Bebé Machete (FKA Xango/Suave) is a genderqueer Puerto Rican artist from Hartford, CT. Their music blends salsa, hip hop, lo-fi, and experimental rock, dealing with issues of queerness, resistance and liberation.
They seek to put ancestral rhythms and modes of resistance into a contemporary experimental pop context. Blending themes of tenderness and intimacy with radical political messages, their music seeks to promote love and community alongside struggles of decolonization and liberation internationally.
After two engaging experimental-pop releases as Xango/Suave, 2016’s 1320 and 2018’s full-length equis, Bebé Machete released There Is Not a Metaphor That Can Contain in Summer of 2019, which includes the triptych “Ghazal” and upbeat homage to home, “Sol.”
During the 2020 pandemic, Bebé Machete returned with a new single “Kimimaro,” which takes its name after the Naruto character, whom they nostalgically refer to as their “queer awakening.” The song is an eclectic exploration on queerness and decolonization, twisting and turning lyrically. It features 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 in NYC and Hartford, CT.
“Ghazal” Premiere on IndieCurrent
“Ghazal” picks up like a lullaby, Bebé’s soothing baritone vocals leading gracefully into a mid-tempo jazz-folk arrangement. The track’s intensity waxes and wanes with relative ease, switching often between Spanish and English-sung verses before falling into a random swell of uptempo funk. The overall effect is disorienting and strange, closer to the form of two or three individual tracks, but here the stylistic oddity works. — Angel Fraden for IndieCurrent