Archive for the ‘Jorge Drexler’ Category


As on October 1, NPR has started the Tiny Desk Playlist page.

As of today there are 9 Playlists on the page.  I’m not going to comment on them, as I’ve already posted about all of these shows (except CHAI as of now).  I might disagree with some of these lists, but whatever the case they are a good introduction to Tiny Desks if you haven’t already seen one.

5 Tiny Desk Concerts That Will Literally Make You Cry
• Julien Baker (read more)
• Yusuf/Cat Stevens (read more)
• Bernie and The Believers (read more)
• Rev. Sekou and The Seal Breakers (read more)
• Barbara Hannigan (read more)

The 5 Most Uplifting Tiny Desk Concerts
• Lizzo (read more)
• Superorganism (read more)
• Fragile Rock (read more)
• Dan Deacon (read more)
• Mucca Pazza (read more)

The 5 Wildest Tiny Desk Concerts
• Gogol Bordello (read more)
• Red Baraat (read more)
• The Cristina Pato Trio (read more)
• George Li (read more)
• Dirty Three (read more)

The Best-Sounding Tiny Desk Concerts, Vol. 1 [selected by “the guy mixing the performances and bopping his head along just off (and sometimes on) screen” Josh Rogosin].
• Monsieur Periné (read more)
• Andrew Bird (read more)
• Nick Hakim (read more)
• Tedeschi Trucks Band (read more)
• PJ Morton (read more)

The Best Of The Very Beginning Of Tiny Desk Concerts
• Laura Gibson (read more)
• Vic Chesnutt (read more)
• Tom Jones (read more)
• Thao Nguyen (read more)
• Dr. Dog (read more)

The 5 Best ‘Before They Were Stars’ Tiny Desk Concerts
• Brandi Carlile (read more)
• Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals (read more)
• Adele (read more)
• H.E.R. (read more)
• Mitski (read more)

Tiny Desk Trick Or Treat: Our 5 Favorite Concerts In Costume
• Neko Case’s Halloween Special (read more)
• Blue Man Group (read more)
• Mucca Pazza (read more)
• CHAI (read more)
• Preservation Hall Jazz Band (read more)

#ElTiny: The Best Latinx Tiny Desk Concerts, Vol. 1
• Natalia Lafourcade (read more)
• Jorge Drexler (read more)
• Juanes & Mon Laferte (read more)
• iLe (read more)
• Café Tacvba (read more)

Lianne La Havas’ 5 Favorite Tiny Desk Concerts
• Tank And The Bangas
• Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals
• Noname
• Tamino
• Mac Miller

[READ: October 28, 2019] “God’s Caravan”

This story opens with boys crouching in the dirt shooting marbles.  I assumed it was set in the 1950s, so I was surprised to see that the boy knew of Michael Jackson’s moonwalk.  But it is set in Memphis, Tennessee–“Soulsville the black part.”

Earl was kicking butt and winning marbles left and right when the boys heard an ice cream truck trundle up.  But this was no ice cream truck.  Rather it was a van and it was playing “I’ve come from Alabama with a banjo on my knee.”  On the side of the van, painted in “blood of Jesus” red were the words “God’s Caravan.”  The speakers then broadcast “When I say, ‘Ride or die’…you say ‘Amen.'”

The voice said “Ride or Die” and Earl and the other boys all shouted back “Amen.”

The door opened and there was the pastor, dressed in black judge’s robes.  He said he had sweets for their hearts. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: JORGE DREXLER-Tiny Desk Concert #730 (April 13, 2018).

Jorege Drexler’s music is utterly arresting.  He has a kind of a storytelling delivery but with fascinating instrumental accents.

“Movimeinto” opens with so much percussion–the guitarist scratching at the guitar with drummer brushes, the drummer (Borja Barrueta – from Bilbao) and percussionist (Carles “Campi” Campon, Electronic beats, acoustic guitar and from Barcelona and Matías Cella from Argentina) tapping along–the drummer is even tapping a resonator guitar with his sticks.  The drummer also has a vast array of other sounds to make including some little metal hands drums and a small hollow guitar body (no strings).

Drexler sing/speaks hies beautiful poem, he is playing some very simple but arresting chords.  When the song starts in earnest, there is excellent use of electric guitar accents (by Javier Zarember from Argentina) and a fascinating acoustic bass (by Martín Leiton from Barcelona on either leona or guitarrón).  Midway through, he to an electric bass which changes the dynamic quite a bit. By the end of the song everyone is playing everything.

So who is Jorge Drexler?  He is

is a poet with a gift for song. The Uruguayan singer-songwriter, like the iconic Latin American lyricists of the past (Mercedes Sosa, Victor Jara and Silvio Rodriguez, to name just a few), has that rare ability to surround multi-layered prose with music that lends an even deeper resonance to the words.

Drexler has his share of fans here in the U.S., mostly Latin American expats and others whose grasp of the language allows them to appreciate the nuances of his storytelling. But, as if often the case with music performed in languages other than English, audiences here sometimes miss out on an emotional connection with artists they would otherwise celebrate if they only knew what they were singing.

So, we decided to do something about that with Jorge Drexler’s appearance at the Tiny Desk. With the cooperation of the artist, we translated Drexler’s thoughtful and playful ruminations on the human condition, and included them as subtitles.

That’s right, this is the first Tiny Desk Concert with subtitles!

Those clever lyrics wouldn’t hit as hard if not for Drexler’s backing band of magicians. The mix of guitarists and percussionists conjured a stunning cloud of sound that allowed Drexler to take flight, like the existential dreamer that he is.

The first song has this cool lyric:

we are a species in transit we don’t have belongings we have baggage
what I dream of is more intimate than what I touch / I’m not from here, but neither are you

For “Silencio” Jorge switches to  electric guitar.  He says, “I must warn you that it contains actual seconds of silence in it.”  As he is saying this a phone rings. “That shouldn’t happen.”  “Don’t be afraid of silence.”  The song opens with a very cool seven rhythm that includes some silence.  And the pauses before he says “Silencio” are long…sometimes six seconds–far longer than most songs allow.   detente!    the drummer is using what looks like fluffy paint brushes on a piece of cardboard to really muffle the sound.  During the final silence he does bird calls awhile and the guitar then winds up playing a really loud solo which is a great counterpoint to the music so far.

There’s a beautiful sentiment:

I can’t find anything more valuable to give you / nothing more elegant than an instant…..of silence

“Asilo” means asylum but this song is not about refugees, it is about seeking one night outside the problems of reality.  He asks, “Can you sing in Spanish?” and they play  a slow bluesy number.

“Telefonia” beautiful chords in a song about means of communication.   It has a kind of smooth rock feel, but with a nifty Latin twist especially when the backing singers all sing along in Spanish.

I found this lyric surprising probably because I associate this kind of music with older songs.  Even though it makes perfect sense as a modern song

Long live the phone system in all its variations / I thought you might be ghosting on me until I saw your name on the caller id.

I really enjoyed this set a lot.

[READ: January 30, 2018] “An Accidental Place”

This is an excerpt from The Sly Company of People Who Care.

The narrator has moved to Guyana and had to make fiends.  The first one was Mr. Bhombal who was, like the narrator, an Indian national.  He wore polyester trousers and his watch was palmside up.  He had the appearance that one was always on the verge of making a huge mistake

But this is an excerpt and the bulk of the excerpt does not have to do with Mr Bhombal (funny as his introduction was). (more…)

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