Language arts

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Even if you don’t speak Spanish, you shouldn’t have a problem understanding Dani “Macaco” Carbonell. The Barcelona-based pop star is making his first stop in Brooklyn as part of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s “New Voices from Spain” program on Oct. 27, and according to him, music transcends language.

“In the US, there’s a big mix of cultures,” the singer told GO Brooklyn. “I hope people enjoy the show, and I hope I can make people sensitive with their eyes and ears. What I want is to get the people’s attention, to inspire them, to dance and to express themselves.”

Touring in support of his latest record, “Ingravitto,” the first to be released stateside, Macaco said he was concerned with the importance of communication.

“There is a lot of information going on today,” he stated in a DVD accompanying the album. “We’ve got the internet, the iPod and other gadgets, but many times we just forget to look in the eye, sit down and have a conversati­on.”

And with his new record, he attempts to do that with everyone who can listen; songs in Spanish, English, Portuguese, French, Italian and Catalan are included.

“I believe that one of the reasons that [my band] has been so successful is that I am just being myself,” said Macaco, whose nickname is Portuguese for “Monkey.” “All I know about my life and my music, I put it in my songs.”

Although these songs have a strong electronic presence, Macaco said that he is mostly inspired by sounds that he grew up with.

“My influence comes from rumba Catalana, the music of my grandparents, so I believe I am a mix of that and also of reggae singers like [Bob] Marley and Peter Tosh. Rumba Catalana, rumba Latina and reggae music have a great connection. You play the guitar a bit slower, and it becomes reggae. It’s somehow very close, although the origins are very far [from each other].”

In addition to growing up with musical influences, the singer has played shows all over the world, visiting places that have led to new bouts of inspiration.

“Touring all around the world in countries like Brazil, Germany, England and France, I wanted to give each of these places a little present when it came to the CD,” he explained. “When I go to an Anglo country, I know that my English is not perfect, but I think I can communicate well enough.”

So when he comes to Brooklyn, he plans on bringing a whole act — music, projections and more — to make sure that his message can cross any language barrier.

“Though the music that I make is very local, it is also very international, and I think it works in every place. We try to communicate with images, with moving, and with the music in the way that the lyrics are not so important,” he said. “If you don’t understand Spanish, I think the communication can be very good. There is also the material in English and in Portuguese, so we do a mix that have our roots as a basis.”

No matter what your mother tongue is, Macaco is convinced that he speaks your language.

“The only thing that I believe in this life is that communication can save the world,” he says. “As musicians, we have a mission of communicating across the music.”

Macaco will perform as part of the “New Voices from Spain” program at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Opera House (30 Lafayette Ave. at Ashland Place in Fort Greene) at 8 pm on Oct. 27. Tickets are $20 and $25. For information, call (718) 636-4100 or visit

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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Reasonable discourse

Irine says:
Very informative article. Made me want to see their show.
Oct. 27, 2007, 7:30 am

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