Even though Bajofondo has been a pioneer in what has been known all over the world as “electronica tango”, the group doesn’t consider that this definition is appropriate for their music. It’s been already five years since Gustavo Santaolalla conceived this project along with Juan Campodónico, with the idea of bringing together a collective of Argentine and Uruguayan artists dedicated to creating “contemporary music of the Rio de la Plata". The project, which appeared under the name Bajofondo Tango Club, initially was an alliance of producers, musicians and singers that took shape in the recording studio, and the release of their first album was the culmination of this process. With the passage of time and the multiple tours, this collective of artists with remarkable individual careers evolved becoming a true band, whose live performances are an amazing sensation all over the world. And as Bajofondo’s music grows, evolves and expands, the denomination of “electronica tango” becomes more and more inadequate.
Gustavo Santaolalla has a very concrete explanation for this: "We don’t like the label of “electronica tango”, because we don’t consider what we do to be either tango or electronica. We believe we do music of the Rio de la Plata, and if you want to create a music that represents today’s sound of places like Buenos Aires and Montevideo –at least in our view- 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 years history of Argentine and Uruguayan rock, hip hop and electronica also are part of that map and the history of that place.”
Their first work, Bajofondo Tango Club, was also the first release of VIBRA, a division of SURCO dedicated to researching electronica and its crossings with the various sources of Latin American music. The album, released in November 2002, features a very long list of guest artists and it’s worth mentioning the participation of Jorge Drexler, Adriana Varela, Cristóbal Repetto, Adrián Iaies, Didi Gutman and Pablo Mainetti, among others. Bajofondo Tango Club quickly caused a stir in Argentina and all over the world because of the originality of its proposition; the songs could be heard in clubs as well as dance parties. This work won the prestigious Premio Gardel as the "Best Electronica Music Album" in Argentina –where the sales reached Triple Platinum- and won a Latin Grammy award as the "Best Instrumental Pop Album". The album has sold more than 300,000 copies all over the world. After selling out at the Teatro Oriente (Chile), Teatro Ateneo (Argentina) and Sala Zitarrosa (Uruguay), the collective was invited to participate in the Pirineos Sur (España), Creamfields (Argentina) and Mostra Sesc (Brazil) festivals.
Reflecting the idea of Bajofondo as a collective under which the members also develop their own works, in 2004 Luciano Supervielle –the youngest member of the band- released his solo album, Supervielle, presented by Bajofondo Tango Club and produced by Gustavo Santaolalla and Juan Campodónico. Besides the "regular members" of Bajofondo, Lágrima Ríos, Fernando Cabrera, Adriana Varela, Daniel Melingo, Cristóbal Repetto and rappers Contra Las Cuerdas, participate in the album, among others. Their versions of "No Quiero Otro" (by Piazzolla-Ferrer) and "Mateo y Cabrera", which utilizes a sample of the legendary Uruguayan composer and singer Eduardo Mateo, pay tribute to some of their main influences on both sides of the Rio de la Plata. Supervielle won another Premio Gardel as the "Best Electronica Music Album”. The unforgettable presentation of the album at the Teatro Solís in Montevideo was released in 2006 in the DVD Bajofondo Tango Club presenta: Supervielle en el Solís, under the direction of Pablo Casacuberta, and it documents this one in a lifetime event with astonishing quality of image and sound.
Bajofondo Remixed was released in 2005. It was comprised of remixes of songs featured in the albums Bajofondo Tango Club and Supervielle, done by European, Uruguayan and Argentine DJs in Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Cordoba, Paris and New York. The album includes remixes by Alexkid, Romina Cohn, Marcello Castelli, Capri, Lalann, Bad Boy Orange, Mercurio, OMAR, Boris Dlugosh, Twin, Calvi & Neil, Androoval, Nortec and Zuker, to mention a few. Bajofondo Remixed won the Premio Gardel as the "Best Electronica Music Album", in addition to the awards received earlier by Bajofondo Tango Club and Supervielle.
During the last five years, Bajofondo has toured all over the world non-stop, performing at the biggest World and Electronica Music festivals in the world such as Roskilde in Denmark, Womad in England, Cactus Festival in Belgium, Pirineos Sur Festival in Spain, Pohoda in Slovaquia, as well as 15 countries in the European Union. The band has toured the United States twice, culminating its 2006 tour at the prestigious Lincoln Center in NY. In 2007, Bajofondo appeared in London (at the legendary Barbican Center), Brussels, Amsterdam and Rio de Janeiro.
