I’ve just purchased Eco, an album by Jorge Drexler on iTunes. It’s playing in the background as I write this. His song Todo Se Transforma brings to mind a Latin Jack Johnson, which makes for some very pleasurable listening. But although I love music and have an extensive playlist, things are very quiet here lately for some reason, so it’s quite telling that I’ve chosen to break the silence with Dexler’s songs.
I had never heard of Drexler until today when my DailyOm music newsletter profiled Eco, an album recorded in 2004 which, according to DailyOm “stands as the highlight of his career”. Born Jorge Abner Drexler Prada in Montevideo, Uruguay, Drexler followed in his family’s footsteps and studied medicine to become an ear, nose and throat specialist. But his love of music won him over and he released several albums from 1994 to 2004. In 2005 Drexler became the first Uruguayan ever to win an Academy Award. He was awarded for composing the song Al Otro Lado del Río for the movie The Motorcycle Diaries starring Gael García Bernal, a biographical road movie about the young Che Guevara. The organizers’ decision to replace Dexler with Carlos Santana and Antonio Banderas to perform Al Otro Lado del Río at the ceremony was the cause of some controversy and Dexler’s response was to sing a few lines of his song followed by a simple “thank you” when he received his award.
Dexler’s music is a rich blend of traditional Uruguayan music, Brazilian Bossa Nova, and mainstream pop among others, and combines to creates a smooth, rich and multifaceted experience. All this accompanied by Drexler’s soft and gentle voice (singing in Spanish throughout) makes for a pleasing journey, a sort of auditory road-trip along beautiful and unfamiliar scenery.