Even though Bajofondo has been a pioneer in what has been known all over the world as "electrotango," do not mention the word in front of Gustavo Santaolalla - the group doesn't consider it an accurate description of their music.
And yet, after all this commercial and critical success, after all the accolades, Bajofondo arrived to 2012 about to get even hotter: the signing by Sony Masterworks set the stage for their most ambitious and international album to date: Presente (March 5, 2013). The album is a major turning point for Bajofondo.
For the first time, Bajofondo used no vocal guests on an album, and the usual strings were magnified: again under the direction of Alejandro Terán, Presente features 11 violins, four violas, three cellos,
and three stand-up basses.
"This time we really worked on the orchestral parts," said Santaolalla. "We had done something similar in Mar Dulce (2007), but Presente is a much bigger project and the album required extra time spent in that area. We're thrilled with the results." Several album tracks also include brass, woodwinds, harp, percussion,
and even a Theremin.
Even if the changes from Tango Club (2002) to Mar Dulce to Presente are evident, there's also a Bajofondo aesthetic that remains a constant. Bajofondo's music has no written laws; it evolves continually, but the parameters from the first album that were continued in Mar Dulce are amplified and expanded in Presente.
"After playing in virtually all corners of the world, having Sony Masterworks as our new home could not be more appropriate to present the album that most closely resembles what we are as a live band,"
That album is Presente, to be released 11 years since Gustavo Santaolalla and Juan Campodónico conceived the idea of bringing together a collective of Argentine and Uruguayan artists dedicated to creating "contemporary music of the Río de la Plata," the river that separates - and unites - Argentina and Uruguay. Seven albums (two as Bajofondo, a collection of remixes, and five solo releases by Bajofondo members or guests) and multiple tours later, this collective of artists with remarkable individual careers evolved to become a true band known all over the world for its stirring live performances. As Bajofondo's music constantly grows, evolves, and expands, the denomination of "electrotango" becomes
more and more inadequate.
"Simply put, Bajofondo makes Bajofondo music," says Bajofondo's two-time Academy Award-winning founder and producer Santaolalla. "What we do is neither tango nor electronica. We believe we do music of the Río de la Plata, and if you want to create a music that represents what places like Buenos Aires and Montevideo sound like, obviously genres such as tango, murga, milonga, and candombe are going to be present, because they are part of the genetic-musical map of that part of the world. But the 40-year history of Argentine and Uruguayan rock, and the 30-year plus history of hip hop and electronica in those places are also part of the map."
Tango Club (2002), which featured a long list of guest artists such as Academy Award-winner Jorge Drexler, Adriana Varela, Cristóbal Repetto, Adrián Iaies, Didi Gutman, and Pablo Mainetti, among others, quickly caused a stir in Argentina (where the 300,000 + sales reached Triple Platinum). It won Argentina's prestigious Premio Gardel (named after tango's greatest singer) as "Best Electronica Album" and a Latin Grammy for "Best Instrumental Pop Album."
Reflecting the idea of Bajofondo as a collective under which the members also develop their own works, in 2004 Luciano Supervielle - the youngest member - released the first of two Premio Gardel-winning solo albums, both produced by Santaolalla and Juan Campodónico.
Bajofondo Remixed(2005), featuring remixes of songs featured in the albums Tango Club and Supervielle by European, Uruguayan, Mexican, and Argentine DJs, also won the Premio Gardel as
"Best Electronica Album."
As tours went by, what began as a combination of programming and samplings with acoustic and electric instruments - with emphasis on the first - has evolved into a band in which everything is practically played live, with only a minimal percentage of sequences, as shown in Mar Dulce, the first Bajofondo album using a live drummer (Adrián Sosa, now a permanent member). At the present time, Bajofondo is an eight-piece band, with seven musicians and one VJ who triggers images in real time along with the music.
