Making a musical homeland in other places sofia king. It’s just that one day, more than twenty years ago, she decided to leave for New York and stay there. To nest affectively and musically, to the point of becoming an outstanding referent of Latin American experimental music. With such baggage will be presented then, during a new incursion through Argentina, this Saturday, September 24 at 8:30 p.m. in Niceto (Niceto Vega 5510). “This visit is very special to me, because it will be the first time that we will tour the country with my New York band,” she says, referring to a triad of musicians made up of her aesthetic partner. Jean Christophe Maillard, Jorge Glem and Federico Peña that in Niceto will join with Manu Sija and Vivi Pozzebón. “Every time I return to the country, the welcome is beautiful, enthusiastic… In addition, there are codes in my lyrics and music that audiences in other parts of the world may not register, but here they are unavoidable,” says the singer-songwriter, whose last musical visit to the country had been in 2017, when he presented The Hawka contemporary tribute to whom he considers the heroine of his childhood: Violeta Parra.
Now, what Rei brings again is an album called Threshold –the fifth in his solo harvest- that has already traveled several miles between his adoptive country and several in Europe. And that carries in her sound entrails, the reflection of a backpack and mountain trip that the singer-songwriter made through the Elqui Valley, located in Coquimbo, Chile. “This album represents a new challenge for me, a new exploration in terms of sound regarding the encounter between roots music and electronic music, between experimental pop and neo soul, funk, jazz and even hip hop”, he tells. “It also implies a meeting of different voices and my experiences, and their condensation, their possibility of peaceful coexistence in the same set of songs. In fact, something very important to me has always been constant exploration and trying to present my music in the most authentic way possible, without getting trapped in stylistic cages.”
-What you did during the trip to the Elqui Valley in seven songs, after all.
-Yes. I start with the name of the album. what of Threshold it has to do precisely with the fact of standing on that threshold that takes you from the place where you are towards the new, the unknown. The period of transition and gestation of this album was the longest of my entire career, in fact. It was a great musical and personal apprenticeship, and it had many incarnations… It took me seven long years of many tests, changes of course, of technology, and of format, until with my producer (Maillard, pianist, guitarist and arranger French based in New York) I managed to put him on the right track.
-In what aspects did the geography of the Valley permeate the music you speak of?
-Well, at first I wanted to go to that place to disconnect from New York and the intensity of many trips. I wanted to be alone in a place to rest and compose. I had heard that it was a place with a very special energy and I was not disappointed. Even when I got to the valley I found out that Gabriela Mistral was from there, from Vicuña, and I was very curious to read her in her own context. From there came the song “La Otra”, for example, based precisely on her poem of the same name, where she describes that same landscape that I had in front of me: the cacti, the mountains, the eagles, the radiant sun… and a woman who he tries to free himself from his own obstacles, from his past, from the impositions to resurface, be reborn.
-Chile, Mistral, Parra, since we are in the area. How did you take the defeat of the approval of the new constitution there?
-I think an opportunity was lost that would have allowed the recognition of important social and environmental rights such as the right to drinking water, to housing, to nature, and also the advance towards gender justice for which women like Violeta fought so hard. .
Rei lives in Brooklyn, a place that she considers intense, vibrant and multicultural, with thousands of facets that constantly surprise her. “There is always something new to discover. I travel a lot, I am quite a nomad, therefore every day is different for me. Very little routine, very little repetition, perfect for me”, points out the vocalist trained as a child in the Colón choir. “To address another recurring theme when talking about the United States, such as violence, we must take into account the multidimensionality of its exercise. Something particular in the case of this country has to do with the problem of violence due to the use of weapons, the absurd fascination that a part of that society has for them and how difficult it is to solve this problem. But at the same time, we must also take into account that each state is a different world, with very different social values and rules”, she maintains.
And he continues: “The political, social and cultural cracks are much bigger than in Argentina. However, New York is generally a state with a lot of tolerance for cultural, gender or religious diversity. I mean by this that generalizing that the whole of American society is violent does not seem correct to me.