Helado Negro
Avant-Pop Musician and Performer
Brooklyn, NY
2019 USA Fellow

This award was generously supported by the Ford Foundation.

A South Florida native, born to Ecuadorian immigrants and based in Brooklyn, Roberto Carlos Lange’s upbringing provides essential elements to his songwriting, including his consistently bilingual—English and Spanish—lyrics. Exploring the expressivity within intense states of being, Latinx identity, and pluralistic sensibilities, his music as Helado Negro is an engrossing statement achieved through lyrically personal and political avant-pop music. Half a decade and half a dozen albums since Helado Negro’s 2009 debut album Awe Owe, and multiple projects under various aliases, Lange has cultivated an untraditional approach to songcraft that places his voice on an adventurous musical impulse without shying away from familiar pop appreciation.

With a degree in Computer Art and Animation from Savannah College of Art and Design, Lange, a multifaceted creator, Lange has worked with mediums such as video, sculpture, sound and performance. While Helado Negro is, in a sense, a one-man band for the digital age, Lange is also a constant collaborator, working on projects with numerous artists including Sufjan Stevens, Julianna Barwick (as Ombre), Mikael Jorgensen (of Wilco), Guillermo Scott Herren (of Prefuse 73), Mouse on Mars, and sculptor David Ellis. Helado Negro has presented work in diverse venues from clubs to cultural organizations including the Wexner Center, Columbus, OH; Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN; Mana Contemporary, Chicago, IL; Museum of Natural History, Los Angeles, CA.; Mass MoCA, North Adams, MA; Marguilies Warehouse, Miami, FL; Festival Centro, Bogota; Vive Latino, Mexico City; Ordway Center for Performing Arts, Saint Paul, MN; the Perez Art Museum, Miami, FL; and the Museum of Modern Art, NY.

Portrait photo by Ebru Yildiz.