Bajo Cero to perform on World Village Festival 2014

Maailma Kylässä / World Village 2014 Festival has announced their programme for this year. World Village is one of the biggest festivals in Finland, free for people of all ages and kinds, located in the heart of Helsinki. It was recently awarded as Festival of the Year 2014 by Finland Festivals.

We can now proudly tell you Bajo Cero will be performing there, on Monsuuni Stage, Sunday 25.5.2014.

We’ve got the fire burning!

This Autumn has been a different kind of Autumn in many ways. The Bajo Cero crew left in Oulu has been kind of re-organizing itself after Okko moved down to the Big City (a.k.a Helsinki) and we’ve been having a pause in doing gigs too. Sometimes it’s good to slow down and stop for a while. Like our song Hierro suggests:

Everyone’s been up to something on their own (for example someone has been continuing his renovation project, which has turned into something almost philosophical, another has re-discovered his love for basketball, one has gotten engaged without the other band members even hearing about it… etc) I myself have been travelling around because of my work so much during the Autumn that it feels almost like I’m on a trip all the time.

Now we are finally travelling all together – the whole Bajo Cero! Last night we gathered the Oulu crew and had a band practice for the upcoming mini tour this weekend. We sure got the fire burning again!

 

So now it’s good to continue on together, towards the urban rhythms and electro-acoustic experiments of Autumn. And above all, towards dear friends.

Bajo Cero’s Rewind Mini Tour in Helsinki and Hämeenlinna 31.10.-2.11.2013.

– Anna

The Song Navigator (you have now reached your final destination): Camino – The Path

This song is about those kinds of moments when you feel you have lost everything.

You’re in the middle of a void but instead of despairing you feel strangely peaceful and free. It’s fittingly the last track on our debut album, Óyela, and I feel that it is the most zen and the deepest of all the songs on the record.

The original song was originally sung in English by me and it was composed for a singer-songwriter project that had little to do with Bajo Cero. It is a unique song on the record also in a way that the original lyrics before the Spanish translation were also written by me. The song was abandoned and unused at the time and we decided to give it a try as a Bajo Cero song and it worked out great.

Camino was strongly influenced by the situations I was going through in my life at the time of writing it about ten years ago. At the time, I found myself feeling seriously burned out. I had been thrown in a dark new situation where I was struggling in a mental survival mode. All the usual suspects; love, apartment, money, school, work and ego had gone into self-destruct at the same exact moment.

It was obvious that this phase wasn’t going to go away for some time but deep down I somehow knew that where there’s a mystery, there’s also an understanding if you dare to stare at it in the eye with honesty. That was the faint star blinking in the horizon.

When I eventually found my way back home, I felt it was difficult to look at things the same way. Most of the stuff that seemed significant before, felt strangely trivial; Pain is often just a story we want to take part in, and sometimes you see through it. That’s the theme of the song.

When we recorded the song in 2011, we felt it has to be innocent, honest and otherwordly. That way it is much more in the vein of indie music ethos than the world/electro/heavy/pop-feel of the other songs on the record. I think it’s a fresh new feeling that navigates the record nicely to it’s starry-eyed destination.

-Okko

 

[[ The Song Navigator has now reached the final destination. Read, see and hear the previous entries here: 01 Caras Escondidas 02 Espejo 03 Mi Esquina 04 Hierro 05 Paseando 06 Retransmisión 07 Óyela 08 Eco 09 A Volar 10 Refugiados ]]

The Song Navigator: Refugiados

I have always said that any good piece of music has good drums and a good bass line. You can take a way almost anything else without the song suffering much, but you can’t take away the bass or the drums.

When I was living in the UK I got fond of electronic music. I especially liked ever up-lifting “Happy hardcore” and on the other hand psychedelic “Trance”. However, neither of them got me hooked completely. I found the answer in a hazy basement nightclub. A dark and a little weird looking crowd with their heads covered in beanies, loose army style trousers and swaying purposefully randomly to a breakbeat. And a very fast one at that, 160-180 beats per minute. I didn’t fit into the crowd but the music impressed me.

Through the smoke you could barely see the outlines of a stage surrounded by a massive PA. I didn’t know it then but the main element of the PA system was the sub woofer that boosted out the low frequency, stomach turning electronic bass. The bass and the break beat made, as they quite adequately put it, drum ‘n bass.

The evolution of music has since progressed. Even the mainstream radio has started to play something with just a break beat and a bass line –Dubstep. The main difference to D ‘n B being that the beat is slower and the bass is now not just something you feel in your gut but a more melodic element.

As musicians often do, we often discuss musical issues within the band. At some point we noticed that it is not only myself who is fond of low frequencies and simplicity. Therefore, we decided to put drum ‘n bass and dubstep through the world fusion mill that is Bajo Cero.

Thus Refugiados was born.

