Para espantar el sueño (1978)
I personally consider this magical album a transitional work between Candombe del 31 and Aquello. Like all albums, this one in particular is meant to be listened to from beginning to end, nonstop. The following track is my favorite, a murga-song featuring a stirring redoblante [snare drum] performance by Jorge Trasante, one of Uruguay’s top percussionists (and drummer for the Gypsy Kings during their heyday).
Liner notes by Guilherme de Alencar Pinto: “In May of 1977, after staying in Uruguay for the release of Candombe del 31, Jaime and his girlfriend Franca Aerts resumed their hitchhiking trip through Latin America. From Maceió [Brazil] they returned to Europe by ship, arriving in August. Jaime resumed his activity as a professional musician mainly in Paris, although he also had seasons in Iraq, England and Italy.
In December he met Jacques Subileau, artistic director of the French label Atmosfera. Subileau had lived in Argentina and was very knowledgeable of Latin American music. One of Atmosfera’s specialties was the reissues of Argentine records. Jaime showed him Candombe del 31, Subileau became interested and decided to produce a new record, to which he assigned 120 recording hours.
Of the new repertoire, ‘Sí señor’ was a remake of a murga composed by Jaime in 1975 (before going to Europe), ‘Sí sí sí’ (a candombe-song) was written in Montevideo in March 1977 [years later he’d record a superb alternate version for Sur], and the remaining songs were written after he returned to Paris.
Studio Frémontel, located two kilometers from La Fidelaire (Normandy), was in the middle of a rural area and had a chalet where the musicians could stay. It was the fashionable studio for the French folk scene, ideal to work with maximum concentration. The recording took place in four-day monthly sessions from May to July 1978. The mix was done in August, with Jaime already established in Amsterdam. It was the only record in his career that didn’t exceed the recording hours assigned by the label.
Almost all of the guest musicians were rioplatenses who lived in France. Jaime had performed in Uruguay with [Jorge] Trasante (in Aguaragua) and Daniel Haedo (in the carnival group Las Ranas). The presence of the former was key for this record based on murga and candombe. Horo Ansata and Carlos Grosso are from Argentina. The only Frenchman in the team was Emmanuelle Parrenin (then-wife of Bruno Menny), a player of ancient and folk instruments. Menny was a sound technician highly respected in his scene. It was his proposal (among many others) to record the ‘Retirada’ snare drums outdoors (as can be seen in the inner photo).
Jaime considers that the album’s trance-like moments and extended running times were due to his recent experiences (hours inside a truck on straight highways, traveling through a desert on a pick-up truck, 16 days on a cargo ship) and the influence of records of the time, like Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life and Joni Mitchell’s Hejirah. The highway is particularly present in ‘Para espantar el sueño’ and ‘Todo un país detrás,’ where he tried to remind us of the running of a truck and a pick-up truck, respectively. The music for ‘Las cosas malas’ and ‘Duérmase la mamá’ were composed in Baghdad. The latter combines his Eastern impressions with Franca’s pregnancy (Yamandú would be born in June).
The album cover was entrusted to Argentine illustrator Napo. With no guidelines whatsoever, after listening to the music he came up with the concept of that face impregnated by a Latin American landscape. Jaime considered appropriate that, for the European public, the specific genres of each song be indicated [on the back cover].
Para espantar el sueño was well received by French critics and ‘Sí sí sí’ had some radio air time. Jaime had a release concert in March 1979 in Paris; it was his only live show of his own music during the time he lived there. Because of the lack of continuous live support, the album would end up forgotten in France. But not in Uruguay, were it was released in 1979 by Ayuí. Despite Jaime’s absence, within the effervescent context of Canto Popular the album had a good impact, ‘Retirada’ was influential and received plenty of air time, and local sales in vinyl and cassette exceeded 1,000 copies.”
Next page: 1980’s Aquello.