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Even though BAJOFONDO has been a pioneer in what has become known all over the world as “electronica tango,” the group doesn’t consider this definition appropriate for their music. It’s been 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, was initially an alliance of producers, musicians, and singers that took shape in the recording studio. The release of their first album was the culmination of this process. With the passage of time and multiple tours, this collective of artists – who had remarkable individual careers – evolved, becoming a true band whose live performances are sensations all over the world.
As Bajofondo’s music grows, evolves, and expands, the denomination of “electronica tango” becomes more and more inadequate, as Gustavo Santolalla explains: “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-year 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, released in November 2002, features a long list of guest artists and quickly caused a stir in Argentina and all over the world; the songs could be heard in clubs as well as dance parties. It won the Premio Gardel for “Best Electronica Music Album” in Argentina – where the sales reached Triple-Platinum – and a Latin Grammy for “Best Instrumental Pop Album.”
During the last five years, Bajofondo has toured non-stop, performing at the biggest international world-music and electronica festivals, such as Roskilde in Denmark, Womad in England, Cactus Festival in Belgium, and Pirineos Sur Festival in Spain. The band has toured the United States twice, culminating its 2006 tour at Lincoln Center in New York. In 2007, Bajofondo appeared in London’s Barbican Center, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Rio de Janeiro.
As tours went by and the group evolved, what began as a combination of programming and sampling with acoustic and electric instruments – with some emphasis on the first – has evolved into a band in which almost everything is played live, with only a minimal percentage of sequences and programming.
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.
Mar Dulce, with a release planned for September, 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. Mar Dulce was recorded in real time, with all the members playing together in the studio, a radically different approach than the one used on the first album.
What the band likes to call “bajofondista school” reaches new heights in Mar Dulce, in which those aesthetical parameters are more profound, due to the group’s new dynamics and the creative interaction of its members.