Passiflora: Costa Rica’s gentle revolution

Music is the literal sound of creativity and progression and it changes, and change is good. With one Gypsy Folk band, the Costa Rican music scene has been cracked and has opened up to a musical dialogue of creativity.

Passiflora has created an unprecedented interest and popularity for gypsy folk in Costa Rica, and while it deviates from the norm of music on the stations, it has hooked many. The ethereal voice of the founder and lead singer and guitarist, Marianna Echeverria, brings a whimsical sense of life to light, and the grand ensemble of seven artists creates a communal wave that sweeps up the listener into a vaudevilian world.

“Passiflora is different because I’m not a musician. I’ve always written poetry, but I never thought I would write a song,” Echeverria explains. At 24 she searched for a healthy way to bring herself out of a depression and found herself finding solace in making music. She played in bars on her own before getting pregnant with her second child; while pregnant she began to sing with her good friends in her home.

Their first album ‘Noches en vela’ was recorded in her home, and their second, ‘Noches en vela en vivo’, is a combination of their old songs and six new ones. The promotional song Riverside reached #1 on the Costa Rican charts on October 25, and their eclectic sound has captured the country’s attention earning the band an interview on the national news station -7 estrellas.

While the gypsy folk style veers far off the merengue and reggaeton that saturate the airwaves, Echeverria insists that the music has roots in regue and dance-hall-music that she loved as a child. She also credits her exposure and interest in more diverse artists for motivating her. “Bjork is what took me to another world and it made me pay attention to other bands.”

Combining powerful music with memorable shows that have included circus performers, projections and aerial dancers, Passiflora strives to create a musical experience for all the senses. The vision is the work of the group as a whole, and Echevaria poignantly explains that the band’s path is not about an ego-trip but about going with the flow and producing meaningful work.

“If we hurry now we’ll be like the seafoam: bubbling really fast and fading really fast.”

With their refreshingly motivational style, it’s hard to see the group fizzling out soon. There’s enough mindless and inconsequential tripe out in music right now; which is perhaps why the more emotionally driven music of Passiflora is resonating strongly with its listeners. With lyrics in English, Spanish and French the topics of the songs confront our emotions and celebrate the human existence whether its childish, pleasurable or difficult. With a strong future in front of them, Passiflora continues to create with a grand vision. “We’re giving a very human experience that’s lacking in the mainstream. We think the world needs that.”

Check out their latest album here.

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