The story of "Recordar," Ani Cordero’s first solo album, began with a forgotten memory – a musical one.
After falling in love with "Tengo La Piel Cansada de la Tarde," a 1969 song by Argentine singer Piero, the Brooklyn indie musician told her mother about her "discovery" – only to find out that her Puerto Rican parent had played it to her over and over as a kid.
That event set her on the path to pick and record 11 songs that had shaped the history of Latin America in the second half of the 20th Century with a contemporary perspective. And the result – which ranges from Atahualpa Yupanqui’s "Nada Más" to Chavela Vargas’ "Macorina" and Os Mutantes’ "Panis et Circenses"- is a tour de force that could have only been pulled off by a truly bicultural artist.
On May 1, Cordero will be officially launching Recordar in the city with a show at Joe’s Pub (425 Lafayette St.).
"I think bicultural kids have a very unique experience," Cordero says about her being raised between Atlanta and San Juan.
"You always deal with the feeling of having one foot in one culture and one foot in the other, a process of trying to see where you fit – only to find you don’t fit anywhere properly or entirely.
"The language and the sounds my parents gave me are rooted in a deep way," she says about how her bicultural upbringing shaped her as a musician. "Hearing someone say ‘te quiero’ has a different meaning than when someone says ‘I love you.’ "
The most daunting song to tackle, says Cordero, was Violeta Parra’s classic "Volver a los 17," a song that "stretched" her as an artist and forced her to "dabble into electronica."
"I can imagine we could have been friends somehow," she says of the late Chilean composer. "She has this way of speaking the truth. It’s not like she shies away from it at all. She just approaches it from a gentle way."
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