By Jorge Gil Angel
Bogota, May 27 (EFE).- An eclectic mix of songs ranging from the tango music of Carlos Gardel to the rock and roll of Bruce Springsteen to the poetry of Joaquin Sabina make up Colombian recording artist Juanes’ “Origen,” a new covers album that pays tribute to his musical influences while breaking new sonic ground.
Due for release on Friday along with a like-named Amazon Prime Video documentary, the album marks the “start of a new path for my career in terms of the sound and where I’m going in music,” Juanes said in a telematic interview with Efe.
“It’s extremely important for me to reconnect and remember why I got started in music and what songs influenced me, what moment I was at in my life,” said the 48-year-old native of the northwestern Colombian department of Antioquia.
On the album, Juanes provides his unique interpretation of songs like Gardel’s “Volver,” Ecuadorian pasillo singer Julio Jaramillo’s “Nuestro juramento,” Mexican pop icon Juan Gabriel’s “No tengo dinero,” Jamaican reggae pioneer Bob Marley and the Wailers’ “Could You Be Loved,” Colombian salsa singer Joe Arroyo’s “Rebelion,” Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark,” and Colombian vallenato singer Diomedes Diaz’s “Sin medir distancias.”
Rounding out the album are the tracks “Todo hombre es una historia” by Colombian progressive metal band Kraken, “El amor despues del amor” by Argentine rock artist Fito Paez, “La bilirrubina” by Dominican merengue artist Juan Luis Guerra, “De Oro” by Dominican merengue band La Familia Andre and “Y nos dieron las diez” by Spanish singer-songwriter Joaquin Sabina.
Juanes’ versions of these songs all carry his particular stamp, and some of them – by design – are radically different from the originals.
His cover of the song from Sabina’s 1992 album “Fisica y Quimica” is a special source of pride for Juanes because, after hearing the Colombian’s version, the Spaniard said it is the best he has heard.
“I was speechless. Truly, at that moment, I almost wanted to cry from so much emotion. After those three minutes that seemed like an eternity when he was listening to the song and I was suffering on the other end – after having put so much time into the production, the recording – when he erupted with joy, that was obviously the most beautiful reward of all,” Juanes said.
The Colombian recording artist’s homeland has been mired for a month in a wave of violent road-blocking, anti-government protests that have left 43 dead, an outbreak of unrest that Juanes says is rooted in discrimination.
“We’re a country with indigenous, African (roots) … and I think we’ve been exclusionary since the country was first founded,” Juanes said. “So I think what’s happening now isn’t an issue that (started) from one day to the next or two years ago. It’s a historical issue, and it’s important that we have the wisdom, the high-mindedness, to listen to one another.”
“We need to look one another in the eyes and wisely seek out solutions … and restructure whatever is necessary to move forward, but move forward in a way where we can keep building and making progress,” he added. EFE