Macaco is a musical band from Barcelona, Spain formed in 1997 by Dani Carbonell, who was also one of the original lead singers of the new flamenco group Ojos de Brujo. Carbonell left Ojos de Brujo after the debut album, Vengue in 2001, but has continued to make guest appearances on the group’s later albums.
Prior to his singing career, Carbonell had dubbed over Sean Astin’s character Mikey Walsh in the 1985 film Goonies.
The members, from different countries such as Brazil, Cameroon, Sweden, Venezuela and Spain, give to its music a mixed color, with electro accents of Latin music and rumba.
Carbonell sings in Spanish and Catalan, but also in Portuguese, French, English and Italian.
Many of their songs are played in the EA Sports video games FIFA : “Moving” (from his fifth album, Puerto Presente, released in 2009) appeared in FIFA 09, “Hacen Falta Dos” (released in an EP version of Puerto Presente) appeared in FIFA 10 and “Una Sola Voz” (from his latest album, 2012’s El Murmullo del Fuego) appeared in FIFA 12.
Macaco’s new album starts like this: “Sure thing is that the sun, like a huge broomstick, suddenly shattered the fog and pushed it far away”. It popped and just vanished! That’s the voice of José Saramago, who initiates the record as if wanting to encourage its character, marking the direction of the 14 songs of a brilliant, lively and positive album, thrusted forward by global, rhythmical and stimulating music. An album to listen, dance and imagine things to. With clear sounding choruses and verses full of subtleties.
El murmullo del fuego” is above all, an enlightening album, that opens doors and windows to inject a dose of happiness in times of shadows with songs that go for the natural, the simple, the artisan, at all times with this ability to compose verses that hook you into hymnotic songs, (yes, with m of hymn), with strong ethno-musical roots, reggae and its descendants as the main source of inspiration.
“El murmullo del fuego” starts with this brief instrumental intro, with a text in Portuguese and voice-over from the Nobel Price winner in Literature, extracted from the movie “José y Pilar” (José and Pilar) by Miguel Mendes and leaves room for “Una sola voz” (One single voice) that starts with a quote from sir Isaac Newton (“Unity is variety and variety in unity is the supreme law of the universe”) and the voice of Macaco singing ” We will be one voice, if your heart and mine are singing at the same tempo” It smells like the colors of Brasil, in a song with a strong presence of percussions, lefties and choirs from Jobim’s homeland, arranged with imagination to launch a message of unity, globality, full of subtleties and with a clear absence of pamphlet-like terms.
Hereafter, “La Llama” (The flame) (“The flame is lit, the flame of this sun. It are the brave eyes, transparent eyes, eyes that look straight, it are the people’s eyes”), it’s a rumba-ska which takes on a a very lively rhythm and “Love is the only way” (“For some, love is awakening, a vaccine that can’t be sold, a dance by two in sync, if the sum is right it amounts to three or more…”) is dedicated to master Mario Benedetti and is the first single of the album, accompanied by an impacting video, directed by Gustavo Carballo, capable of bringing together countries, races, languages, generations, ages, genders and cultures… “The idea was to obtain a global unification, a planetary one, through dance and music, explains Carballo. “When people dance, there are no differences, we absorb the energy each moment gives us and the song fits perfectly with this idea”.
The video “Love is the only way” has been filmed in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Cameroon, China, Spain, Korea and even in a Saharan camp. It’s a succession of images that impress, teach, stimulate, that let us open-up to other worlds, to other ways of being and thinking, accompanying a rhythmical and danceable song, sung in Spanish and English with a chorus that seems to have been taken out of the hat of master Bob Marley himself, with a fine mix of percussions and by the roots which clearly define Macaco’s style.
