I’ve been stewing on this Doctor Nativo album for a couple of weeks, trying to work out a full-on review but I feel like it can all be summed up pretty quickly: The Guatemalan musician’s debut on Stonetree Records is full of acoustic and indigenous instrumentation and rootsy songs inflected with hip-hop, cumbia and reggae. It’s catchy, creative and singular. I’ve happily listened to it three times in a row.
With that out of the way, check out the video for the title track:
Right? It’s all that catchy.
Doctor Nativo grew up in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. His father, Arturo Martinez, was assassinated in 1990, and Nativo took to life as a traveling musician, busking through India, Europe, Cuba and elsewhere. After a stint in Barcelona, he returned to Guatemala and took place in his first Mayan ceremony. Inspiration flowing, he recorded in Belize with Stonetree Records founder Ivan Duran.
Duran recalls the impression these songs made right from the get-go: “His songs struck me like instant Polaroid pictures into the soul of a young and proud indigenous generation that had finally woken up in Guatemala. I remember thinking, ‘There’s hope! The resistance is not dead!’”