3/4/16 A MADRILEÑO IN TUCSON
JAIRO ZAVALA, ALSO KNOWN AS DEPEDRO, IS TAKING A ROUGHLY 10-MINUTE BREAK AT THE HISTORIC HOTEL CONGRESS IN DOWNTOWN TUCSON IN BETWEEN STUDIO TIME.
It’s a late chilly Wednesday afternoon in January and this warm 40-something-year-old musician is looking forward to going back home to Spain in the next 24 hours. Jairo is also excited about the future plans with his musical project Depedro, which include the release of his music documentary “Casamance: Soundtrack of a Journey.” Jairo filmed it in Senegal almost two years ago, and is scheduled to come out sometime next year.
He says his family lived in Equatorial Guinea—roughly until 1968, when the Central African country ceased to be a Spanish colony. Jairo was born in Madrid five years later, but the African influence his parents brought back with them continues to linger, and that’s perfectly reflected in Depredro’s style.
Just a couple of days earlier, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Jairo performed at an outdoor concert for the Tucson Jazz Festival.
THIS MADRID NATIVE, OR MADRILEÑO, GUITARIST-SINGER-SONGWRITER HAD BEEN ROAMING THE DESERT SINCE LATE DECEMBER.
Jairo rented a place in the beloved Barrio Viejo through the beginning of January, to continue the work on his fourth album at WaveLab Recording Studio. A good friend from Mexico City was visiting Tucson for the first time to document Jairo’s musical trajectory in the desert. Dear brothers-at-heart and fellow Calexico band members Joey Burns and John Convertino, as well as Devotchka’s Tom Hagerman, collaborated in a couple of songs at WaveLab. Guatemalan singer Gaby Moreno, who toured in Europe with Calexico last year—and will join the band again this year—flew in from the Central American country to also lend her beautiful vocals. Zavala collaborates with Calexico playing the guitar and sometimes the bazouki (Google that). At the end of February, the madrileño is headed to Australia and New Zealand for a 10-day tour that begins March 5. He says his new album isn’t coming out until October, and, sadly, he won’t get to visit the Old Pueblo probably until next year. “I have a family, and I have to see them every once in a while. My wife stopped watching me perform 15 years ago,” he jokes. “No… She has to work and my kids are in school.”
A “proper” tour in the Americas is on his radar, which would include a show in Tucson. He loves it here.