The success of Mar Dulce surprised no one, and the band kept touring the world in increasingly ambitious settings: in an unforgettable night of May 2010, Bajofondo performed at a sold-out Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles with the Orchestra of the Americas conducted by Alondra de la Parra. And, as further proof of Bajofondo breaking national barriers and transcending not only the so-called "electrotango," but music itself, the Russian gymnastics team used Mar Dulce's "Pulmón," "Infiltrado," and "Grand Guignol" in their routine at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
In the last 11 years, Bajofondo has toured all over the world non-stop, performing at the biggest and most diverse World, rock, and electronica music festivals in the world: Coachella in USA, Roskilde in Denmark, Womad in England, Cactus Festival in Belgium, Pirineos Sur Festival in Spain, Pohoda in Slovakia, World Music Festival in South Korea, as well as China, Japan, and 15 countries in the European Union. The band has toured the United States twice, playing venues like UCLA's Royce Hall in Los Angeles and Lincoln Center in NY. Through the years, Bajofondo appeared multiple times in London, including packed shows at the prestigious Barbican Center and the legendary Roundhouse. In May 2009, Bajofondo opened the Argentine Bicentennial festivities at the Obelisco in Buenos Aires in front of 200,000 people (yes, you read well: 200,000). In the same year, their hit "Pa' bailar" was used as theme song of a top-rated Brazilian soap opera, A Favorita (TV Globo), and in January 2010 the same song became the music for the Acura TV commercial shown during Super Bowl Sunday.
The new album marks a new beginning for a well-oiled machine as relevant as ever.
"Presente is our most complete album yet," says Santaolalla. "It's a sonic trip that takes you from the most magical to the most epic urban moments."
Gustavo Santaolalla: guitar, percussion, vocals, backup vocals.
Juan Campodónico: programming, beats, samples, guitar.
Luciano Supervielle: piano, keyboards, scratches.
Javier Casalla: violin.
Martín Ferrés: bandoneón.
Gabriel Casacuberta: upright bass,
Adrián Sosa: drums.
Verónica Loza: VJ, vocals.
Long before the first of his 14 Grammys, and decades before wining the first of two Oscars, Gustavo Santaolalla was well established as one of the main creative forces in the early Argentine rock nacional movement of the'60s. "Visionary" is the word that better synthesizes his many facets: Singer, composer, producer, guitarist, charango and ronroco player, talent scout, entrepreneur… His entire career is all about finding an identity, a search he began at age 16 years with the band Arco Iris, a pioneer in the fusion of Latin American folk and rock. He followed Arco Iris with Soluna (which featured a then-unknown Alejandro Lerner), and after moving to the United States in the late '70s, he formed the band Wet Picnic and began a solo career that includes three albums: the influential Santaolalla in 1982, the rare gem G.A.S. in 1995, and finally Ronroco (1998), an entirely instrumental album played on charango.
As a producer, his career started with León Gieco's eponymous 1973 debut, continued in the '80s with iconic albums by G.I.T. and Mexico's Maldita Vecindad, and exploded in the 90s with Maldita Vecindad's masterpiece El Circo (1991), their fellow countrymen Molotov (their 1997 debut sold over 2 million copies worldwide), Argentina's Divididos (La era de la boludez), and the first in a long list of classic recordings he produced for a new Mexican group that would change the rules of the game for rock en español: Café Tacuba.
An incomplete list of his production credits includes the names of Bersuit, La Vela Puerca, Julieta Venegas, Jaime Torres, De La Guarda, Árbol, El Otro Yo, Juana Molina, Orozco-Barrientos, Gustavo Galindo, Kronos Quartet, Antonio Carmona, and rock-pop superstar Juanes. With Café de los Maestros (2005), the double album that brought together the most significant living legends of tango, Gustavo won two of his 14 Grammy awards.
The inclusion of one of the songs from Ronroco in the soundtrack of The Insider (Michael Mann, 1999), was the first step in his career as composer of soundtracks, working on films of some of today's most important directors, such as Ang Lee, Alejandro González Iñárritu, and Walter Salles. Santaolalla was brilliant on iconic movies such as Amores Perros, 21 Grams, The Motorcycle Diaries, Tierra Fría, Brokeback Mountain and Babel; with these movies he won two BAFTAs, a Golden Globe, and two Oscars in a row (Best Original Song for Brokeback Mountain and Best Original Score for Babel). In December 2012, the Walter Salles film On the Road, based on Jack Kerouac's classic, was released featuring a score by Santaolalla.
Starting in 2002, Santaolalla combined his talents as producer, performer, and composer for Bajofondo, which has released six albums that won a Latin Grammy and two Premios Gardel.
Among the numerous awards and distinctions received by Gustavo: Premio Gardel, Konex de Platino, Personalidad del Año (CAPIF), two Grammy awards and 12 Latin Grammy awards. In 2013, Santaolalla will be working on the score for the Broadway version of Pan's Labyrinth, directed by Guillermo Del Toro.
