Mobéy Lola Irizarry, Tell Me About Your Day, 2021; painting/composition
Mobéy Lola Irizarry’s work is grounded in a decolonial, queer, and anti-racist practice, posing liberated futures for all colonized and oppressed peoples. A transdisciplinary artist whose work spans visual arts, media, and film, their musical practice is centered around congas, bongos, violin, production, and song. After two engaging experimental-pop releases in 2016 and 2018 as Xango/Suave, Irizarry’s musical persona, Bebé Machete, released There is Not a Metaphor That Can Contain in 2019. During the 2020 pandemic, Bebé Machete returned with a new single Kimimaro, an eclectic exploration on queerness and decolonization, featuring a string quartet, a horn section, a driving drum machine, and a wide array of samples acquired on the street in Mexico City, and during decolonial Puerto Rican #RickyRenuncia protests. Today she is a student in the Afro-Puerto Rican Bomba music scene in New York, and plays percussion with the Latin Rock group AVATAREDEN. They also perform with the experimental performance trio Dendarry Bakery, which is set to debut a piece entitled “¡Time Out!” for the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance’s BlakTinX Festival October 8th.
Based in Brooklyn, Irizarry’s work is inspired by anti-colonial uprisings, collections of tiny mirrors at queer clubs, and things that come from trees. Since late 2021, they have developed graphic score studies to sharpen their compositional vernacular, experimenting heavily with the frameworks of Bomba music, Indigenous (particularly Arawak, Lenape, and Chickasaw) mythology and symbolism, the Land Back movement, and graffiti. Irizarry’s music seeks to place ancestral rhythms and modes of resistance into a contemporary experimental context.
I think it’s integral to any social justice movement to start with imagination. Without imagining what other worlds are possible, we don’t know what to build toward.
—Mobéy Lola Irizarry (Puerto Rican, Citizen of Chickasaw Nation)
Irizarry’s LIFT project, Propuestes, will be a three-movement graphic score installed in a gallery space. Grounded in the Land Back movement, Afro-Puerto Rican Bomba music, the precolonial languages of drums and braids, Queer and Trans cultures, graffiti, and experimental music, this installation-sized music score will propose new futures for decolonization, and new futures in form and medium for music and art. The installation is a set of large graphic scores meant to be “read” by performers and the score will be read by multiple ensembles over the course of months at the gallery. There will also be performances in which drag artists, experimental new music improvisers, Bomba musicians, modular synthesis musicians, and others will interpret the installation musically for an audience.