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In 2001, New York native Cristina Orbé moved to Seattle and made three self-declarations: to live alone; to stop watching TV and to teach herself how to play guitar. Within 3 months, she had written her first song and within 6 months, she was on stage. Ever since, she has commanded attention with her raw talent as a vocalist and writer, paired with a winking whimsy in her on-stage performance. Orbé's newest project, orbé orbé, anchored by the debut LP Invisible Kingdoms, is her most musically ambitious most magical to date.
In the past decade, Cristina has evolved as an artist from spoken word poet to songwriter, soul-folk band front woman to performance artist to celestial pop queen. She has been an artist in residence, has been featured on songs by the Northwest's most notable hip-hop artists (Common Market, Abyssinian Creole, Gabriel Teodros, Moka Only) and has produced a shadow puppet opera. Her creativity extends into her work within the community. As the co-founder and Executive Director of FEEST, an innovative and nationally renowned youth food justice program, Cristina works with teenagers to become leaders in their schools and neighborhoods through cooking, education and political advocacy.
From 2001 to 2007 she was the lead singer and songwriter for the 4-piece band Forgotten Sol, which had two releases and performed across the Northwest, including Seattle's famed Bumbershoot Festival. Orbé also released Sway, a quiet but powerful acoustic solo album that showcased the flexibility and depth of her perspective and artistry. Throughout that time, she garnered attention and audiences throughout the West Coast and Southwest for her live performances, all the while ingesting a significant amount of David Bowie and scheming as to how to take the strength of her songwriting to an elevated plane.
That new level opportunity arrived when Orbé met Jahon Mikal, a brilliant producer and engineer who had recently released his critically acclaimed album Medulla Transmissions. Together, they endeavored to create a project that held their shared musicality, mysticism, and dazzle. Invisible Kingdoms was born.
Recorded in 2012, Invisible Kingdoms by orbé orbé is a sonic biosphere with a Technicolor landscape. Jahon weaves ethereal, organic textures that cradle Cristina's honey-edged voice as she spins a lyrical narrative of fantasy and aching honesty. It is vintage-space music with glimmering musical arrangements; celestial pop with circus pomp, sliding between the acoustic and electronic realms, delivering a delightful and captivating listening experience.
"The title Invisible Kingdoms refers to the unseen worlds we traverse in our relationships," explains Orbé. "The gut feeling, the pull of spirit, the gardens or wastelands we build between ourselves and the people we love. These places influence the trajectories of our lives whether we pay attention to them or not."
Each song on Invisible Kingdoms is a chapter in this emotional journey, capturing the delight and agony along the way. Orangutan evokes a sonic wilderness, a fantastical narrative bordering on the absurd, dancing between the child-like and the existential. The song Circus Star is a fairytale of opposition, its near-ghastly musicality mirroring an intoxicated push and pull with a dissonant drunken waltz as Orbé sings achingly of the wild ride of love. In Lady Bug, Mikal's rich sonic landscape shapes a story of finding liberation while being trapped by circumstance. It is a wonderland of lush harmonies, ukuleles, harps and bells, evoking an island sensuality.
From start to finish, Invisible Kingdoms shines with a dreamy yet earthly punch that lures its listener in and keeps them anxiously awaiting the next track. The live experience of orbé orbé makes the album a delectable reality. The performance's radiant pop-punk aesthetic and choreography brings the music ecstatically to life, fascinating and delighting unsuspecting audiences.
153 14th Ave Seattle, WA
7pm, All Ages
$6 on SUN, $8 MON
2300 S Massachusetts Street Seattle, 98144
7-9pm, All Ages
3552 N. Mississippi Ave Portland, Or
8pm, All Ages
BOOKINGS orbemgmt [at] gmail.com
MEDIA Wendy Brynford-Jones | wendy [at] hellowendy.com | (818) 762-7063