What have you done in the time since the Covid lockdown started? Did you get into shape, binge watch multiple seasons of a show, become a better cook? For most of the music world which exists upon its interaction with and audience, the world simply stopped in early 2020. Adamant that they would make proper use of this forced pause, the reputable band Herd of Bison has been recording and preparing for the eventual return to performing in front of people. Far from the single-driven ethos so prevalent in the music industry, the band’s upcoming release is a concept album (yes, album!) of songs about how COVID has changed young people’s lives. Comprised of a group of young musicians from across the world, Herd of Bison speaks authentically through this album which is in fact being currently recorded from the group’s members in different locations. It’s hard to think of any music that might more accurately communicate the reality of a young person’s perspective on the once in a generation experience of the past year.
The current record by Herd of Bison is not their first but it definitely signifies a new sound for the band. The group’s 2017 release “Of Course We’ve Heard of Them” is all instrumental. The addition of soloist-vocalist Marisol Echegoyen vastly expands the emotive spectrum of the band. An much-admired singer from Mexico who is deeply rooted in Jazz, Gospel, Latin Pop, Salsa, Rock, Musical Theatre, Mexican Folk, and Country, Echegoyen brings an influx of styles for this already highly experimental Prog-Rock band. Producer/composer/drummer Ben Lokuta, along with Nirupam Pratapgiri (guitar), Drae Dunning (rhythm guitar), William Bartholomew (guitar), and Sean Horvath (bass), approached the singer having been impressed by her abilities and international acclaim. Because the band has such an expansive palette of influences, Marisol’s ability to adapt to any genre made her the ideal vocalist for the music of Herd of Bison.
It’s been noted often that the musicians of the Covid era, especially the younger ones, will have a wealth of emotions and insight to relate in what they create. As a vocalist, Marisol Echegoyen feels the responsibility and opportunity that her talent has placed her within. She relates, “The most important thing for me when singing is to tell a story and connect with listeners emotionally. In Herd of Bison, I want to tell the story of how COVID changed young people’s lives like mine. Every note that I sing will be to interpret that. The album is about the toll COVID took over our social life, mental health, family relationships, freedom, and sense of time passing by. When Covid happened, it seemed as if everyone’s lives stopped. At first, I felt scared because I did not know what was going to happen with me as a performer. Places closed and suddenly there wasn’t anywhere to perform. There were no gigs. I didn’t know when the pandemic would end. Foolishly expected it to last only a few months, I remained hopeful and excited for things to get back to normal. At the same time, it was mostly bad news in the media all about covid, deaths, police brutality, riots, impeachments, furloughs, unemployment…. It was emotionally draining. Home was my safe space before the pandemic started, after that it was my jail.” Remove the word “Covid” and these statements sound like they originated with the great music artists of the 60’s. It seems intuitive that today’s artists like Marisol and her band find themselves engulfed in a torrent of emotional experiences that are unique to any time in the past century.
Like so many of us, Marisol Echegoyen looks forward to a return to a world of public gatherings that include concerts and other entertainment events. In addition to her work with Herd of Bison, Marisol is preparing for collaborations with Film Composer Daniele Truocchio (winner of the Best Soundtrack Award at the Valle d’Itria Film Festival as well as his work for TV series on CW, CBS, Warner Horizon Television, the History Channel, Warner Bros, and TNT) as well as her friend RnB/Pop singer/dancer Amber Olivia Kiner known for her appearance at the BET Stellar Awards with gospel-recording artist Earnest Pugh and at sold-out shows with superstar Beyonce’s Original All-Female Band.