by rosa díaz

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  • WHIM!
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In the Summer of 2013, I met Jasmine Garsd of NPR at the Latin Alternative Music Conference. I already didn't like being there, because it felt too "commercial," but I tried to make the best of it. Knowing that my home-made album would probably get lost under all the huge stars that year, I handed it to her quickly and with little conversation. It was easy to develop a small crush on the Argentine journalist, with her gorgeous near-turquoise eyes and just full-enough but not fluffy mound of hair. Her smile was genuine, too and I was happy enough to have met both her and her colleague, Felix Contreras, both world-renowned and highly respected in their field. To my shock, my little album was featured alongside seven others as "the best of the conference during their recap show that year alongside huge artists with giant label conglomerates backing them and marketing teams of dozens. It really confirmed my belief in the need for public radio. This is what she had to say: "I don’t know anything about her… but this is what [we] do know…, she has a beautiful voice, it’s a very minimalistic arrangement, but her voice is an instrument in itself, and [WHIM is] a gorgeous album.” (Source: NPR alt.latino, July 2013)

Even though WHIM never achieved "commercial" success, it led to continued support and an ongoing relationship with Contreras, who after two years of advocating on my behalf, when huge artists like Adele and Death Cab for Cutie had crowds of millionaire publicity experts pushing to have a public radio appearance under their belt to feel "legitimized" as "artists" with an identity crisis, he was able to secure me a spot on the coveted Tiny Desk roster. Thank you, for not selling out, Mr. Contreras. I love all your Tiny Desk picks, they are real journalism, real found stories, not the laziness of publicists and marketing teams and press releases. Please don't sell out, NPR. Keep digging, keep journalism clean.

Those who shun the whimsy of things experience rigor mortis before death. -Tom Robbins

WHIM is an album of ancestry, family, ghosts and yes, cheesy love songs, in both English and Spanish. The collection begins with "Doomed," a song about doing your best, supporting your local chapter of the Salvation Army and being part of the string quartet on the Titanic. In essence, it's a cheery song in the midst of hopelessness. The hope doesn't emerge in the second track, a song written for a good friend to somehow soften the news that the songwriter was in fact not moving to New York City, after all. "Weather," still doesn't make it all better, only reminds us (again) of how little control we actually do have in the grand scheme of things--you know, big things like blizzards (during which the song was written on a lonely winter day long ago.) But alas, we can at least regret less as the ship continues to sink and we play our last movement. What else is left but to sing cheesy love songs. The overdose of sugar in "Perfect" is hidden in unintelligible phrases and over-dubbed harmonies, and a guitar solo that soars over claps recorded in the organic reverb of a bathroom in a basement in Fishtown.

"Vicio" disguises the unimaginative theme of yes, another dramatic love song with the beautiful phonetics of the Spanish language. It just all does sound better in Spanish. "Not So Bad" is exactly that, placed in the middle of the album, a plea by the songwriter for the listener to not give up on her yet--I mean. Please. There's still "Lloronsito," a (now deliberate) misspelling of the Spanish word for a male cry baby. It's the love song that the people who don't like cheesy love songs like to actually write. Satisfaction may be good enough, better than a "not-so-bad" c plus, but Abuelita saves the day. The angel/spirit of a great-grandmother with healing and prophetic powers that visits and reminds the first-generation immigrant artist that the whims she follows that many dismiss as irresponsible slacking are part of a maternal blood-lineage of strong, spiritual women, led by a gentle force, a light that doesn't always explain why, but nudges away and towards until the entire picture is later revealed as the le-lo-lai, a traditional scat of Puerto Rican folk/mountain music that can be traced to the Spaniards who first colonized the island but potentially even further, to the Moors and even North Africa. "Just Your Ghost" has an actual supernatural event recorded into the end. No, sorry, it was just a delivery truck speeding by that interrupted the session and we decided to keep in there. It sounded like a ghost, and right at the end of the song, synchronistic in the least, no? "Daddy Said Don't Force the Key," so don't. Write a song when you've actually thought you've finished an album and sneak it in because the cover photo and (yes) another blizzard inspired it. Maybe we'll make it on to one of those lifeboats, after all.


released June 8, 2012

All songs and album design: Rosa Diaz
Produced by Rosa Diaz and Joe Baldacci

Vocals, Claps, Guitar, Fiddle (in Daddy Said Don't Force the Key), Shakers, Tambourine, Cowbell (in Abuelita): Rosa Diaz

All other sounds, including, but not limited to: Electric and bass guitar, drums, other percussion, keyboard, cigar-box guitar: Joe Baldacci

Recorded and mixed by Joe Baldacci in the Fishtown suburb of Philadelphia, PA

Additional production by Andromeda X

Copyright 2012 Rosa Diaz/SESAC



all rights reserved


rosa díaz Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

I'm working on a project about men who like Charles Bukowski a little bit too much. Read more at bukowskiboys.net

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Track Name: Lloronsito
Te quiero, lloronsito,
tus lágrimas de sal

son para mi agua que brilla,
son para mi fuente que vibra.

Te quiero, lloronsito
los gritos de tu alma

son para mi aire fresco de
montaña gris, aire

Te quiero, lloronsito
porque lloras lloronsito
aun cuando estas feliz.

Porque lloras lloronsito,
aun cuado ves a un niño sonreir

Porque lloras lloronsito
aun cuando ves a una madre sollozando

Porque lloras lloronsito
aun cuando ves a un deambulante pasando

Porque lloras lloronsito
aun cuando sientes el amor.

Ven a mí
vamos aqui a llorar
por el fin, por el fin del mundo,
el comienzo de nuestro amor.
Track Name: Daddy Said Don't Force the Key
We came from the same place, you and I
we came from the same place, you and I

Oh, you don't want to go,
he's been saying he don't want to go with me
I don't know why I'm so upset about it
cause, it doesn't matter
it doesn't matter at all

And if he says he don't he's not from the same place
if she says she don't want to go, she's not from the same place
Oh, if they don't want to go, just let them go, let them go,
let them go their own way, they got their place to go.

Oh, if they say they don't want to go
just let them go their own way, their own place.

Oh, daddy said if the key don't fit don't force it, oh
Oh, daddy said if the key don't fit, don't force the key
Oh, daddy said if the key don't fit don't force it, no
let them go, let them go, let them go their own way
let them go, let them go, let them go their own way