"I'm just tired of being a foreigner," says Federico Aubele who has been living away from his native Argentina (in Berlin & Barcelona) and touring the world for 5 years, "I need to go back home to Buenos Aires." Despite some of the remaining effects from Argentina's economic and political crisis in 2001, Aubele loves Buenos Aires. "It's like going out with a crazy, but incredibly beautiful, charming and seductive woman. She might drive you insane at times, but when you take a step back and look at her, you're reminded how much you love her and why."
Aubele's longings for Buenos Aires and South America as a whole, sets the tone for his new album, "Panamericana", slated for worldwide release in September 2007. "I wanted to make an album influenced by the idea of The Americas," says Aubele. He notes that although each country has its own, sometimes brutal, history, The Americas possess a unique concoction of people: indigenous populations, former slaves, and constant waves of immigrants from every part of the world. "I find the cultural clashes, mixes and blends that have occurred over time exciting, fresh, and very young when you compare it with Europe or Asia."
The Pan-American Highway, Via PanAmericana in Spanish, is a network of roads that stretches from Fairbanks, Alaska to Cape Horn, Argentina, nearly the length of both North & South America. "I think that being a foreigner in Europe made me start looking at the Americas a lot more closely, distance can do that," muses Aubele, "when I thought about it, all of my musical influences originate from American countries, be it dub/reggae from Jamaica, Mexican bolero, Argentine tango, or old school US hip-hop. So the idea and the actuality of a road that links these disparate places and cultures together became a very strong influence on the album. Since the Panamericana was officially commissioned in Buenos Aires," he continues, "it became the perfect metaphor."
On the 13 tracked "Panamericana," one hears guitars, the bandoneon, and horns that play out Latin rhythms. There are tango influences, a touch of bolero, reggae/dub bass lines, hip-hop beats, and electronic sounds. Vocals, all in Spanish, float in a smooth and sensual way over congas, drums and heavy bass beats. Aubele, who wrote all songs and lyrics-with the exception of "Lluvia," lyrics written by Gonzal Garces-sings solos and duets on 6 of the tracks. A variety of South American artists are featured throughout "Panamericana," such as singer/songwriter Amparo Sanchez of Amparanoia, the Columbian singer Vernie Varela, and Natalia Clavier, one of Aubele's live show singers. Among other groups who collaborated on "Panamericana" are Calexico (trumpets and wah guitars), and the legendary Argentinean Latin ska band Los Fabulosos Cadillacs (horn section). Eric Hilton of Thievery Corporation produced the album from the ESL Music Consulate in Washington, DC.
"Panamericana is more of a songwriter's album," says Aubele, when comparing it to his first release "Gran Hotel Buenos Aires" (ESL Music, 2004). "Although aspects of the sound are similar, the songwriting on 'Panamericana' is more solid, and immediate." Through it all, "Panamericana" is about memories and a longing for more familiar confines. Aubele says, "Life takes a different shape when you are living abroad. Your relationship becomes your country, your memories weigh on you in different and unpredictable ways, you long for moments that are frozen in time and can't be recaptured, it's all very strange. Then when your relationship ends you realize, 'What am I doing here?' I just want to go back home."
Written by Nina Roberts & Mat Whittington