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Adrian Quesada's new album 'Boleros Psicodélicos' pays tribute to golden era of balada

Adrian Quesada and iLe conjure high drama and passionate resolve on "Mentiras Con Cariño," the lead single off Quesada's upcoming album "Boleros Psicodélicos." iLe's vocals rise in smoky curls over a simmering soundbed driven by insistent piano and guitar riffs, shuffling drums and the retro warmth that the Black Pumas guitarist, producer and co-founder uses to sign all his productions.  

"I wrote this song thinking about feeling sufficient with yourself on your own, even though love didn’t turn out to be the way you wanted,” the Puerto Rican superstar and former member of Calle 13 said in a news release about her collaboration with Quesada. 

"Boleros Psicodélicos," due out June 3 on ATO Records, is a love letter to Latin American balada music. Mostly made up of original compositions from Quesada, the album includes vocals from Colombian American artist Gabriel Garzón-Montano, Mexican R&B star Girl Ultra, Angelica Garcia, Gaby Moreno and more. 

According to the news release, balada music is the "super funky, slightly delirious and deeply soulful sounds that transcended the cultural boundaries of Latin America throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s." 

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Adrian Quesada of Black Pumas poses for a portrait during Austin City Limits Festival 2021.

Quesada became obsessed with balada in the early 2000s. After hearing the 1975 song “Esclavo y Amo” by Peruvian band Los Pasteles Verde on AM radio while driving around Austin, he went to a regional Mexican record store, found a greatest hits collection and began a decades-long course of study. Locked down during the pandemic in 2020, he had time to do a deeper exploration. 

“Balada changed the face of Latin music forever," Quesada said in the release. "If something like that happened today, it would be normal because everyone’s connected on Instagram. Think how powerful this sound had to be for everyone to be connected through the songs."

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Like his 2018 album "Look At My Soul" that explored the connections between Latin music and soul music in Texas, Quesada sees "Boleros Psicodélicos" as both a history lesson and a call for a more united future. 

"As someone who grew up speaking two languages and living on both sides of the border, I love how much music can transcend barriers and boundaries. It really is a universal language,” he said in the release. 

"Boleros Psicodélicos" Tracklist:

Mentiras Con Cariño (Feat. iLe)

El Paraguas (Feat. Gabriel Garzón-Montano)

Ídolo (Feat. Angelica Garcia)

Hielo Seco (Feat. Marc Ribot and Money Mark)

El Payaso (Feat. Girl Ultra)

Tus Tormentas (Feat. Mireya Ramos)

Puedes Decir De Mi (Feat. Gaby Moreno)

Eso No Lo He Dicho Yo (Feat. College Of Knowledge)

Esclavo Y Amo (Feat. Natalia Clavier)

Ya No Me Quieres (Feat. Jaron Marshall)

El León (Feat. Rudy De Anda)

El Muchacho De Los Ojos Tristes (Feat. Tita)