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San Fermin Returns With 'Open' — And A New Album Soon

San Fermin's new album, <em>Belong</em>, is due out later this year.
Denny Renshaw
Courtesy of the artist
San Fermin's new album, Belong, is due out later this year.

The brainchild of classically trained songwriter and bandleader Ellis Ludwig-Leone, San Fermin has evolved from an immaculate, studio-bound chamber-pop ensemble to a looser, livelier full-time operation. Singers Allen Tate and Charlene Kaye — the latter a replacement for Rae Cassidy, who in turn replaced Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe of Lucius, who sang on San Fermin's 2013 debut — take turns in the spotlight, and each functions as a versatile mouthpiece for Ludwig-Leone's prolific bursts of inspiration.

In the months to come, San Fermin will return with a new album titled Belong, which — if this first taste, a song called "Open," is any indication — promises to pick up where 2015's Jackrabbit left off. Amid pitter-pattering percussion and strings that swoop and swirl, Kaye sings beautifully about coming to terms with who we are and what we desire.

"'Open' was the keystone of this new record, the song I kept coming back to that shaped the direction of everything else," Ludwig-Leone writes via email. "It's a call from that little nagging voice telling you that you might be a bad person, or at least want bad things."

Belong comes out later this year via Downtown/Interscope.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)
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