just after the berlin show, we all went to france for a couple nights playing 4 small sets with small giant sand. .. it was the secret nuits festival of france, a bizarre and surreal affair in a severely haunted region of the world that was once blood soaked by both world wars.
the only evidence of such incomprehensible horrors is a finite atmosphere of the macabre that permeates the streets, the inhabitants and the odd timing of a bizarre summer storm that welcomed us there. that night brian revealed how he stumbled upon that old cumbia nugget. said a long time ago, years ago, someone on the road gave him a cd of 60s peruvian chicha and having just recently found it again, finally played it.
that’s when he became infected with the sound. and now in turn, we caught his infection.
some weeks later after the festival in vevey, the rough mixes of those 4 songs found me and they sounded pretty fantastic with so many people playing at the same time and no one was stepping on each other’s sonic toes. it had a severely enthusiastic pulse with the cumbia element slipping in every now and then.
the vevey festival was at the end of october.
the mixes arrived in november.
in order for this band to have any kind of a chance of touring, we needed to record immediately to get the album out by summer for a festival life.
preparations began. we went at it in tucson with half the band on board;
peter flew in to join thøger, brian, gabe, jon, lonna and myself. ..
we came up with a boat load of songs and allowed the cumbia to keep rearing its head.. .
even when we were playing a 2-step country piece, by the end of that track it was a full fledged cumbia. listen to “lost love” to see what i mean.
then sent our batch off to denmark for the other half of the big band to add their plunk. the only rule was that they there must play it all in one afternoon all together in order to get the live sound i didn’t want to lose.
anders (who just had a baby a few days before), and maggie, nik and asger + iris (who were about to have a baby in a few days) all gathered to do this thing.
it was all finished by january and mastered .. 19 songs.
– - – —– — — – – –
in november i accepted the invite by a montreal band (mt. zion) that last toured with vic chesnutt weeks before his untimely death. i didn’t know why i took on another project to record. already had too many.
when i flew out, i had to connect in new york and spend the night. landed in brooklyn and took a taxi to meet my friends, todd and esther, who had offered to put me up for the night. todd was the other guitar player on the last tour with vic.
they suggested we stop to have a beer by their house.
the bar happened to have live cumbia there only on monday nights.
the place was tiny and the owner (olivier) was french and the band leader.
the band was a 7 piece, and the audience was an 8 piece.
they sounded great. it felt good to follow the cumbia thread.
after the set, we took our leave.
during slight hesitation of leaving, we found ourselves talking with oliver. asked where i was from. then he mentioned then that a french woman from tucson had played here before.. marianne dissard .. and for that brief moment it occurred to me that’s how i met brian lopez, when he was playing in her band on tour in germany some years ago.
oliver happened to mention he remembers giving a cumbia cd to a member of her band
.. and i looked at him with the fever of a coincidentalist and pondered with animated eyebrow;
“ was his name brian ?”
why of course it was.
— – — – -