As tours went by and with the corresponding strengthening of Bajofondo, what began as a combination of programmings and samplings with acoustic and electric instruments – with some emphasis on the first – has evolved into a band in which everything is practically played live, with only a minimal percentage of sequences and programming. At the present time, Bajofondo is an eight member band, with seven musicians and a VJ who triggers images in real time along with the music.
As a result of the band’s musical expansion, Bajofondo also started integrating elements of Latin American folkloric music in its performances, so when it came time to tackle their new album, they decided to do away with "Tango Club" to shorten their name simply to Bajofondo. The change in the name, more inclusive and with an immediate impact, mirrors the path Bajofondo’s music has followed.
Their latest album, Mar Dulce, released in September 2007, was recorded in real time, with all the members playing together in the studio as if they were a rock or a jazz group, a radically different approach than the one used on the first album. The album mirrors the mutation undergone by the band, in which today 20% is programmed and 80% is played live. In this occasion even the strings were played by a string section conducted by Alejandro Teran, in a tango orchestra fashion, including four violins, two violas and one cello.
Mar Dulce represents a new qualitative jump in Bajofondo’s evolution. The album was recorded in Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo and Madrid, and the multiplicity of locations reflects the cosmopolitan attraction of Bajofondo, as well as the eclectic list of guest artists: it includes the extraordinary British singer and composer Elvis Costello, Spanish rapper Mala Rodríguez, Canadian singer of Portuguese origin Nelly Furtado, virtuoso Japanese bandoneon player Ryota Komatsu and several Rio de la Plata artists whose origins cover the entire gamut from traditional to vanguard. Uruguayan artists participating range from the great Lágrima Ríos (this would be her last recording) and guitarist Toto Méndez (who was the musical director of Alfredo Zitarrosa’s quartet) to electronica duo OMAR and vocalist Fernando Santullo, ex-Peyote Asesino, a band that also included Juan Campodónico. Argentine artists include Gustavo Cerati, who in the 80’s was the frontman for Soda Stereo, the most popular rock group in Latin America, today a successful solo singer and Juan Subirá, keyboardist and composer of Bersuit, one of the most popular bands in Argentine rock, who on Mar Dulce makes a surprising appearance as a singer, revealing another facet of his talents.
Nevertheless, there’s something that unifies artists of such a variety of origins, nationalities and generations, and it’s a feeling that is very difficult to translate into words. If there was someone who defined tango as "a sad feeling one dances to", in the case of Bajofondo’s music we could expand the definition to "a feeling one may listen and dance to ". It’s something intangible, a certain melancholy that has something to do with existential issues and also with the cities’ old traditional barrios, what Santaolalla likes to call "cosmic tango". And we can find this feeling both in Elvis Costello and in Mala Rodríguez.
Even though for anyone listening to Bajofondo Tango Club and Mar Dulce the changes are evident, there’s also a Bajofondo aesthetic that remains a constant. There are no written laws for the music of this band, which evolves continually, but there are certain parameters that were present in the first album, were continued in Supervielle and also are present now in Mar Dulce.
As with any genre that comes into fashion, the so called "electronica tango” developed its own clichés, and that is precisely what Bajofondo tries to avoid no matter what. To the contrary, Santaolalla, Campodónico, and the entire band, are continuously trying to find and hone a language, working arduously in the selection of beats and bass lines, elements that have been present since the first album. Even though it’s a language in constant evolution to which they keep adding new ingredients, there is an aesthetic and a personal search that is present from the onset.
It becomes evident that what they like to call "bajofondista school" reached new heights in Mar Dulce (2008), in which those aesthetical parameters were more profound, due to the group’s new dynamics and the creative interaction of its members, creating new jewels such as "Pa’ Bailar" (where the tango and rock beats intersect in an irresistible danceable communion), "Fairly Right" (a happy meeting of the melancholy found in tango and the Beatle’s musicality, with the voice of Elvis Costello) and "Don Alfredo" (in which Bajofondo gets into the Uruguayan milonga, paying tribute to Alfredo Zitarrosa with the participation of Toto Méndez, who was his guitarist), among other songs bound to become new classics in their repertoire.
In 2009, Bajofondo’s 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. In May of that year the band performed at a sold-out Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles with the Orquestra of the Americas conducted by Alondra de la Parra.
But 2012 marks another turning point in Bajofondo’s growth — after signing with Sony Masterworks, the new Bajofondo album will be released in early 2013.
Bajofondo is comprised of:
Gustavo Santaolalla: guitar, percussion, vocals, backup vocals.
Juan Campodónico: programming, beats, samples, guitar.
Luciano Supervielle: piano, keyboards, scratch.
Javier Casalla: violin.
Martín Ferrés: bandoneon.
Gabriel Casacuberta: upright bass, electric bass.
