I had the opportunity last summer to enjoy a concert here in Chicago by the Uruguayan singer-songwriter Jorge Drexler. You can read about that here if you like. The show was in an intimate venue and, for the most part, Drexler performed solo. I suspect that decision was based as much on economic factors as artistic. Taking a band on the road is expensive, and it seems that the middle-aged Drexler has no deep seated drive to conquer the North American market. His infrequent tours in the U.S. are, I think, designed to reward his loyal fans who, sadly, are not vast in number in this part of the world.
I'm hoping that all changes with the promotion of his new album, Bailar en la Cueva. It was recorded in Bogatá with members of Bomba Estéreo, who are a hot band of youngsters that do tour here frequently. I reviewed the album for Agúzate, and in the course of my research learned of a concert in Buenos Aires where the reviewer was surprised and delighted by the liveliness and sheer dancability of the show, which featured a full seven member band, including a horn section.
So, here's my selfish request: After reading this review, go immediately to iTunes or wherever you get your music and purchase the album. Then tell all your friends to do the same. Perhaps if Drexler's record company sees all the activity, they'll invest the money to bring that whole band to Chicago.
That's not asking too much, is it?
An excerpt of the Agúzate review is below. You can read the rest by clicking here.
... With his new recording, Bailar en la Cueva, Drexler took an entirely new approach. If you are surmising from the title that this is a danceable album, you would be correct. Drexler lives in Spain, but when it came time to record he would often return to Montevideo and producer Juan Campodónico of Bajofondo. This time around, he decamped to Bogotá, which seems to be turning into the center of the rhythmic universe. He worked with Mario Galeano of Frente Cumbiero and Ondatrópica to record the basic tracks and invited guests like Ana Tijoux (who has been spending a lot of time in Colombia herself) and Bomba Estéreo to contribute. He took these tracks back to Madrid and his production team, who built the songs and arrangements from there. The result is a danceable collection of songs that retain the lyrical potency we’ve come to expect.
... “Universos paralelos” is the album’s centerpiece for two reasons. First, it was released several weeks before the rest of the album, and thus has had lots of time to insinuate its way into my consciousness. I just checked my iPod – I’ve played it 27 times in the last 2 months. Yes, it’s that good. Lyrically, it’s a wistful observation of love lost, and it features a verse by Ana Tijoux about 2 ½ minutes in that tells, well, the other side of the story. It’s one of those moments when, like on a hip-hop record, the 12 bars from the guest rapper takes a good song and thoroughly elevates it to another level.