Alejo Aponte & Latonera kicked off their ‘Gente USA 2010’ tour earlier this year in July to promote the release of their ‘Gente’ album in the United States. The album had been released in Colombia in 2009. While on tour Alejo Aponte spoke to Gozamos about his the release of their album, inspirations gained throughout the tour and the appreciation they have for their audiences. “We’re really motivated, we’ve met great people. It’s great that we come from Colombia and play for audiences that have never heard of us and they like our music. There’s no necessity in learning their language. We’ve demonstrated our culture and have united cultures with our music,” said Aponte.
Gozamos: For those that aren’t familiar with your work, can you describe it?
Alejo Aponte: Our music has been under world music and that’s our genre. To go in depth, our music is founded from Colombian music, it also has a lot of funk, Afro-beat and some rock mixed in as well, that’s our music. It’s world music with Latino flavor.
G: Do you want to leave a message to your audience with your music or do you perform and create sounds for the rhythm and love of the music?
AA: You have both, usually I try to put the music to get to the audience, to allow them to move. In the case of the lyrics of the music, some are experiences and the others are not much about getting people to think. They’re about getting people to feel, to feel the need to move to feel one with music and where you’re from.
G: How long have you been recording for?
AA: I’ve been playing my songs for about 12 years. I’m in a different group now and we’ve been together for four years. We’ve united and have been compiling this new album since. Nonetheless I’ve been developing and composing my music for 12 years and each CD that I’ve made has had something different. I can say that this album has world-music but with a taste of pop. Prior to this album the music was a bit more experimental but, in the end the music is far more urban.
G: Your new album is named ‘Gente,’ is it dedicated to the people that follow your music?
AA: It’s an album that’s dedicated to diversity, that was conceived in an international context. Like various people and cultures. It’s dedicated to the people and diversity, not only the Colombians or Latinos but everyone from everywhere. It’s also named ‘Gente’ because a lot of people contributed to the album, it took inviting those contributors from everywhere to complete the album. Part of the idea for this album, that happened to have been recorded in New York, was to invite people from different places. Having a mix of persons from different parts of the world gave the album it’s universal vibe.
G: Did you ask any particular artists to participate in this album?
AA: Yes, we had Mark Ribot, whom is an important American guitarist and has worked with other important artists like Roger Waters and Cerati among others. I was fortunate enough to have him record the album with us. We had Fonseca and other Latino artists that live in New York, other persons that where part of my other bands also participated. They all put their part onto the album. Beginning with the producer, Hector Castillo, he has worked with great artists such as Bjork, David Bowie and the list goes of popular artists goes on. All of that diversion is exactly what we were looking for.
G: Working with Castillo, do you take pride in having worked for him as you do towards your work?
AA: Of course! It’s a great privilege having had worked with him. We took time to decide who we wanted to work with. He and I shared the same ideas, we had chemistry when it came to production. It was important working with him, I learned to see the person he is and he is a great person. I’m happy with the work on this album, it’s an important album for me. I feel it really represents what I feel when I made the music for, ‘Gente.’
G: What inspires you to compose?
AA: This album was based on my experiences from my trips through the United States and Europe. One song in particular came up while I was in Los Angeles in a place where there was a diverse crowd. In reality a lot of my inspirations come from Latino and ethnic music, they’re always the root of my music. Aesthetically I feel close to the music, or I’ve listened to a lot of music from Miles Davis, Bob Marley, AC/DC there’s a lot of influences and I take advantage of what I listen to, it inspires me to make more music. I listen to it all.
G: Some say, ‘music is universal,’ do you incorporate that onto your thoughts and music?
AA: Yes of course. Music is universal and in some way people respond to music with how they feel. You don’t need to know or understand music to enjoy it. You don’t need a book, nor do you need to learn French. Music unites. It only requires for you to listen and feel. You can make it here or any other part of the world. That’s what makes it so powerful, that’s why people love it.