Juan Campodónico has been working since the mid '90s with one foot on global contemporary music and the other on music from the Río de la Plata.
Born in Uruguay in 1971, he spent his first years in Mexico after his parents were forced to exile when the military took over in 1973. Soon after returning with his family to Uruguay in 1984, Juan joined several rock and pop bands and, as soon as he had access to a personal computer, he wholeheartedly immersed himself into the electronica music world.
In the mid-'90s, along with musicians such as Carlos Casacuberta and Fernando Santullo, he created the band Peyote Asesino, the first band in Uruguay to fuse hip-hop with contemporary rock. Furthermore, Peyote's music began to show a uniquely Uruguayan aspect in their music. The band was a big, influential success in Uruguay, and grabbed the attention of Gustavo Santaolalla, who produced the band's second album in Los Angeles, Terraja, giving them international exposure. Peyote Asesino disbanded at the exact moment they seemed to be ready to achieve massive success, but Santaolalla and Campodónico continued working together. Once Santaolalla had the concept for Bajofondo very clear in his head, he knew Campodónico would be the perfect partner. During 12 months, the band got together in Buenos Aires, Montevideo, and Los Angeles to create this new and adventurous project.
In turn, Juan continued producing, working with several bands in Uruguay. In 1999, Jorge Drexler, a Uruguayan songwriter living in Spain, called Campodónico and Carlos Casacuberta to produce his third record for Virgin/EMI in Spain, Frontera. The album, with its blend of electronica, folk, and Río de la Plata rhythms established a before-and-after in Drexler's career; it had big commercial success in Spain, and it also generated the onset of Drexler's massive acceptance within the Argentine market. His next production for Jorge Drexler, Sea (2001), was nominated for a Latin Grammy as Best Pop Album.
His song "Mi Corazón," included in Bajofondo Tango Club, has been heard all over the world in Samsung commercials and also on HBO series. "Montserrat" was used by Macy's, and "Los Tangueros" reached number two on the Club Play list on the Dance Chart in Billboard magazine in the United States.
The most recent productions of Juan include the last two albums of Jorge Drexler, Eco and 12 segundos de oscuridad , and the last four of Cuarteto de Nos: Cuarteto De Nos, Raro, Bipolar (winner of seven Premios Graffiti in Uruguay), and Porfiado (2012 Latin Grammy winner as Best Rock Album and Best Rock Song). Juan also produced La Vela Puerca's El impulso and has done remixes for Tom Jones, Badfellas, the soundtrack of the movie Shrek II.
All along Juan has been developing his profile as a DJ under the pseudonym Campo, and his first solo album (Campo) earned a Latin Grammy nomination as Best Alternative Song ("1987," with vocals by Jorge Drexler).
Luciano Supervielle was born in France, lived in Mexico, and now spends time in Spain, France, and Uruguay, but he has an undeniable Río de la Plata edge: hip hop, tango, rock, Uruguayan music, mastery on the keyboards and turntables, and superb songwriting and arranging skills.
His professional career started in Uruguay with the hip-hop group Plátano Macho in the mid-'90s, and later he became a member of Jorge Drexler's band, playing keyboards, scratching, and arranging. He recorded on four of Drexler's albums and is featured on the DVD documenting the presentation of Eco at the
Teatro Solís in Montevideo.
His solo debut Bajofondo presenta Supervielle (2004), produced by Santaolalla-Campodónico, won Argentina's Premio Gardel as "Best Electronica Album," and his first DVD, Supervielle en el Solís,featured Santaolalla, Lágrima Ríos, Fernando Cabrera, Daniel Melingo, Cristóbal Repetto, Juan Campodónico, and Contra las Cuerdas, among others. His follow-up recording, Rêverie, also won a Premio Gardel in 2012, this time as Best Rock-Alternative Album.
Javier Casalla has become one of the most exquisite violinists in the last decade, an inspired musician sought after by artists of many different styles for his unequaled touch on stage and in the studio. Rock, tango, folklore, jazz, classical - his good taste (be it as a soloist, arranger, orchestra member, or as part of a string section) knows no style limitations.
Besides being the violinist in Bajofondo, Javier participates in the Cristóbal Repetto and Luciano Supervielle bands, having had a masterful participation in their albums, and in Café de los Maestros, the project that brought together the
greatest living tango legends.
