My father wasn’t talkative at all, he didn’t want to get everything dirty with words. I’m a big mouth. My father didn’t talk much, sometimes he wouldn’t even say a word, he used to make sounds like a grunt or a little laugh. Just a glance was enough. Nothing else was needed.
I thought a lot about my father listening to “The Passenger” because is a quiet but soundful record, simple but loaded with worlds, tight but infinite, a record were nothing feels unwanted, sometimes magical, different from almost everything we listen to, a record with its own literary and sounorous language. That’s surprising: Nonconformity, Jairo Zavala’s endless search, its universe reaches unity, absolutely moving and transforming coherence and depth. Nobody remains the same after diving in “The Passenger”.
Jairo says that his passenger has nothing to do with Iggy Pop’s. He’s not the one behind the wheel, he’s just an observer enjoying the trip, surviving the trip, learning from the trip, becoming the trip. That passenger could be anyone who Jairo ran into while traveling the world tirelessly. Those who chase every single day they live with hope, those invisible subjects starring songs like “Déjalo ir”, a track inviting us to listen to those we don’t listen.
Those passengers covering the “Panamericana” everyday, the american vein crossing from Alaska to Tierra de Fuego, this metaphor of a great human journey now has an anthem, the opening song makes you think and dance, it makes you laugh and scratches you. Most of them arrive or cross DF, capital city of Mexico, to which the passenger DePedro sings along with Bunbury, showing how to fill a city with sound. Finding its counterpoint with “Hay algo ahí”, letting us know that not everything is wrong or lost, there’s a lot of good will in those who form the world.
There’s a glimpse to the first Passengers, Africa. The energy unleashed in this record comes straight from that continent, after more than 3 years from “Un hombre bueno”. That energy is collected in “Gigantes” reminding you that doesn’t matter where you came from, it’s all about where you’re heading. In “Antes de que anochezca” North American and African music merge with Jairo playing the guitar making it sound like a Kora. A growing track that blooms inside, it holds you and drags you, it definitely touched Convertino at the time of recording.
The recording was the most uncertain trip for The Passenger. Jairo and the Calexicos at Tucson studios, 15 days in a freezing December, analog recording, no place for errors, untouchable, looking for emotion, the mere instant, pure honesty. Including delicious wind instruments and a string quartet, arranged by Tom Hagerman from Devotchka and played by the musicians from the philharmonic orchestra, cheered up with the sound of “Apretad, apretad que esto es rock”. And they keep pushing hypnotically in“La casa de sal” with a journey to childhood. They push their throats in “Ser valiente” another gem included in the album, proclaiming the will to live: You have to be very brave to protect what you love most.
In the mix of colors we find the brightness and enjoyment of “Solo el sonido”. The surprising hit evoking the 50s “Acuérdate”, with Gaby Moreno’s charming voice. Intimate and close to minimalist “Miedo”, a special request that leaves aftertaste to the listeting.
In “The Passenger” Jairo masters his distinctive technique: from the intimate to the global, from the personal to the social. He does it with the music too: He caresses you with the little finger and then he leaves you in the middle of the storm. Listening to “The Passenger” you feel like the world is talking to you, it makes you travel around it, and it also talks about the smallest things inside yourself, about the people you love. Maybe that’s the reason why I thought so much about my father. Maybe that’s the reason why you’ll feel so many things with this record. I could say a lot more, extend myself, but like my father used to say: “Quiet, it’s said”