Since Dominican-Brazilian singer, Jarina De Marco, debuted last spring on Wyclef Jean’s mixtape, April Showers, intrigue has grown considerably over her bright, hypnotic style. Born in the Dominican Republic, De Marco was raised in a musical family; her mother is the notable singer and folklorist, Irka Mateo. However, she had to leave her country at a young age as a political refugee when her parents performed a song against the president of the time, Joaquin Balaguer, in front of an audience of government personnel. They migrated to Montreal but after a few years, moved back to the Dominican Republic. Now based in Brooklyn and signed onto Jean’s label, All Handz On Deck, De Marco has taken her experiences and fused them into her brand of magical, tropical pop music that’s equal parts entrancing and unforgettable. She currently only has two songs released but hopefully her solo EP will sate the growing curiosity over this elusive singer.
The self-proclaimed bruja (“witch” in Spanish) sings bilingually on her first track, “Main Dish,” the female answer to JAY-Z’s “Big Pimpin,” as it also uses the the well-recognized flute rhythm from “Khosara.” On the Spanish sung hook, De Marco’s voice is ethereal and light, but when she sings in English, she’s all attitude: confident, flirty, and personal. It’s a proper introduction to her life as she sings about leaving the DR to Montreal and being mixed race. Though the instrumentals may sound busy with the “Khosara” sample on top of a thumping percussion line, De Marco’s voice and strong lyrics pull it all together.
Sampling the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins rendition of “I’ve Put A Spell On You,” De Marco’s second track, “Spell On You,” is bewitching. Again, she sings in Spanish and English, easily weaving both languages together so that they compliment one another. Both are needed to fully convey her message: mess with her and she’ll put a spell on you.
By Teta Alim