Northside KUISi is a concept album narrated by news reporters from a distant future who speak an ancient, futuristic creole language made up of Lengua-Palenkera, Anishinaabemowin, Spanish and English. It’s a carefully-woven song cycle of 12 songs with an extra seven hidden compositions that collectively chronicle the discoveries of an archeological dig, where traditional instruments from the Southern and Northern hemispheres are unearthed. The instruments found include a flute, a drum and a vinyl disc containing encrypted information from a prophetic time of transition for the world circa 2020 AD.
The album reflects Esguerra's experiences as a child who arrived with his political activist parents as refugees to Canada from Colombia. The compositions explore issues such as the mass exodus from South to North, environmental degradation, the celebration of instruments and traditions, global indignation to systemic racism and oppression, and the need for community collaboration and healing.
Inspired by the ancient prophecy of the Condor and the Eagle – which foretells the reunification of nations across the Northern and Southern hemispheres – Colombian-born, Mestizo, multi-instrumentalist and lyricist Beny Esguerra enlists artists from the North and South to collaborate on his works that also create bridges across diverse musical genres. Instruments included are the kuisi bunsi (Indigenous-Colombian flute), the hand drum (from Turtle Island), and the turntables (as used in Hiphop culture in the Bronx, NY).
Northside KUISi features an extensive list of Latinx, Mestizo, Black and Indigenous special guests including Silla, Artson, Mahlikah Awe:ri, Nimkii Osawamick, Zakisha Brown, Leang Manjarres Wong, DJ Grouch, DJ Classic Roots, Tracey Kayy, Raven Kanatakta, Steve Sanchez, Mat Stevens, Orlando 'Chato', DJ Chino, Jotaika Bops Atta, Mystro, Nathan Baya, Larry Blu, Louwop (Los Poetas), Mc McWatch, J Wize (Se7ens), Mamarudegyal, Hope, Che Uno and Rod Starz (Rebel Diaz).
With arrangements by producer Luis Orbegoso – who also provides, backing vocals, percussion and trombones – the album highlights core New Tradition Music group members Paul ‘Savilion’ De Francesco (beat making), Juan ‘Siez Swift’ Esguerra (turntables), Adam Solomon (electric guitar), Jonathan ‘Alacran’ Amador (electric bass) and Ernesto Espinoza (violin).