In 2006, he released his first solo album, Javier Casalla, produced by Gustavo Santaolalla, in which he pays tribute to the role violin plays in tango, overdubbing his instrument until achieving the sound of
a tango sextet.
Javier comes from an illustrious musical family: his father, Eduardo, is one of the most recognized drummers in Argentina. In 1983 Javier began studying the violin with Boris Chumachenco and Ljerko Spiller as main teachers. He was hired for the first violin section of the Orquesta Filarmónica de Buenos Aires and in 1992 he won the audition for the sixth chair first violin in the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional, a position he maintained until 1998.
At the same time, he developed a very busy schedule in the popular music world, playing live and recording with a great number of tango, rock, and folklore artists.
He also participated in the soundtracks of numerous movies, such as Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Tango, "Motorcycle Diaries," and others. Some of the many artists he has collaborated with include, in rock, Gustavo Santaolalla, Bersuit, Divididos, Charly García, La Renga, Los Piojos, Los Pericos, Gustavo Cerati, David Lebón, Babasónicos, Demonios de Tasmania, Deep Purple, Julieta Venegas, Celeste Carballo, and Juana Molina; in folklore, Jaime Torres; in jazz, Lalo Schiffrin; in ballet, Julio Bocca; in tango, Daniel Melingo, Sexteto Baffa-De Lío, Quinteto José Colangelo, and toured Japan with the legendary tango orchestras of Francisco Canaro and Juan D'Arienzo.
Martín Ferrés is perhaps the most visible symbol of the young generation of Argentines who embrace the complex bandoneón, the symbol of tango,and take it to new levels while strengthening its essence.One of the few bandoneón players at the crossroads between traditional and experimental vanguard music, he's influenced by minimalism, dance music, tango and New Tango classics (in particular Astor Piazzolla). Martín distinguishes himself for his uniquely eclectic style on the bandoneón, a rare mix of
raw power and poetic subtlety.
His theater and dance compositions have been performed on the main stages in Argentina, including the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. A recipient of the Fondo Nacional de las Artes scholarship, he has accompanied many well-known tango and experimental music artists.
Gabriel Casacuberta began in Mexico in 1982 as a session musician, working live and in the studio with many famous Uruguayan artists. Back in Uruguay, he played in several local rock, jazz, and hip hop bands, among them Plátano Macho, where he met Luciano Supervielle.
His remixes were featured in Bajofondo Remixed and his bass was featured in Supervielle's Rêverie, 2012 winner of a Premio Gardel as Best
He produced the eponymous debut of Lucía González and rock band Tráfico (Uruguay), and is producing his brother
Carlos' sophomore effort.
He contributed to the score for Mark Street's Hasta nunca and recorded with Franny Glass for the movie El rincón de Darwin (Dir. Diego Fernández) as well as the Mozart-themed feature Las flores de mi familia (dir. Juan Ignacio Fernández Hoppe).
After recording all the drums on Mar Dulce, Adrián Sosa joined Bajofondo as a steady member of the band. He began his musical career in Buenos Aires at the age of 13 as a drummer with various bands, later venturing into the fields of composition and production heading various projects. With one of them, B-Cool, he was among the winners in the field of music in the Bienal de Arte Joven in Buenos Aires, in 1994. In 1997 he moved to Los Angeles, where he played the club circuit with bands such as Staff, Lure, and P-Tones. Around that time he met Gustavo Santaolalla (whom he idolized as a child) and the rest is history. He produced artists such as Flor in Argentina and Liquits in Mexico, and won the Premio Gardel for the artistic direction of the Bajofondo Remixed album and, with his own project Cahuenga, he released one EP in Mexico in 2006. In 2010 he co-wrote two songs in Luna Nueva, the debut of Costa Rican singer Debi Nova. In 2011 he toured as the drummer for Mexico's singer-songwriter Ximena Sariñana, performing with her at Lollapalooza and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and, in the same year, Entre la ciudad y el mar (the album he and Santaolalla co-produced for singer-songwriter Gustavo Galindo) earned a Grammy nomination as Best Latin Pop, Rock, or Urban Album. Sosa produced, co-wrote, and played drums in El piloto ciego, the debut solo album by Abril (former drummer of Catupecu Machu and Cuentos Borgeanos, two key rock bands from Argentina), and wrote the score for Juan Pablo Cadaveira's documentary on Argentine superstar boxer Sergio "Maravilla" Martínez, middleweight champion of the world. The movie is set to be released in 2013.
