Vol. II: Baca Sewa (Daptone Records)


Released July 2021

DownBeat Four-and-a-Half-Star Review






The Dap-Kings’ electro-sax space warrior returns with a groove-heavy sequel to All My Relations, Vol. II: Baca Sewa, an expressive, transcendental voyage through the archives of his indigenous roots and beyond. Drawing on ancestral memories and family histories to wrap new flesh around the bones of history, this album is a bold, semi-autobiographical work that leads us deeper into the annals of family histories, mythology and the cultural imaginary.
“Baca Sewa” is Cochemea’s original family name prior to Spanish colonization. The melody was composed by Anthony Gastelum and features vocals and drumming by the Baca Sewa Singers- a group composed of several generations of family members. The album runs thick with sonic tributes and remembrances. “Chito’s Song” is a contemplative, ethereal tribute to a beloved uncle. “Curandera” conjures the memory of the irrepressible healing power of medicine women. “Black Pearl” recalls his great grandfather, heir to a legacy of indigenous peoples enslaved as pearl divers in the Sea of Cortez.
Leading a 7-piece ensemble composed of New York’s top percussionists and members of Daptone’s rhythm section, Cochemea has created his own world of emotional textures and rhythmic possibilities, a musical and spiritual synthesis made possible through his deep reverence of the horn and the music and traditions preceding him. Vol II: Baca Sewa – is an offering and continuation of Cochemea’s explorations, part of a musical process of cultural reclamation and healing through connection, relations, memory and imagination.

Track Listing:

1. Burning Plain 04:53

2. Tukaria 03:49

3. Mimbreños 04:23

4. Chito’s Song 05:05

5. Nahsuareo Bwikam 03:03

6. Black Pearl 03:43

7. Peace Prayer 01:06

8. Curandera 03:41

9. Baca Sewa (Chant) 02:48

10. Baca Sewa (Song) 02:04


Cochemea Gastelum: alto saxophone, electric saxophone, flutes

Elizabeth Pupo-Walker: congas, bombo

Brian Wolfe: bass drum, bombo, surdo

Neil Ochoa: conga, bongos, repinique

Giancarlo Luiggi: shekere

Alex Chakour: bass, marimba, kalimba, bombo

Victor Axelrod: electric and electronic pianos, kalimba

The Baca Sewa Singers: Anthony Gastelum, Austin Gastelum, Carmen Gastelum-Serrano, Eli Serrano, Ruben Miranda and David Herrera

Additional Vocals: Matt Beld, Denisse Forghani, David Paul, Bryan Ponce and Adriana Flores

Second Bass Drum: Simón Guzmán (6)

Recorded and Mixed at Penrose Recorders – Daptone West, Riverside, California, by Gabriel Roth

Assistant Engineer / Tape Operator: Simón Guzmán

Mastering: J.J. Golden

Photos: Jacob Blickenstaff

Layout by Daniel Gneiding and Ann Coombs

Executive Producers: Sugarman & Roth


Baca Sewa’s title refers to Cochemea’s pre-colonial family name. “Sewa” also means “flower” in Yaqui, his people’s native tongue. And flowers also play an important role in Yaqui culture, so it’s likely no coincidence that Baca Sewa radiates like a blossoming flower from beginning to end. Picking up where Cochemea’s debut album, All My Relations, left off, Vol. II: Baca Sewa is a further melding of electric saxophone wails and echo-heavy percussive grooves. Specters of such psychedelic players as Eddie Harris hang like incense smoke throughout. Standout tracks include “Burning Plain,” “Curandera” and “Mimbreños.” Some songs in the set feel like a welcome breeze on an August afternoon, and others lend themselves to taking a cruise in a two-tone brown Eldorado Biarritz. “Chito’s Song” is one of those jams. Cochemea’s chameleonic talent is in his ability to toggle back and forth effortlessly between spiritual notions and stone-cold grooves. Consequently, Baca Sewa is the rare album that services both carnal and mystical sensibilities with ease.

Ayana Contreras (DownBeat)