It’s no little known secret that a country once suffocated under a brutal dictatorship, has now experienced a cultural rebirth and contributed dozens of bands ranging from electro-pop fusions to hip-hop hybrids to indie-folk creations back out to the world.
In this resurgence, Chile’s music scene, despite all its facets, has valued artistic integrity above all. Musicians here seem to have an affinity for the simplicity of making music to make art. Performance and entertaining live, is not uniquely of the essence. And if they must perform their art, they do so almost begrudgingly.
Insert, Gepe (aka Daniel Riveros), to this conversation.
Had you asked me 4 years ago how his live shows were, I may have used words like, “lifeless, dull, and blah,” despite being an enormous fan of his music.
He is heralded as one of the best of all time by Rolling Stone in Chile & Argentina, and is among Chile’s most talented and prolific musicians. He has released 3 solid albums, each with a growing array of production and his collaborations with other musicians are consistently solid. He has also had huge success on blogs and packed in crowds at international music festivals. But on stage it never looked as though he was completely enjoying the process.
Well who knows what changed, or why, but I am so, so, happy it did!
It appears that Gepe has found a way for his art and his success to coexist without loosing any integrity. Or at least it appears he is at peace with the idea that this music he has made solely for the love of artistic expression, may be consumed by an industry and the masses.
Gepe’s live shows are now full of life, engaging, and best of all, his performances now do his recordings of carefully crafted pop songs, mixed with a 60’s Chilean folk, singer/songwriter, sensibilities justice.
With a fourth album on the way the lead single, “Hambre,” sounds big and is a danceable jam that demonstrates evolution. It’s upbeat, flirts a tiny bit with tropical reggaeton, and features Wendy Sulca; another one of South America’s unique voices. Also, the music video is pure genius and flirts with say… cannibalism?!
Needless to say (but I’m going to do so anyway), Gepe is slowly coming out of his shell and it shows in his art.
Check him out at the Highline Ballroom on July 9th if you happen to be in NYC.