Forced to cancel the launch of his international La Conquista del Espacio tour, legendary Argentine musician Fito Páez is battling through the mandatory Covid-19 lockdown with a piano and a computer, his essential tools for creation.
The tour celebrating the release of his 24th studio album was due to start in Rosario, Páez's hometown, on March 13. It would've been his 57th birthday. But the coronavirus pandemic has forced its suspension, leading to the postponement of shows in Colombia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, the United States and Spain.
Speaking to the AFP from his flat in Buenos Aires, Páez says he has not been burdened by the quarantine that has been in place in Argentina since March 20, though he admitted he was longing to experience the "adrenaline rush" of live shows.
In an interview, Páez said that if he was prepared to "conquer planets with untouched rage," he had to be content to broadcast concerts from home. His first livestreamed show, which took place on the day the lockdown was announced, was seen by 1.4 million people, according to his producer.
The next virtual show, Páez para América, takes place on May 15.
La Conquista del Espacio, the theme which gives your new album album its name, speaks of the conquest of freedom and an embrace, of artists who go through the villages "carrying their music around the sun," all things that quarantine has prevented people from doing. Is it a record of premonitions?
I don't know, I haven't dedicated myself to the hidden sciences [Laughs]. When these things happen it reminds me of a song by Charly García, Inconsciente colectivo, and it boils down to those things that happen to all of us, hidden in everybody’s heart and that affect everybody. There's a phrase from Chico Buarque that's very cute that says: 'Blind people and artists see in the dark.'
Are there flashes of this era that we are going through?
The song 'La Conquista del Espacio' and others like 'La canción de las Bestias' or 'Todo se olvida' or ‘Maëlstrom’ contain some ideas that today can be re-read in Covid-19 code, but of course they nowhere near that idea. One can come to reflect on words, on how a word in a given context acquires a more important gravity or specific weight than in others.
What about the lockdown?
I spend much of my life isolated, so for me it's not so much new. Of course, no-one wants to be bound to confinement. But I spend my life in rehearsal rooms, in this room with the piano and with the typewriter and the computer, writing either novels, scripts, stories, songs or movie soundtracks. That's all in solitude. My craft, my craftsmanship, is in solitude, you build it in solitude.
The tour was cancelled due to pandemic; what's going to happen?
We had to pick up everything and leave Rosario, my city, on my birthday. There's nothing planned yet. I sense that this year all the activity that is normally carried out with large audiences will be stopped, so we're going to have to reschedule everything. We had a planned tour throughout Latin America, a big tour, in the United States and in Europe.
You are used to giving concerts for crowds – what it is different and what is missing in a virtual concert?
I need to feel an adrenaline drive inside what I'm recounting, the story. I usually have to be involved there. First, because music is a performing art that involves the body. Second, when performing I feel an excitement that is not the same when you are not on the stage.
by Liliana Samuel, AFP