The Spanish architect GaudÃ said that originality consists in returning to our origins. Following in that same train of thought of finding simplicity with intuitive answers,Â Dani Macaco, known artistically as Macaco, speaks in one of his most representative lyrical lines of â€œandar hacia el saberâ€ (making my way towards knowing).
Practicing what he preaches, this Barcelona-based artist has worked on his music for years, looking for each songâ€™s fundamentals, and always seeking out his first principles â€“ represented by earth in Entre RaÃces y Antenas Â (2004), air in Ingravitto (2006), water in Puerto Presente (2009) and fire in El Murmullo del Fuego (2012). This album cycle recalls the four classical elements of the universe.
Now, Macacoâ€™s concept of popular music experiences its own big bang with his latest album Historias Tattooadas (Mundo Zurdo-Sony, 2015), available today, March 24.
Effortlessly balancing tradition and innovation, Historias Tattooadas takes us to Macacoâ€™s fascinating place in space and time. His influences range from Mediterranean to Caribbean, including Jamaican mento and rocksteady music, Cuban rumba and guajira, Venezuelan tonada, Catalonian habanera and pan-American cumbia. Macaco notes that as he was recording, he visualized a folk music elder learning rock and hip-hop from his grandson. A perfect description of the sound and concept influenced by such greats from different genres and centuries, such as Bola de Nieve, Kendrick Lamar, AgustÃn Lara, Kanye West, The Jolly Boys and The Roots.
Standout cuts include the subtle melancholy of the bolero â€œLa Distancia,â€ the engrossing cumbia â€œPiel Sobre Pielâ€ Â and the rhythmically titled â€œRatapampamâ€ that fuses Argentine bombo logÃ¼ero rhythms with urban drum machines.
Produced by Jules BikÃ´kÃ´ and Roger â€œFerreroâ€ RodÃ©s, this album also features the expressive, intuitive guitar work of Thomas â€œTirthaâ€ Rundqvist. Historias Tattooadas is an album that takes on many forms. Its music displays a personality free of cliches, while the lyrics possess a revelatory, literary quality. In fact, Macaco is an author who recently published his first book Amor a lo Diminuto (Mondadori, 2012). Balancing his work between songs of love and struggle, he conjures up characters who can be realistic (e.g. first single â€œHijos de un Mismo Diosâ€), hedonistically abstract (â€œDancing Manâ€) or ravenously romantic (â€œGood Morning Soledadâ€).
He writes anthemic songs with unforgettable choruses, Â while approaching the poetic ideal â€“ expressing complex ideas with simple words. For example, â€œVolar,â€ which defies gravity with its retro-1950s feel. Other tracks in this poetic lyrical vein include â€œCoincidirâ€ and â€œGÃ¡stame los Labios.â€
His songs dealing with topical issues go deep and avoid dogma â€“the aforementioned â€œHijos de un Mismo Dios,â€ his reflection about a self-imposed exile titled â€œMe Fui a ser Felizâ€ and the fight against genetic engineering on â€œSoy Semilla.â€
The narrative of Historias Tattooadas leaves its mark. Convinced that the works of Dylan, Serrat or the legendary Gato PÃ©rez are as worthy as those of any Nobel candidate, Macaco respects the greats and turns in his own impressive work. Itâ€™s his most universal and most intimate album. Its collaborations are based on his family circle, beginning with his mother, who recites the albumâ€™s opening movement. Brimming with the most engrossing verses of his career, it offers us moving images open to interpretation. His turns of phrase, social conscience and iconic voice place him among the top tier of singer-songwriters and troubadours, and leave an indelible mark on the listener.