*Article written for Kesta Happening Magazine by The Incognito Latina*
This month, Kesta Happening had the opportunity to chat with Pau Donés, lead singer of Jarabe De Palo. Jarabe’s unique blend of latin rock sounds and uplifting messages has granted them a successful career and a third visit to the Washington D.C. area in October. We talked about everything from their most recent album Orquesta Reciclando, to the sentiment behind Pau’s contagiously positive Tweets.
PD: We began our adventure to America over 15 years ago and branched off to the U.S. 5 years ago in the hopes of creating a stable relationship with the country and the audience. This will be our third visit and we hope it goes as successfully as the previous two. That’s what shows that our relationship is a stable one. D.C. is one stop in our thirty something U.S. city tour this year.
KH: What can we expect to see in this tour?
PD: We are coming back with several new changes to our lineup and our repertoire. Joining our band is a saxophonist that has been with Jarabe for four years. With the repertoire, let’s just say it will have more layers to it, the saxophone will add another sound to our performance. While on our U.S. tour, we will be presenting and touring a new album (Orquesta Reciclando) and we will be playing songs from Y Ahora Qué Hacemos, but we will also have many songs that form part of our more well known catalouge.
KH: ¿What is Orquesta Reciclando about?
PD: It is an album that wasn’t previously released (in the United States), it makes me very sad that it was not released. We mentioned it to our record company here in the US and now it is going to be released in September of this year. The album Orquesta Reciclando is a compilation of our biggest hits that
we re-recorded and reversioned. I like to recommend that people get the album because all the stories behind our songs are told there. We are coming to the United States launching the album. The idea is behind it is to keep making songs that get our fans excited. To make songs that form part of their life soundtrack. We have that way of communicating and expressing ourselves with the world and well, we hope that it will keep being that way for many more years to come.
KH: Tell us the story behind your famous yellow Maleta. What makes it so special?
PD: I believe that in the suitcase, obviously there are a lot of memories kept, but above all, it’s purpose is to keep our trajectory. The trajectory of a group that went from being unknown to somewhat popular. A group with 18 years, lots of songs, a bunch of experiences and cities visited and lived. Therefore, that’s what I take in the suitcase; I carry in it essentially that of what is the professional life of Jarabe de Palo and everything that has happened to us in those years. In our present time, I would say that what drives and motivates us to keep moving on and continuing on our journey is our desire to keep making our music. Making and presenting our songs to the world but with the idea that we have possibly left behind those things we had and expected when we started out with an empty suitcase. Now, there are a ton of things that are in it that give us that peace of mind and at the same time, the hope of prosperity in our music and continuing in our journey because our baggage is experience that counsels us.
KH: When you go on tour, ¿what is essential for the band?
PD: What is essential is to have a good rep repertoire, a good setlist that is well rehearsed and the need to come and play for the people. The concerts in the United States are within a two month tour that we will be going through Latin America. The only thing I’m taking are the essentials; a suitcase filled with things to talk about and most importantly, an enormous desire to have a good in the different shows that we will be doing and make sure that everyone that comes has a good time with us.
KH: Of all your compositions, which has been the hardest one to record because of it’s personal content? Which has exceeded your expectations? And which was the hardest to record because of the technical elements?
PD: I don’t know how to answer that question. I honestly don’t know. For me, recording songs is never a problem or struggle. It’s the total opposite. It’s a joy, it’s a process in which we try to have as much fun as possible because in the end, everything that you are living in the moment will be present in the song that is being recorded. At least that’s what I think, I try to transmit positive things (in the recording). When recording a song, you need to arrive in the studio very well prepared. But after you arrive and the prep is done, instead of having to struggle and fight to find solutions to problems with the music, it’s the opposite, you arrive with a base and focus to create something that’s better (than what you arrived with).
KH: If you ran into someone that didn’t know anything about Jarabe de Palo, with which song would you introduce yourself to them and say, esto es Jarabe de Palo and why?
PD: The Orquesta Reciclando version of El Lado Oscuro. Why? Well, because I think it best summarizes the spirit of the band now and what we have done in the past.
KH: If we were to turn on your iPod right now, what song or artist would we be most surprised to see in your collection?
PD: Possiblty Frank Sinatra. Or maybe Billie Holliday.
KH: We know you are very active with Twitter. Do you feel that social media has modified or influenced Jarabe’s creative process?
PD: More than influence the creative process, it has allowed the artist to have a more direct contact with the people, with our fans. That is very important because there is no deception from the media. The media can give deceptive images of how you are or of what you thing or even of what you say. With Twitter, that’s not an option. What you say or what you do is direct, it’s face to face. I believe it is a very good instrument to use to be in contact with our people.
KH: Do you feel as though Jarabe’s music has reached a broader audience now with social media?
PD: Yes. We are Spaniards, we are a group from Spain and we have an audience in America that we can’t take care of like we would if we were living there. Thanks to Twitter (and social media) we can be in touch and it is a definitive tool in keeping in touch with the fans.
KH: If we went by what we read in your tweets, you seem to be an eternal optimist. What is the secret to maintaining the optimism and happiness you always send out in your tweets?
PD: More than optimistic, positive. I notice things and I also have my good and bad days, and things in the world aren’t going as well as I would like them to, but I always see the positive side to everything; the glass is half full. Being alive is a marvelous thing. Maybe it’s because of that that I always try to transmit that idea, that’s the motive behind sharing in my tweets those positive feelings. Honestly (life) isn’t that difficult. People make it up to be hard for us in the sense that they want to make us think that things in life are difficult, but in reality the aren’t. Now, a hundred years ago it was one way and well, now, it’s like I say in the song Depende, según como se mire, todo depende.