Adrián Sosa: drums.
Verónica Loza: VJ, vocals.
GUSTAVO SANTAOLALLA -
Probably, the word that better synthesizes the multiple areas where Gustavo Santaolalla sets forth his work, is "visionary": Singer, composer, producer, guitarist, player of charango and ronroco, discoverer of talent, director of a record label and a publishing company. His vision, firmly connected with seeking an identity, covers his entire search, since his beginnings at 16 years of age with the band Arco Iris, which later on would become a pioneer in the fusion of Latin American folklore and rock. As a performer, after Arco Iris he joined Soluna, and after moving to the United States in the late 70’s, he formed the band Wet Picnic, then began a solo career that includes three albums, among them Ronroco, a record of entirely instrumental music played on charango. Starting in 2002, Santaolalla combined his talents as producer, performer and composer in the collective Bajofondo (in its beginnings Bajofondo Tango Club), with which he has completed four albums.
As a producer, his career started with Leon Gieco’s first record in 1973, continued in the 80’s with iconic albums by G.I.T. and Divididos (La era de la Boludez), and at the end of that decade, with Mexican bands such as Maldita Vecindad and Café Tacuba, with these bands he set the pace for the movement known as "rock en español". In 1997, along with his partner Aníbal Kerpel, he established his own record label, SURCO, whose first release was the Mexican band Molotov, an international success selling around 2,000,000 copies. An incomplete list of his productions includes the names of Bersuit, La Vela Puerca, Julieta Venegas, Jaime Torres, De La Guarda, Arbol, El Otro Yo, Juana Molina, Orozco-Barrientos, Kronos Quartet, Antonio Carmona and Juanes. With Café de los Maestros, the double album that brings together the most significant living legends of tango, Gustavo has won two 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", "Motorcycle Diaries", "Tierra Fría", "Brokeback Mountain" and "Babel"; with these movies he has won numerous awards, among them the BAFTA and the Golden Globe, winning two Oscars in a row from Hollywood’s Academy, for "Brokeback Mountain" and "Babel".
Among the numerous awards and distinctions received by Gustavo, besides the ones listed above, we can mention the Premio Gardel, the Konex de Platino, Personalidad del Año (CAPIF), and multiple Grammy awards in various categories.
Juan Campodónico has been working since the mid 90’s with one foot on global contemporary music and the other one on music from the Rio de la Plata.
Campodónico was born in 1971 in Uruguay, but spent his infant years in Mexico, because his parents lived in exile after the dictatorial government took power in their country. In 1984, he went back with his family to Montevideo. Once there he was a member of various rock & pop bands, and as soon as he had access to a personal computer he dove wholeheartedly into the electronica music world.
In the mid nineties, 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 musical proposition. The band was very well received in Uruguay, strongly influencing many groups and grabbed the attention of Gustavo Santaolalla, who produced the band’s second album in Los Angeles, Terraja, giving the band 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 Tango Club very clear in his head, he knew Campodónico would be the perfect partner. During twelve months, the band got together in Buenos Aires, Montevideo and Los Angeles to create this new and venturesome project.
In turn, Juan continued producing, working with several bands in Uruguay. In 1999, Jorge Drexler, an Uruguayan songwriter living in Spain, called Campodónico and Carlos Casacuberta (another ex-Peyote) to produce his third record for Virgin/EMI in Spain, called Frontera. The album, with its blend of electronica, folk and Rio 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. This record was a springboard in Juan’s career as an artistic producer, which is characterized by his solid musical and technical background, but with a flexibility without preestablished formulas, that allows him to work equally with a pop group, a songwriter or doing remixes, always contributing a personal aspect without taking away from each artist’s original proposition. His next production for Jorge Drexler, Sea, received a nomination for a Latin Grammy as the Best Pop Album. The song "Mi Corazón", included in Bajofondo Tango Club, has been heard all over the world in Samsung commercials and also on a HBO series. "Montserrat" was used by Macy's. The song "Los Tangueros", of the same album, reached number 2 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 of Cuarteto de Nos, Cuarteto De Nos and Raro, the latter winner of 7 Premios Graffiti during their last edition in Uruguay, in which Campodónico received “Producer of the Year award for his works with Drexler and the Cuarteto. Juan also produced the latest album of La Vela Puerca, El Impulso. He has done remixes for Tom Jones, Badfellas, and has produced for the soundtrack of the movie Shrek II.
All along Juan has been developing his profile as a DJ under the pseudonym Campo. His critically acclaimed self-titled debut was released in 2011.
