The Song Navigator: Retransmisión / Reality Check

“La realidad no es la única verdad- The reality is not the only truth”.

Our song “Retransmision” has the most special place in my heart. It was written in times when I faced difficulties in my personal life. But as the chorus says “The reality is not the only truth”. What was reality in those days was not the only truth, although it seemed everything was gone. I was not able to see the truth because

“Soy una máquina rota

radio que no funciona

estoy buscando en esta confusión alguna señal”

“I am a broken machine

a radio that doesn’t work

I’m searching in amidst this confusion for any signal”

When a person is broken and lost, one looks for answers everywhere. When you stop looking, one really starts to see. There is a great difference in looking vs. seeing. And if you do not look for answers everywhere, you see them in yourself, if you stop and be present for what is “now”.

The song was born in front of a fireplace in my home. Me and Okko had been out having some beers. We ended up having an after party at my place. As we sat in front of the fireplace we started to jam. I told Okko that I have come up with a new violin theme (which starts the song and appears in the middle part too). I played the theme and we both had tears in our eyes (yes we were drunk and had this normal “you are a good guy”-phase going on). A couple of weeks later Okko had made a whole song out of it. Think it is a beautiful theme and song. Thanks to Anna for the beautiful lyrics too!

-Antti

The Song Navigator: Paseando (sometimes you need no more than dance)

“To have some fun, sometimes that’s all you need, if you don’t know what you want, you don’t really need it. In my life it’s joy that has any meaning”

Bulería is flamenco´s party “palo”, in other words the rhythm for having fun. It is danced, played and sang together in the party until sunrise. It is a song, which traditionally ends the flamenco performance. But even though it may look as if the singers, dancers and players were just having fun together, they know the exact rules of how to “play” bulería. It doesn’t matter where you come from, you can speak bulería. Rhythm is the element that unifies people.

“Wearing this dark veil on my tired face. Feel like I see nothing clearly. Then you hold out your hand and on your side I know I’m not alone, with your eyes you guide me. “

Our song Paseando describes the story of the morning after party. We have been playing, singing and dancing together until the wee hours. When making music together, communality is a very important thing. You should also have some fun and unforgettable moments alongside the music. Bajo Cero is not just a band but a group of tightly knit friends, who share special moments together. Music and dance is universal, it unites people. We need evenings, when bulería is played throughout the night until sunrise!

-Elina

The Song navigator: Hierro – Iron

I heard Hierro for the first time as a demo made by Okko and it became immediately one of my favorite songs. Hierro is like a compressed miniature portrait of Bajo Cero:fragile in a certain sense, but includes a lot of strength. The song starts acoustically and minimaly but the intensity grows through the whole song and in the end everything is at full blast. It has to be mentioned about the singing that even if you didn’t understand the lyrics, you can’t help but listen to Anna’s intensive interpretation.

As a player I’ve always enjoyed the most of those kind of songs that make you forget that you’re playing and you just focus on the feeling of the song. Hierro is one of these songs. You get sucked into the atmosphere of the song immediately and I think the song works best when listened your eyes closed and your head set on (preferably the same kind of head set that Anna uses in the music video of the song). Hierro is also a great song played live. The whole band obviously enjoys playing it and at least for myself Hierro is always one of the highlights in the show.

-Heikki

See also: Hierro music video on Youtube

The Song Navigator – Mi Esquina: My street corner

(c) Jussi Heikkinen

This song brings back memories of a time when Bajo Cero was still Anna, Okko, Kili, Elina, Antti and Joonas and I was still playing some rock-type music. To be honest I was getting tired of trying to find the perfect marriage between the sounds of Metallica and Incubus. Hence, it was no surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed seeing “Bajo” for the first time in Tervahovi, the long lost neighbor of the beloved NGO.

During this gig I went through all the emotions that an emotionally restricted and artistically introvert Finnish man would experience when he feels the need to dance but can’t bring himself to do more than grin and tap to the tempo with his foot. Even after that I would look around me nervously –did anyone see me do that?

Mi Esquina brings together some of the things I like about Bajo Cero the most. It is danceable, lively, groovy and catchy. The funky rhythm, contemporary arrangement and fusion between different musical styles like reggae and flamenco make it interesting to listen to as well as play. At first pretty much all I did was listening as my one and only instrument in the song was the shaker. Say what you will, but even if my role as an instrumentalist wasn’t great, because of it I got a chance to ease myself into the band and the style of music it was playing quite easily. Later on I started scratch in Mi Esquina as well as some other songs which gave much more personal depth to the expression from my side of the turntable.

When playing live, Mi Esquina is one of those songs that spark a good connection and interaction between musicians on stage. Often I find that when the set list says “Esquina” the tension that everyone felt before the gig gets finally turned into eye contacts, jamming, dancing, shaking, clapping, laughing and even fooling around to a degree. At this point I usually also notice the guys standing on the edges of the audience slightly grinning and tapping to the tempo with their hands in their pockets. They would like to move to the music too.

Mi Esquina talks about a loss being a blessing as well. The narrator of the lyrics sits in a street corner and watches a stream of people passing by. This is still only one side of the story, because Mi Esquina is the street corner in which I learned to dance and express myself better. I hope that some other people will stop here in my street corner too by listening to the album or coming to the gigs.