-Juhani

The Song Navigator: A Volar – Take flight

We wrote our song A Volar (“Take flight”) as a request for the final gala of Oulu Music Video Festival 2008. The project was really interesting because the theme that year was Finland and being Finnish. Our challenge was to fuse Spanish language music with being Finnish. We had the chance to perform our song and choreography in front of an audience of a thousand people. The songs theme is really dark – men have left for war and a woman has been left behind, alone, crying on the shore.

 

“To the faraway islands travelled
my loved one, leaving me
on an island without trees
and with rivers of blood. “

 

The songs rhythm is one of flamencos most fascinating, siguyrias, which makes it very mystic, and it suits very well a song telling about the bird of death, bringer of sorrow.

 

“The bird is calling
with the voice of the dead,
the bird is calling,
the bird of oblivion.

And dressed in a blackbird´s gown
it crosses the sky
and changes the light into dark”

Bird themes have always fascinated me, and I also have picture of a crow embroidered onto one of my show dresses. There is a lot symbolism related to birds and people have believed that birds had a big part in the birth of the world and circle of human life. The “swan of the underworld” is a symbol of death, and a “wounded albtraos” is free in the sky but a prisoner on the land. At one time birds were thought of as the embodiment of peoples hopes and dreams, as they could fly upward unto the heavens.

Finnish mythology contains a lot of bird-related thematics. “Lintukoto”, Bird home is the place where a human soul goes in the end after detah. You can also see human soul described as a bird figure, and they believed that the raven took a dead persons soul. In our folk poetry also women could be described as a bird, a bride being elegant with her feathers like a dancer.

-Elina

The Song Navigator: Eco (Echo) – Lauri Ahtinen shows us what Eco sounds like

Eco (Echo) is one of the songs that were created in an absurdly short period of time, when we had decided to take the principle of “a song out every two weeks”. When I first heard it, I was amazed. I had taken part in the compositional work quite actively, and I’d proposed loads of ideas for the song we were indulged in. My handprint was crucial in what became Eco; almost all the ideas we used came from Okko, whereas the vast majority of the ditched ideas were mine…

The song couldn’t have hit me better, and I ended quite many busy nights then by stopping to listen to it, far too loud, all by myself, with my headphones on. I do admit that there is a place and a time for “feel good music” (on a sunny Saturday, yes), but far too often in music I crave for a feeling of threat, danger and aggression, discharged by ways of music.

This kind of music is a delicate kind, as expressing feelings through rhythm and melody is often a paradox. A west-African happy going rhythmic exhilaration easily makes me pretty frustrated by the time of the third song, due to an overdose of good vibrations. And the northern, anguished death metal tends to tumble down to something so pathetic it only makes you laugh. With Eco, I think we managed to paint quite an accurate picture of one sort of an emotional landscape.

A long time ago, as i was getting all excited about our future (now recent past) comics collaboration with Ville, I asked my friend Lauri (that also is a comics artist, I wonder how we tend to befriend with them) to re-draw our promo pics in the good old Kylli-täti style. I set the pictures on his table, I set the camera and the light pretty badly, and pressed play on his stereo (this time the song was Eco), and there he went, beautifully smutting the picture to suit the soundscape of the song. The resulting video leads us to suspect that his feelings aroused by the song are somewhat close to mine. And despite the black paint he uses, I believe we both pretty much like the song.

-kili

The Song Navigator: Óyela

I often feel I have to explain the language choises of our lyrics. Why write songs in Spanish in (Northern) Finland when no one’s gonna understand them?

Veo que me miras de distancia
no entiendes nada de mis palabras
estoy hablando en una lengua
que no quieres oír porque no es tuya

I can see you looking from a distance
you don’t understand a word of what I’m saying
I’m speaking in a language
that you don’t want to hear because it’s not yours

I find myself returning to this basic question over and over again if not because of our audience then because of questioning myself. The lyrics for the song Óyela surfaced from this question that is somewhat personal to me as a songwriter and a singer. Somewhere along the way the lyrics became a part of an even bigger message that can be regarded as a kind of message of tolerance: Music is a universal language – why could it not function as a bridge between us people? If only we had the skill to listen to it.

Hablar es mucho más que palabras
una forma de música
tienes que escucharla
Oye, oye, óyela

Speaking is so much more than just words
a form of music
you have to listen to it
Hear it, hear it, hear it

Bajo Cero’s songs are written in Spanish. If they weren’t they wouldn’t be Bajo Cero’s songs. As I would not be me, should I take the easy way out and start writing the lyrics in my native language Finnish or in English. Anyway even though all our listeners might not fully understand all of our texts I do believe that the music does relate a feeling that in itself is a message.

No me voy a cambiar
lo que digo es la
verdad
la sonrisa en mi cara
suena como la musica

I will not change who I am
what I say is the truth
The smile on my face
Sounds like music

For me Óyela is a summer song. From the beginning I’ve always thought it to be that song that you sing with your hands up in the air at some summer festival, while the sun is setting on a lake and the Finnish festival folk is full of love and tolerance (and maybe just a little bit of beer too).

Waiting for the summer,
Anna

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