Yuri Buenaventura will perform in concert this Friday, July 8 at Square André-Chénier en Off, at. Meeting with the Colombian salsa singer.
What elements of your life made you want to write?
I have been writing since I was little, I learned to write and read with my mother. We lived in a small house, the walls were made of wood, so to keep the rain out, my mother stuck leaves with leaves, I learned to read on the walls, on the sides of the house. As I read, I asked her questions, so I got used to writing with my mother. I wrote to her, she motivated me to do it, it was a bit like my Ipad, she gave it to me to pretend you are giving something to a child so they do not bother you. My first song I had to write it when I was 7 years old. I then went on to write in college. The concept of writing to get into the industry, to produce really intruded when I wanted to release my first record.
When you entered the record industry, did your way of working change?
Yes, the industry imposes rules on popular music or variety writers. Already the music itself imposes. Back then we made 10-minute records and the record company asked us to make 7-minute records, little by little we went for 5 minutes and then 4 minutes. It is also the radio that has influenced these formulas. Society wanted to consume faster. For the Pablo Escobar series on Netflix, I had to make 300 tracks. It’s another thing to make film music: You have to base yourself on the image, the emotions, the era, the cadence, the ethnic musical color, there are other conditions for creation and production. And in Latin America, there are a lot of music cultures between the Caribbean and South America.
In an interview with Marlon Bacerna in 2015, he told you that you are very well known in France, but not enough in Colombia, how has it developed?
At that time I was very much in France and not much in Colombia. The fact that everyone told me that it made me work a lot more in Colombia, almost forgetting all about France (laughs). I did not want to go into this Anglo-Saxon American industry of marketing and digital: I remained a musician playing the cultural heritage of a continent with salsa, always influenced by Francophone. It is punitive not to go into this industrial commercial universe, into the dynamics of Miami, and into the caricature of our own culture. Because if you follow them, you put on a hat, you hire a dozen old people who smoke tobacco, and you make a video a little in misery, in distress … It’s marketing. I never did, and when I was younger I never used girls as an object to sell my music. It was simple, transparent music. I’m not in the spotlight of television or the media, but I have a musical content, a catalog and a job and always this desire to defend the people, the human. I see myself doing this until I’m 90.
How would you describe your link to France?
Like a declaration of love, like a boy saying to a woman “I love you”. I think that could be the title of our capitalization interview. I learned many things from the Republic. You have a very beautiful landscape which is very diversified, it is always the same elements of nature but what makes the difference in everything that lives in this area. The difference is all that this territory does culturally by people, and culture becomes a thought, a philosophical, political, economic position. I think what you have done with your republic is something I like: we defend human rights, democracy, justice. While not always ideal, I have a love for the values of the republic. This special love guides me in my music.
A historic episode took place in Colombia, Gustavo Petro, left-wing candidate was elected to the presidential election, what do you think?
I believe that we Colombians have made a choice and there is a democratic maturity among the Colombian people who have driven these changes. Now we must work for the nation, the fatherland, to build it. It’s a page that turns and we can not go back. It has been decided that democracy is installed. I have texts that have held this position for a long time, which talk about massacres, hostage-taking and suffering. It has already had this speech throughout my musical work. Colombia will take new paths and free itself from corruption, I hope.