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Nano Stern’s path as an artist follows richly crafted song lines laid by his family and his Chilean musical ancestry, and unites those with a sound utterly fresh and relevant. The confluence of recent student and environmental political events in his home country Chile and Nano’s rise as an articulate writer and performer have, much to his chagrin, positioned him as the voice of a newly politicized Chilean generation.
The grandson of Jewish refugees fleeing persecution, Nano’s childhood was painted vivid by not only his own family’s activism and musicianship but by the powerful legacy of the Nueva Canción movement lead by Chilean musical activists during Pinochet’s dictatorship a generation before. Legends like Inti-Illimani and Victor Jara- who suffered exile and even death during these troubling times- continue to inspire Nano’s breadth of sound and emotion. “I am extremely respectful of the tradition,” explains Stern, “It is an enormous gift we received from the people of the past.”
Fernando Daniel Stern Britzmann, aka Nano Stern, showed why he is one of the leading exponents of a new generation of Chilean “canto popular” singers-songwriters.
– Santiago Times, Lollapalooza (2014)
When only fifteen, Nano joined popular Chilean underground band, Mattoral, and thus was initiated into the fresh, new sounds and socio-political pulse of the South American rock/punk scene. The thick rock-energy of Mattoral, his classical and jazz training, and the powerful influence of traditional, Chilean revolutionary music make for something purely Nano. What has emerged is a powerhouse artist, brilliantly layering indigenous, African, and European elements into a sound all his own, and humbly bringing audiences to tears, to their feet, and to reverie with a singular kind of emotion and soulfulness unlike any other South American artist performing today. “I’m generally working to create a language of my own,” he says. The world emphatically agrees.
Joachim Cooder grew up surrounded by music. His Father, guitarist Ry Cooder, would take him on the road at an early age, first as a viewer, and in his early teens, as a player.
Joachim’s first instrument was the drums, playing with Ry both live and in the studio. These touring and recording projects allowed him to share stages and recordings with Johnny Cash, Ali Farke Toure, V. M. Bhatt, Steve Earle, John Lee Hooker, Dr. John, Nick Lowe, and most notably the Buena Vista Social Club. Over the years Joachim has maintained this close relationship with his father, solidifying his reputation as a lyrical drummer, and branching out on projects of his own.
Joachim produced Carly Ritter’s self-titled album (Tex Ritter’s Granddaughter), and composed the score for films such as the cult surf classic Shelter and Charged:The Eduardo Garcia Story, which recently premiered at The Santa Barbara Film Festival (Winner, Audience Choice Award). His collaborations have taken him into the world of dance where he teamed up with choreographer Daniel Ezralow (Across The Universe, Spider Man: Turn The Dark Off) to compose and perform live in an Ezralow Dance career retrospective.
But it wasn’t until his wife and long time collaborator Juliette Commagere became pregnant that he began writing and singing his own songs. “We were in Nashville to produce a friend’s record in January- it was snowing- every morning I would wake up and play my electric mbira I brought through a little amp and start singing,” Joachim says. It became the beginning of his solo project and eventual EP titled Fuchsia Machu Picchu.The songs are about longing, love, plants, and the inner life of inanimate objects.
The sound is very much inspired by the world music he grew up. “I’m always hearing some sort of defunct cosmic ice cream truck in my head- that’s the sound I’m after with my mbiras and tank drums and other tuned percussion. Hopefully people will get that.”