DePedro - Jairo Zavala

Nat Geo Music

My global view began very specifically, as I’m sure it did for many North Americans, with my first look through the pages of National Geographic Magazine. My father had copies that dated back all the way to 1945. I recall being awestruck by a black and white photo taken from the air of the mushroom cloud rising over Hiroshima. Fortunately, my fascination with the world wasn’t inspired only by the horrific. As the years passed from black and white to colour and the stunning images became even more breath-taking, occasionally, the magazine would also treat its subscribers to a paper thin, plastic recording as a bonus insert. I couldn’t wait to set it on an LP and lower the tone arm to sample some weird recording from far away. Eventually, my dad even got a National Geographic album called Sounds Of Africa which I found myself returning to again and again. Of course it makes perfect sense and comes as little surprise to me that the musical arm of National Geographic has finally debuted. It’s also no surprise that Nat Geo’s very first offering would so completely engage me. DePedro is the first solo effort by Madrid-based guitarist, Jairo Zavala. Along with gaining renown in Spanish rock and blues with bands like Amparanoia and Los Coronas, he’s been a contributor to my favorite craftsmen of desert atmosphere, Calexico. Joey Burns and John Covertino form Zavala’s rhythm section of upright bass and drums respectively for the new album. In this case, familiarity breeds brilliance. Zavala's voice and subtle, cool sense of melody takes the listener down that same dusty trail as Calexico, maybe even a little further south of the border. Gorgeous touches of mariachi horns and western guitar twang complete an audio picture as vivid as any between the covers of National Geographic.