-Juhani

 

The Song Navigator: Espejo – The Mirror (and a bit of butter)

Ancient Finnish legends tell that the old wise man Väinämöinen had to smuggle himself into the Underworld and back, to seek for secret or hidden words, wisdom or tools. When we got to the 1970’s things had gotten more laid back in here and it was enough if the people just crossed the border to Sweden to get some cheap butter. I was born early enough to take part in these “fat-trips”, as they were called, and my uncle was inspected at the border every time he was coming back, for he had such a dark hair that obviously something illegal must have been going on.

Somehow many of us made it to the next millennium, and one sunny Friday morning at 8:15 in 2008 or maybe it was the next year, I found myself being in a band that was starting a 1300km journey for a single gig to Stockholm to export some flamenco world music, this was how strange the world had become.

The next day at noon I woke up, for some reason I had insisted to drive the whole way there, and as we got there I had the need to take a sauna for hours, swim in the nocturnal sea and to be noisy and full of life till the wee hours, and so my head was being hammered with a small brigade of pick-axes and there was a bunch of dandelions glittering on the window shelf and I couldn’t figure out whether I had picked them up myself of if it had been someone else. From the yard I could hear the hilarious noise of experimentation of or bass played Antti who had received a brand new effects pedal just in time before setting off for the journey, and who was basking in the sun and trying to imitate the sound of a duck that had flown by, with his bass.

Time passed slowly in the strikingly beautiful archipelago first woken up to a spring glory and then lullabied back to a charmingly humid sleep by the early summer heat wave. Anyway in some point I noticed I was sat on a rock, out from the bad air of my room, a steady rock impressive enough to rise quite a bit of every Swedes national pride, squinting my eyes. Okko was playing his guitar and Antti had swapped to his violin, as his bass amp extension cord was not long enough to reach this majestic rock.

How it all went

An idea emerged out of nowhere, or somewhere, and i wanted to play along the others. But all my instruments were somewhere and I was somewhere else. Still the images kept dancing into my mind as lightly as a freight train dances, and those images needed to be dealt with. Over a thousand years ago the Swedes leaving these rocks, the Swedes nowadays mainly recognized for ABBA, a stunning ability of being sovereign and their IKEA meat balls, a fair thousand years ago these Swedes formed the most inner circle of the bodyguards of the almost almighty emperor of Bysanthium some 3000km away, because they were big, frightening, extremely strong and ready to die to the last man instead of surrendering.

In my eyes I had the vision of a declining ruler, surrounded by his last men, even though they all know they’ll soon be defeated, but not yet, for the last battle is still just about to start, and so I grabbed a few dry sticks lying on the rock and started banging them along with the music, to live with it.

I started feeling better as the day went on, the gig went fine that night, the next day I drove those 1300km back home, a moose ran to the road but we missed it so that I’m still here to tell this story. Those fragments of sounds and visions we brought home, instead of butter, later became the second song on our album – Espejo. But the dry sticks I unfortunately left lying around on that rock. However, or maybe therefore, the song turned out great.

-kili

The Song navigator: Caras Escondidas – Hidden Faces

When we first started writing the song Caras escondidas there was just a massive big bang in the beginning and some eerie sketches of a song melody made by Okko along with some ideas for the rhythm for the vocals.

As I started to write the lyrics in a suitable rhythm and length, with words that would somehow fit the mood, the story soon started to form into this ”scary ghost story at sea”.

Ahogan las olas del mar
en la distancia

oyes a
alguien canta

/

Drowning
waves of the sea
in the distance
you hear someone singing

We wanted the atmosphere to be somewhat spooky and even apocalyptic. It didn’t matter if the story itself was quite abstract and left a lot of room for imagination. The ”Caras escondidas” (=hidden faces) in the story are a symbol for the fear that creeps up on you when night falls. They are the faces of those abstract figures you think you see in the dark when you are scared enough.

The ”me” in the song is a force that is commenting the occurrences in the story but also affecting them.

She is singing for the poor drowning soul that is the object of the happenings:

No hay cuerda pa’ cogerte
mi voz te ahoga
buscas el fondo,
pero no encuentras
la cuerda pa´ salvarte

respira la melodía, resipira la melodia            

/

There’s no cord* to hold on to
My voice will drown you
You search for the bottom
but won’t  find
the cord that will rescue you
Breathe the melody
Breathe the melody

*la cuerda means not only a rope or a cord but the string of a musical instrument and a chord as in the term used in music

For a musician it’s not so unusual to be drowning in melodies. Sometimes it would be nice if someone threw you a rope to hold on to (be it a chord that makes the song make sense or something else that helps you) when you feel that the song is just not coming together and the ideas are floating on  some other, distant, ocean. With this song the only solution was to let go and permit myself to write such an ambiguously heaving story that it shall take the weight of itself to carry afloat – or just let it drown in the melody. Whatever happened, we got through with the song, and it even ended as the opening track for the album.

-Anna

 

Óyela reviewed brilliantly in the music magazine Riffi

The album Óyela, released by Bajo Cero in October, gets a brilliant Facebook review in the Finnish music magazine Riffi.

“- this music boils up from a metropol swarming with 24/7 turbulence, where the subway train incessantly rumbles until yet another morning, and where the corner shops are never closed at around midnight.-” Lauri Paloposki, Riffi

Read the whole review on the Facebook pages of Riffi magazine (Sorry, only in Finnish though)

Bajo Cero: Óyela – 19.10.2012

Bajo Cero releases their debut album “Óyela” 19th of october. The album consists of 11 new songs and combines flamenco with the world’s electro-acoustic heritage with an urban ethno attitude. The record will be in stores in Finland and will also be published digitally internationally later in the autumn.