Winnipeg octet The Mariachi Ghost has premiered a video for their upcoming single “Puro Dolor”, the title-track to their upcoming sophomore album, Puro Dolor, due out October 25 on Sugar Gator Records/Pipe & Hat, via WNYC’s New Sounds – share via YouTube.  The Mariachi Ghost will celebrate the release of Puro Dolor with a special hometown performance on The Day of the DeadNovember 2 at the Winnipeg Planetarium.

Puro Dolor is narrated by a woman at the very edge that divides life and death. Lamenting rumours and gossip coming from both the living and the dead. Unable and unwilling to remain at peace in either – Los muertos no saben, la tierra que habitan es puro dolor… the dead don’t know the earth they inhabit is also made of pain,” states founder, frontman & video director Jorge Requena. “The song is an exploration in using traditional mariachi musical techniques in a modern way. Somewhere between RR7349 and Mariachi Vargas we found a place of explosive and a danceable sonic storm, created with the help of producer Jesse Zubot.  The video is inspired by the drama of Telenovelas… a wedding day; the joining of two powerful families and drama worthy of prime time Mexican television. A maid falls in love with a gallantly wealthy boy. Except, our story deals with the reality that men traditionally mostly take from women. And life is made up of the things that are taken away.”

The Mariachi Ghost are magical realism entwined into music, their sound breathing new life into the spirits of old Mexico. Telling stories of love, despair, sorrow and longing, the octet pushes the boundaries of genre-merging tradition and modernity, to take the audience to an imaginative Mexico of yesteryear which the music comes to life through ancient magic.

Nearly five years in the making Puro Dolor is The Mariachi Ghosts’ sophomore album, an exploration of the sorrow of a man who accidentally stumbles into a ghost town made up of his mother’s memories, guided by a sense of longing and the ethos: “life is made up of the things that are taken away.”  The work is inspired by the Magical Realism literary movement, which creates worlds where magic and metaphor are tangible parts of its characters’ lives.  Puro Dolor is a high-concept record with nods to the work of Borges, Garcia Marquez and Rulfo.

Produced by Polaris prize recipient, Jesse Zubot (Tanya Tagaq, Hawksley Workman), Puro Dolor is composed of diverse musical landscapes that range from explosive manic euphoria to melancholic ambient sorrow. The work is designed to emulate the ups and downs that come with heartbreak.  Earthy acoustic instruments, operatic vocals, rich guitar work and vintage synths combine to create a well-simmered, yet glossy sound: each track an adventure on its own.

The recording of this work was a long and arduous process with numerous sessions and months spent in studios, thousands of kilometers apart. Delayed by the suicide of Requena’s father, and then the passing of the producer’s father, the work became a reflection about death, suicide and fatherhood itself. A genuine sorrow haunts the vocal work in the album, and recordings made at the funeral decorate the incidental tracks as a way to honour the memories of those who have passed.