Luciano Supervielle was born in France, lived in Mexico and now spends time in Argentina, France and Uruguay, but he has undeniably a Rio de la Plata influence, developing a synthesis of his cultural influences of hip hop, tango, rock and Uruguayan music, with a style that blends his mastery of the keyboards and turntables, plus his arranging skills. Supervielle has produced a personal concept fusing his musical roots and translating them into a universal language, accessible, with a different reading of the tango, the milonga and the candombe, the classic sounds of the Río de la Plata.
His professional career started in Uruguay with the hip-hop group Plátano Macho. Later, he became a member of the band of Uruguayan songwriter living in Spain, Jorge Drexler, playing keyboards, scratching and arrangements. He participated in Drexler’s four albums, Frontera, Sea, Eco and 12 Segundos de Oscuridad, as well as the DVD documenting the presentation of Eco at the Teatro Solís in Montevideo. He also collaborated writing arrangements for artists like La Vela Puerca y El Cuarteto de Nos among others. Supervielle is the youngest member of Bajofondo, in which he found the ideal platform to expand his creativity and to solidify his musical identity. Bajofondo presenta Supervielle, his first solo album, produced by the twosome Santaolalla-Campodónico, was released in South America, Europe and the United States. In Argentina, it won the Premio Gardel as the “Best Electronica Music Album”. His first DVD, Supervielle en el Solís, featured the participation of Gustavo Santaolalla, Lágrima Ríos, Fernando Cabrera, Daniel Melingo, Cristóbal Repetto, Juan Campodónico and Contra las Cuerdas, among others. Rêverie, his acclaimed sophomore album, was released in 2011. He has also produced music for movies like Artigas: La Redota, 12 horas 2 minutos and "El Baño del Papa" (in collaboration with Gabriel Casacuberta) that was featured in Canne's Festival. www.lucianosupervielle.net
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 contribution and his unequaled touch on stage and in the studio. Rock, tango, folklore, jazz or classical music, his good taste and musicality don’t know any style limitations, be it as a soloist, arranger, orchestra member or as part of a string section. 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 most significant 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 sextet.
Javier Casalla comes from an essentially musical family; his father, Eduardo, is one of the most recognized drummers in Argentina. In 1983 he began studying the violin with Boris Chumachenco and Ljerko Spiller as his main teachers. He was hired for the first violin section of the Orquesta Filarmónica de Buenos Aires. 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", "Sol De Otoño", "Cohen vs. Rossi", "Herencia" and "Motorcycle Diaries". Among the many artists he has collaborated with we can mention, 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 music Julio Bocca; in tango Daniel Melingo, Sexteto Baffa-De Lío, Quinteto José Colangelo and the orchestras of Francisco Canaro and Juan D’Arienzo; he also toured Japan with these two orchestras.
He is one of the few bandoneon players who finds himself at the crossroads of the traditional and the experimental vanguard music. He is influenced by minimalism and the new directions in music as well as tango classics (in particular Astor Piazzolla). Martín distinguishes himself for his unique style on the bandoneon and for having always been connected to hypnotic and dance music.
He composes music for Theatre and Dance. His compositions have been performed on the main stages in Argentina, including the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires.
He has accompanied many well-known tango and experimental music artists. He has a scholarship from the Fondo Nacional de las Artes.
He 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, along with Luciano Supervielle. Since then he has been producing songs and remixes for Uruguayan bands, as well as working on his own electronica music projects.
Gabriel participated in the last two albums of songwriter Jorge Drexler, Eco and 12 Segundos de Oscuridad.
He has also produced music for movies and television.
As the drummer of the world’s ultimate tango/electronica collective, Adrián Sosa is the beat of Bajofondo. And it all happened in the most natural of ways.
After the award-winning, critically acclaimed Bajofondo Tango Club (2002) and its follow up, Bajofondo presents... Supervielle (2005), both of which used digital drums, during the recording sessions for Mar Dulce (2007) two-time Academy Award-winning producer and composer Gustavo Santaolalla decided to try a couple of live drum songs, and asked Adrián, his right-hand man and creative partner at the Surco label, to sit in. Sparks flew and, instead of two, 16 tracks were recorded in two days and the rest is history: Bajofondo became a full-fledged band, and Sosa became the full-time drummer, both live and in the studio.
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.
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 the new album, Mar Dulce, Verónica writes and sings one of the songs, "Tuve Sol".
Verónica was born in 1973 in Montevideo. She has been a lighting, staging and costume designer since 1996.
Some of her many lighting designer projects include "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).
Music: Bajofondo Tango Club (shows and international tours 2003 until today); Jorge Drexler (CD Sea, shows and international tours 2001-2003); Peyote Asesino (shows and international tours 1996-1999), among others.