Desk at NPR's headquarters.

The first impression I get from watching the Spanish duo Tarta Relena at the Tiny Desk is a reminder that the human voice may be mankind's oldest musical instrument.

Even more so when you consider that the five languages they sing here includes not just Spanish, Greek and their native Catalan, but also Latin and classical Greek, evoking images of lyricists and vocalists from centuries past.

Starting initially as an a capella project in 2016, vocalists Helena Ros and Marta Torella eventually added ambient-styled electronics to cushion their uncommonly matched voices. The duo's first number, "Me Yelassan," is in Greek, so be sure to activate the translation option on the video to fully appreciate the power of the performance with lyrics read almost like a Zen koan meditation on rebirth and eternity.

Stay tuned in to those translations, because the magic of this performance is in losing yourself in the harmonies and timeless poetic lyrics. In fact, the lyrics of the song "Safo" are taken from a poem written by the ancient Greek poet Sappho, and includes the prophetic line: "Someone will remember us, I say even in another time." How often do we get a chance to consider our place in history set to such stunning vocals?

SET LIST

  • "Me Yelassan"
  • "Tota Pulchra"
  • "El Suïcidi i el Cant"
  • "Safo"
  • "Las Alamedas"


MUSICIANS

  • Marta Torrella
  • Helena Ros


TINY DESK TEAM

  • Producers: Felix Contreras, Anamaria Sayre
  • Director/Editor: Joshua Bryant
  • Audio Technical Director: Hannah Gluvna
  • Host/Series Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Videographers: Joshua Bryant, Kara Frame, Alanté Serene
  • Audio Engineer: Neil Tevault
  • Production Assistant: Ashley Pointer
  • Photographer: Keren Carrion
  • Creative Designer: Jackie Lay
  • Tiny Desk Team: Maia Stern, Hazel Cills
  • globalFEST Team: Isabel Soffer, Bill Bragin, Shanta Thake, Zion Jackson, Ian Thake
  • Executive Producer: Suraya Mohamed
  • Series Creators: Bob Boilen, Stephen Thompson
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Felix Contreras is co-creator and host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering radio show and podcast celebrating Latin music and culture since 2010.
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