Verónica Loza is an artist who works at connecting staging with music. The digital image played in real time is one of the tools to connect these elements through the process of computer images, and she is also integral part of the concept of Campo, the band/album by Juan Campodónico.
During Bajofondo's shows we can see Verónica playing her keyboard and controller as one more musician. When playing visual fragments and mixing them live she translates the work the band has done redefining the context of tango into the visual realm. Plus, in Mar Dulce, Verónica sang her own composition, "Tuve sol."
Born in 1973 in Montevideo, she has been a lighting, staging, and costume designer since 1996, working with Uruguay top directors, actors, and set designers. Some of her many lighting designer projects included "La fuerza de la costumbre" (2003), "Cenizas"(2003), "Nous, les Héros" (2002), "El sueño y la vigilia" (2001), "Banderas en tu corazón" (2001), "Ayax" (2000), "Masculino Femenino" (local and international presentations 1997-1999).
She was commissioned by Didos S.A. to be in charge of the general design for a lighting exhibit of the latest generation of intelligent equipment for television, theatre, shows and building façades
(1999 Oceania Hotel).
She toured with Jorge Drexler (Sea world tour, 2001-2003) and Peyote Asesino (both in Uruguay and overseas, 1996-1999), among others.
Bajofondo performing 'Segundos Afuera' KCRW at SXSW
Sony Masterworks announces the release of Presente, the new album by Latin Grammy-winning band Bajofondo. The album's title refers to what the band is at the present moment: a stirring mix of tango, milonga, folklore, rock, hip-hop, electronica, jazz, classical, and a world of sounds from the Río de la Plata, the river that separates and unites Argentina and Uruguay. One of the most acclaimed live acts in the world, Bajofondo's Presente is also the biggest "present" (both in size and scope) the band has delivered to diehard fans and new converts: an epic 21-track high energy tour de force that blends a multitude of traditionally dichotomous genres seamlessly.
31 New 'ON' 130 Total
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On his weekly show, Elevation Through Sound, Alejandro Cohen plays the obscure gems your ears have always craved but never come across. "Elevation through Sound" provides lucky listeners with a journey through the full sound spectrum.
Visionary Uruguayan musician Juan Campodonico, creator of projects like Bajofondo and Campo and producer of a long list of artists that marked new Latin American music, presents his new live set solo format. Juan brought his set blending original music com-posed and produced for his different music projects remixed for a unique performance combining software, synthesizers, vocals and guitar. His set is an innovative work in progress. In the rhythms, textures and melodies sounding in his live set you can feel the Afro in-fluence of the Uruguayan candombe drums, tango (Buenos Aires and Montevideo's chamber music) and cumbia in its most austral and rough version. At the same time the set is surrounded by traces of minimal techno and trap.
Alejandro Cohen is a musician and composer from Los Angeles, California. He has written and performed music as part of numerous projects and groups, including Languis, Pharaohs and Psychic Powers. He is also a composer of music for TV shows, documentaries, and educational materials. Ale is also the Executive Director of dublab.
LISTEN TO THE SEGMENT
The musical group Bajofondo, together with their original leader Gustavo Santaolalla, are scheduled to perform their first concert in Lima on April 19. Oscar winner Santaolalla will be performing with the original group of Bajofondo and presenting their latest album, "Presente" or "Present" at the Centro de Convenciones in Barranco, according to Andina news agency. "It is our most complete album. It is a sonic journey that takes us from the most magical city to the most epic moments," says Gustavo Santaolalla.
Ssntaolalla and Juan Campodónico founded the group Bajofondo nearly 10 years ago, and they consider this album to be one of the best so far. The album is one of their most original as the band's members played and sang in the production entirely on their own.
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Sony Masterworks announces the release of Presente, the new album by Latin Grammy-winning band Bajofondo. The album's title refers to what the band is at the present moment: a stirring mix of tango, milonga, folklore, rock, hip-hop, electronica, jazz, classical, and a world of sounds from the Rio de la Plata, the river that separates and unites Argentina and Uruguay. One of the most acclaimed live acts in the world, Bajofondo's Presente is also the biggest "present" (both in size and scope) the band has delivered to diehard fans and new converts: an epic 21-track high energy tour de force that blends a multitude of traditionally dichotomous genres seamlessly.