The Río de la Plata (or River Plate) is a 140 mile-wide estuary that
separates Argentina and Uruguay. It's also the place of confluence for
the diverse folk music styles Latin Grammy Award-winning Argentinian-Uruguayan collective
Bajofondo began blending into their idiosyncratic Rioplantense electronic world fusion in the early 2000s.
"What we call the Rioplatense sound is a combination or mix of the music that belongs to Buenos Aires and Montevideo -- it has to do with what we are as musicians, our background: the influence of tango, milonga, candombe, folklore, etc.," Bajofondo's Adrian Sosa tells Crossfade. "The addition of other styles and sounds that have to do a lot with music like rock, hip-hop, electronics, all that combined creates the sound of Bajofondo -- the sound of Rioplateneses today."
Presente, Bajofondo's third studio album, just released last month, marks a definite evolution for the band, coinciding with its tenth anniversary. But really, this evolution can be traced at least as far back as 2008, when the group shortened its original Bajofondo Tango Club moniker in order to escape being pigeonholed as "downtempo electronica" following its 2002 self-titled debut album. Seeking to expand the outfit's sonic horizons and the possibilities of live performance, the crew has certainly grown by leaps and bounds with the new album.
"We feel that Presente is one step closer to defining what we really are as a band," says Sosa. "One of the things we achieved in this album was that the energy and power from the live concerts was captured in the recordings, and the album sounds more live than any other Bajofondo album.
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"Having said that, we all know that to be able to make this record happen we needed to have ten years on our back," he adds. "It wouldn't be possible to create this album without all those years of playing together."
And the playing-together aspect is definitely what marks the new album as a departure point for Bajofondo's evolution from a group of studio producers to bona fide performing band.
"This particular album took us more than two years to record, [and] the process was long because we were trying to find the material and the sound that represent us better today, at present," Sosa explains. "That was also the idea of calling this album Presente, and it has to do with what we are today as a band, as artists -- the way our music evolved from the day we started the project about 10 years ago.
"One of the first ideas we all agreed on was that this was going to be an album with more elements of live music and organic sounds than the electronics we used in the past. Also, it was the first album where we don't have any guest artists -- we started to sing for the first time, since on the previous albums we had vocal guests."
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SHOW ME HOW
With Miami's sizable Argentinian and Uruguayan population, the turnout for Bajofondo's TransAtlantic Festival 2013 show at the North Beach Bandshell should be formidable. But this performance shouldn't be missed by anyone who appreciates world music with forward-thinking electronic production value.
"This will be basically as energetic and epic as always," Sosa promises. "There will be moments of inspired, sophisticated music, and there will be moments of dance and fun, a lot of rock energy, and we will be playing several songs from the new album."
Heineken TransAtlantic Festival 2013. Presented by Rhythm Foundation. With Bajofondo, Bomba Estéreo, Zuzuka Poderosa & Kush Arora, Psychic Mirros, Krisp, Mr. Pauer, and Beatmachines. Thursday, April 4, through Sunday, April 7, at Blackbird Ordinary, 729 SW First Ave., Miami; North Beach Bandshell, 7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; and Gramps, 176 NW 24th St., Miami. Admission is free at Blackbird Ordinary and Gramps. Tickets cost $23 to $35 for North Beach Bandshell shows. Call 305-672-5202, or visit rhythmfoundation.com.