After “Love is the Only Way”, comes “Sol”(Sun) (“If happiness is a state of mind, I look for it under the sun”), accompanied by Reggae funk rhythms inspired by the classics of the 70s, with big rhythmic impulses. “La memoria de mis pulgares” (“The memory of my thumbs”) (“You were so inside of me that I didn’t see you, but today you appeared in a remote place of the memory of my thumbs…”) it also resembles Jamaican rhythms, this time more relaxed with an acoustic meaning, it’s lyrical and has a great groove, whereas “Caminaré” (I’ll walk) (“I’ll walk in the world of dreams. Unwrapped, with no owner, nor a roof, come on”) it’s a mix of “Rumba de Barcelona” with border guitars, also agile, with an organic atmosphere and with another robust chorus.
Starting with the second half of the album, “Quema” (Burns) (“I’m a leaf navigating on the back of a river”) is sustained in an imaginative rhythmic arrangement of percussions with ethnic and organic scents in which Macaco talks again about his love for nature, using in this occasion a more poetic and less obvious tone. “Calling out your Name” (“I want to show you all the cards, trading them with you, for the matches to be made equal”) it’s one of the calmest songs on the album, easy-going, intimate, emotional, full of Dylanian influences, hardly even led by an acoustic guitar and “Brindo por tí” (I toast to you) (“Let’s toast to life, because life gives it to us”) with potent rhythms by Rocksteady and melodies with great opennes, culminating into another sublime chorus.
And towards the end, “Lagrimas secas” (dry tears) (“I was a pause in time, a street without exit. I was arrowed and injured, grilled and ash”) goes at an excellent rhythmical pulse, original and resorts again to rumba, telling a heartbreaking story, whereas “Dime” (Tell me) (“Tell me towards where the days are going, tell me where they’ll go when they finish, tell me where they will come from”) is another danceable hymn, open and encouraging with this great swing feel in Dani Macaco’s voice. To finish and sung in Catalan, “La República de la tramuntana” (The republic of the Tramuntana) (“For all those who want to be welcome, for all those who want to be touched, I present them the republic of the tramuntana”) it’s a beautiful song, slow, calm, lyrical, Mediterranean, very well made with guitar and chord arrangements and “Hoy” (Today) (“Today we start again. Today we lift our arms, we change the rhythm”) and ends with “El Murmullo del fuego” with a slow reggae, with a well balanced out rhythm and a Dani Macaco performing the song exquisitely and some choirs resembling gospel at the beginning, adding classicism. An excellent ending to the album.
It are the 14 songs of “El murmullo del fuego”, a fully composed album by Dani Macaco, produced by Dani Macaco, Jules Bikôkô and Roger Rodés. Apart from producing, Bikôko and Rodés in the instrumental part are in charge of the lion part, taking care of keyboards, guitars, base, choirs and percussion. Alongside them, Didak Fernández at the drums and percussion, Thomas Tirtha Rundquist on the electric and acoustic guitars and Miki Ramírez on the Spanish guitar make a real difference amongst an array of musicians that worked on the album, which has a certain type of organic character, without all that programming, offering us a Macaco, dedicated to the main cause of standing behind the songs in a way only a true music wizard would be capable of doing.
The publication of “El Murmullo del Fuego” coincided with Dani Macaco’s first published book, “Loving in a small way”, through the publishing house Random House Mondadori, a book that includes a nice selection of aphorisms, rhymes, thoughts, poems and snapshots taken by Macaco during his trips, coinciding with the composition period of the new songs on his new album.
It’s his sixth studio album and succeeds “Puerto Presente” (Present Port) and “El Vecindario” (The neighbourhood), for which Macaco has achieved his greatest career success. “Puerto Presente” was number 1 and turned platinum in Spain, won the Ondas price for Best album and the music prize (Best video), Top 40 prize (Best video) and the Rolling Stone Price. His 1st single (Moving) has beaten all Spanish records: Three Platinum discs in digital downloads, number 1 in sales, number 1 on the radio, number 1 in ringtones, elected song of the year by the readers of Spanish newspaper “El Pais” and nominated for the Latin Grammy’s as the best alternative song as well as for the MTV Europe Music Awards.