Picture: Sofía Rei had a busy December, releasing a brand new album and new Christmas music. Picture courtesy of Sherwin Lainez / Supplied by Cindy Byram PR with permission.
Sofía Rei, the completed singer who has mined many Latin American musical traditions throughout her career, has a acknowledged objective of adjusting issues up each time she heads into the recording studio. Her albums are nearly at all times departures from what got here earlier than, and this retains her musical output recent, inventive and endlessly fascinating.
This previous yr, Rei launched her much-heralded album Negro Sobre Blanco, a set of songs that marries South American people sounds with digital devices. Add in some pop and improvisation, and the result’s wholly distinctive and pure Rei. Then, in time for the Christmas season, Rei launched a reimagined model of “Little Drummer Boy,” which was a collaboration with percussionist Pedrito Martinez and trumpeter Bria Skonberg (it’s known as “El Niño del Tambor”).
Not too long ago Hollywood Soapbox caught up with the very busy Rei whereas she was taking a break from the New York Metropolis scene and having fun with some downtime with household in her native Argentina. “I’m in the midst of the mountains in Argentina,” Rei stated in a latest cellphone interview.
Though she was a continent away, the reminiscences of her collaboration with Martinez and Skonbeg had been recent in her thoughts. “We did this in document time, actually,” she stated. “I’ve identified Pedrito nearly since I moved to New York. I moved to New York in 2005. We had been type of a part of the identical circle of musicians that had been doing Latin jazz or knew completely different Latin initiatives in New York, and he would frequent The Jazz Gallery. I used to be there on a regular basis, and he was associates with numerous associates of mine. Then he known as me to be a part of one in all his initiatives, so we did a couple of exhibits with him. After which we remained associates.”
Six years in the past, Rei and Martinez joined with Skonberg to carry out on the City Corridor’s annual vacation bash, and that’s once they debuted “El Niño del Tambor.” For individuals who know Rei, seeing her carry out a standard Christmas music will need to have come as a little bit of a shock.
“I type of hate them, to be fully sincere,” Rei stated with amusing. “I can’t hearken to ‘Rudolph the Reindeer’ yet another second, and I don’t admire strolling into each retailer in New York and listening to this music since November till February.”
What Rei does like are conventional Spanish-language songs that middle on the infant Jesus. They’re tunes she has been singing since her childhood in Argentina (she moved to the States when she was 24 years outdated), and he or she nonetheless holds fondness for these compositions.
“So what occurred was throughout that present on the City Corridor, [the director] requested the three of us individually to do one thing, so the three of us did one thing individually,” Rei remembers. “He actually favored very a lot the music that every of us made, and was like, ‘Oh, you understand what, why don’t you set one thing collectively? The three of you as a trio.’ That’s type of a cool thought. No piano, no guitar, no harmonic instrument, simply percussion, trumpet and voices as a result of the three of us sing additionally, and I play little percussion as effectively.”
Thus, “El Niño del Tambor” was born. Rei was requested to play just a little field drum known as a cajita, however she was nervous performing subsequent to Martinez, a legendary percussionist. “To me, it was like shameful to document it subsequent to him,” she stated. “I used to be like, ‘I’m not recording this. You play it.’ ‘No, no, no, you need to play it.’ So, yeah, taking part in percussion with Pedrito was by no means in my wildest goals something that will occur, in order that’s enjoyable.”
This yr, the musicians reformed, however nonetheless managed to remain socially distanced, they usually made that once-in-a-lifetime efficiency on the City Corridor a everlasting actuality. Now listeners have an opportunity to listen to the various devices and traditions come collectively right into a recognizable tune that has a novel aptitude.
“We finalized the association within the studio, and we recorded it in two hours,” Rei stated. “We did some improvs between the trumpet and the vocals, and we completed determining the vocal association. I believe it labored out very nice.”
This sense of collaboration and exploration has been with Rei for the reason that starting of her musical profession. She is by nature a curious individual, and he or she likes to problem herself musically. Living proof: her new album Negro Sobre Blanco.
“This new challenge that I put out in December proper earlier than this, I believe it was Dec. 4, is veering in a really completely different course from what I used to be doing earlier than,” she stated. “The thought behind it’s it has a basis in South American people music, by way of the rhythms and the grooves and a few devices that we use just like the charango that I play. Another devices additionally veer extra into digital music manufacturing, so it was an enormous, large endeavor for me as a result of though I’ve been taking part in with digital devices for a very long time, to do one thing extra basically on that facet was an entire problem. And I needed to be taught so much about manufacturing. I needed to be taught so much about the way in which that world works. For me, it’s a studying curve, and it’s fascinating. It’s super-interesting to me as a result of it offers me one thing to continue to learn and increasing.”
By John Soltes / Writer / John@HollywoodSoapbox.com
Sofía Rei’s new album is Negro Sobre Blanco, and her new single with Pedrito Martinez and Bria Skonberg is “El Niño del Tambor.” Click on here for extra info.