Kevin Johansen: “It’s a little shortsighted to talk about cultural ownership”

A Kevin johansonCultures intersect from the factory, beginning with “a foreign name that misleads locals and foreigners alike”, the Argentine bard born in Alaska, raised in various US settlements and Montevideo, and settled in Buenos Aires. On her new album ‘Tú ve’ she rejoices in the diversity and contrast of the baggage, which is faced with a strong voice cast from Sílvia Pérez Cruz to David Byrne, who have things in common. “The search for a specific root in folklore, whether from America or Iberia”.

The Coliseum theater in Barcelona will host the staging of this album this Wednesday (as part of the Guitar BCN festival), in which Johansen focuses on versions for the first time: eight of the eleven songs, erasing the authors from Violeta Parra Therefore, each song’s changing perspectives He talks about “versioning and automatic versioning”, understanding that it can be adapted. “I say a little jokingly that they are my and the appropriate versions. Cultural ownership is mine, I invented it!”

endless mixes

This accusatory idea, appropriation, which has justified attacks on musical genres and traditions that have been widely used in recent years and that do not correspond to one because of geography or culture, seems clear to him, “a complete mess” qualify “Because we all come from mixes: great-uncle on the one hand and great-grandmother on the other. It seems to me that everything belongs to everyone. How did Bandoneon come to Argentina? It was a German invention and he created the tango there”. This debate is about the presumed privilege of those who enjoy music that has not had a chance to be made visible because of its low social status or marginalized nature. “It’s also a bad look, a little shortsighted”, respect. “In some cases this may happen, but When you look at where it came from and what its origin is, you’ll see that this genre also comes from other previous mixes. What fascinates me is how a style of music crystallizes: Cuban son, jazz, rumba… When you go back even further, you realize that it came from mixing and it was a never-ending process”.

A successful singer-songwriter with over twenty years of experience, Johansen (that’s what he calls himself, not a composer) manages a deep voice and therefore sought high-pitched timbres when dealing with duets. . The Touch gives colorful results from the title song of the album they shared. Mexican Natalia Lafourcade. “It’s a kind of love manifesto where I say what I want to be offered to me,” she explains. Or ‘Since I Lost You’, fleet-rumbera attack and rendezvous Silvia Perez Cruz. “A hymn to loss and a bit of a ‘degenerate’ song like me, or the impossible kind of song as he calls it”.

New York idol

Another entity can raise eyebrows, David Byrne The musician who emerged spontaneously during a recital he gave at Le Poisson Rouge in New York one day in 2014. “He came to greet me but the thing stopped there,” she recalls. “For me he is like an idol and I didn’t even dare to write to him. It was producer Juan Campodónico, and he He responded with an email that read “20 KJ songs I love”. I entered a piece. I didn’t know you had me on her radar.” She shares with him an English version of her top hit song “Last night I dreamed of you”, which is a little more pop and electronic than the original.

Switch between Leonard Cohen’s (a duet with Jorge Drexler), Caetano Veloso’s album songs, and Merle Travis’ sweaty ’16 Tones. And it’s surprising that a Kevin Johansen album ends with a song that’s a bit dark and disturbing beyond appearances: ‘A perfect day’ by Lou Reed. “It is true that it is, but it sounds to me like a vital theme that speaks to some distrust of hope and acknowledging one’s shortcomings. And how Dylan sings, he quotes Walt Whitman, I contradict myself, but so what? The theme has: I contain multitudes. It’s a great sentence.”

Source: Informacion


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