Jorge Drexler is a poet with a gift for song. The Uruguayan singer-songwriter, like the iconic Latin American lyricists of the past (Mercedes Sosa, Victor Jara and Silvio Rodriguez, to name just a few), has that rare ability to surround multi-layered prose with music that lends an even deeper resonance to the words.
Drexler has his share of fans here in the U.S., mostly Latin American expats and others whose grasp of the language allows them to appreciate the nuances of his storytelling. But, as if often the case with music performed in languages other than English, audiences here sometimes miss out on an emotional connection with artists they would otherwise celebrate if they only knew what they were singing.
So, we decided to do something about that with Jorge Drexler's appearance at the Tiny Desk. With the cooperation of the artist, we translated Drexler's thoughtful and playful ruminations on the human condition, and included them as subtitles.
Those clever lyrics wouldn't hit as hard if not for Drexler's backing band of magicians. The mix of guitarists and percussionists conjured a stunning cloud of sound that allowed Drexler to take flight, like the existential dreamer that he is.
Jorge Drexler - Vocals and Guitar
Javier Calequi - Guitar and backing vocals
Martín Leiton - Leona, guitarrón, bass and backing vocals
Carles "Campi" Campon - Electronic beats, acoustic guitar, percussion and backing vocals
Borja Barrueta - Drums, percussion and Backing Vocals
Martin Cella- Guitar, backing vocals, percussion
Producers: Felix Contreras, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Maia Stern, Beck Harlan, Dani Lyman; Production Assistants: Joshua Bote, Stefanie Fernández; Photo: Eslah Attar/NPR.