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CULTURE | 29-08-2023 15:07

Andrés Calamaro: 'Rock in Spanish is now back in style'

Argentine musician Andrés Calamaro, a pillar of Spanish-language rock over the last few decades, believes the genre is "back in style." In an interview, the Buenos Aires-born composer explains how he hopes to inspire new artists – and learn from them at the same time.

Argentine musician Andrés Calamaro, a pillar of Spanish-language rock over the last few decades, believes the genre is "coming back into style" thanks to a wave of new artists.

“Rock in Spanish is going through a strangely good and positive time because it is coming back into style and in some places, in some cases, almost for the first time,” the Buenos Aires-born singer-songwriter said in an interview.

The creator and singer of anthems such as as 'Mil Horas' (from his time with legendary band Los Abuelos de la Nada), or 'Loco' (once he had gone solo) considers rock musicians must “assume their responsibility” to inspire diverse and dissimilar artists, and at the same time to feed off them.

Calamar, 62, gives the example of the current Argentine music scene, where there is a relationship of “friendship, interaction and collaboration” with musicians under 30 from urban genres such as trap or hip-hop. This wave of breakthrough starts appreciate those of us “who do it old school," he added.

“It’s not a bad time for rock and roll, once more it has proved it can be reborn," said the former lead vocalist of Los Rodríguez.

With an extensive career that dates all the way back to the late 1970s and the winner of three Latin Grammys, Calamaro says he has “never” thought about re-recording his older work and following in the footsteps of such as artists as the former lead of Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, or his compatriot and colleague of the same generation Fito Páez.

The latter, for example, recently expanded the comercial scope of his most successful album, 1992's 'El amor después del amor,' with a huge tour to mark its 30th anniversary, the recording of a new version of the album featuring duets with other artists and even a biographic mini-series on Netflix this year.

“It’s not altogether a bad idea, but I’m far too proud to re-record an álbum,” confessed Calamaro, who today in based in Spain.

“And don’t ask me about a Netflix series because that’s going too far, I’ll go home tired just thinking about it,” the musician laughed.

A great conversationalist, both lucid and provocative, Calamaro has been the target of criticism from progressive political sectors, who reject his open defence of bullfighting or his affinity for some of the ideas of Spanish far-right party Vox.

“That’s what rock and roll is for too, to offend and please do-gooders alike,” he explained.

In that vein, Calamaro means ultra-libertarian Javier Milei, the dark horse in the Argentine political scene, who became the frontrunner in the primaries this month.

"Javier Milei presents himself as an anarcho-capitalist and that sounds good. I identify with that,” he said, describing the libertarian lawmaker as an “enigma” for being outside the historic tradition of Argentine politics.

Milei, who uses aspects of rock culture in the histrionics of his public rallies and his wild image with a dishevelled mane, is someone who offers change given the “spiral of poverty, violence and squalour” affecting Argentina, Calamaro argued.

“Obviously, millions of people will think that change for the sake of change itself can be interesting or offer something like hope,” he added.

On this point, Calamaro is out of step with many young and popular Argentine musicians. Pop star Lali Espósito and rappers Trueno and Ca7riel are among those to have called on fans to reflect on the progress of Milei, who proposes to eliminate free healthcare and education, among other rights.

But then, the rocker has never been one to tow the line.

by Jean Arce, AFP

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