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Damon Albarn: “El nacionalismo nunca es la respuesta”

El genio que definió el ‘britpop’ en los 90 con Blur y marcó el inicio del siglo con Gorillaz habla en exclusiva para ‘La Esfera’ sobre fronteras e identidad cultural, antes de su paso por el festival Bilbao BBK Live con The Good, the Bad and the Queen

by Darío Prieto

Con Damon Albarn (Londres, 1968) cuesta tirar de exageraciones. Se podría escribir que es el músico más hiperactivo del mundo, el que ha marcado el cambio de siglo (y de milenio) con sus múltiples proyectos, el que reventó el Britpop con Blur, creó el primer gran grupo virtual con Gorillaz y acercó a Occidente músicas hasta entonces exóticas con Africa Express… Pero entonces llegaría él con su sonrisa perezosa -diente de oro asomando por un lateral-, su andar como de haber nacido cansado y su voz amortiguada para echar por tierra todas las hipérboles. Read More

Sixty Seconds with Damon Albarn

The 51-year-old, who’s on tour with his band The Good, The Bad & The Queen, on Morris dancing, Brexit and Parklife

Is it challenging to go on tour with your album Merrie Land? It’s a sorrowful Brexit lament…

Indeed. I’m comfortable with singing it. This record is as odd as the times. It’s not escapism. It’s more a kind of wonky story… I really enjoy travelling around the country, setting out your little stall, singing your songs and then leaving. It’s quite meditative in a way.

Your song The Truce Of Twilight references the Dorset Ooser, this extraordinary horned wooden head used in Morris dance. Is English folk ritual important to you?

Very much so. That’s my core, my soul. I’m fascinated by Morris dancing. I’ve found the greatest kinship with that old folk pagan idea when visiting other parts of the world. We’re all folk. We all have our spirituality, and it’s a shared thing, not something that divides us. Read More

An Interview with Damon Albarn and Paul Simonon

by Nick Coleman

Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz) and Paul Simonon (The Clash) have a new group together. It’s called the Good, the Bad and the Queen. The music they play is loose like comfy clothes and stylistically untucked—English songs constructed without zips and buttons, but underpinned with a twangy gusset courtesy of Tony Allen, the Nigerian drum master. Their first, eponymous album was released in early 2007 on the Parlophone/ Honest Jons label.

If the group has a purpose, it is to explore themes arising from Albarn and Simonon’s mutual love of their home territory: North Kensington, that storied part of west London mythologized by The Clash following the fiery race riots of ’76. This handsomely decayed (and renewed) couple of square miles is variously identified as “Notting Hill,” “Ladbroke Grove” and “Portobello” by those who live there, depending on which bit of it they choose to identify themselves with. “Notting Hill” usually means well-heeled bohemian; “Portobello” means mercantile bohemian; “Ladbroke Grove” or “The Grove” means you have a lot of reggae records. Well, it used to. Paul Simonon has spent much of the past thirty years drawing and painting the area: its people, its weather, its fetishes, its street furniture, its debris. The area proudly retains a melting-pot identity, but be aware: there’s an awful lot more money now than there was in ’76.

The Believer met Paul and Damon in a swanky new café off Powis Square. Both men wore black pinstripe suits and open-necked shirts, Paul’s in the open-weave, big-collared Jamaican style. He wore a key round his neck on a chain. The cafe would not permit the members of the Good, the Bad and the Queen to smoke. Read More