Luján Gambina hosts Vida Calesita, which can be heard every Monday at 9pm on Radio Oreja, and writes a music blog. Every month, she introduces us to different artists from the thriving independent music scene in Buenos Aires.
Anamolí‘s green eyes are so bright, they are blinding. Everything about her is harmony. She has a sweet, calm, and deep look. The same can be said about her songs, locked in ‘Tiempo de otras cosas‘ (‘Time for other things’), her debut album which was released in 2014, and which, in only seven songs, takes us to a colourful universe of farewells and welcomes.
Anamolí is not just another singer-songwriter, she is also the founder, together with other five colleagues, of SNTS [‘Solistas no tan solas’ or ‘Solo artists not so solo’], “a collective, independent music label created by women artists, dedicated to the production, dissemination, and promotion of cultural exchanges based around music.”
She came to Vida Calesita to tell us about #Dominga, a weekly event taking place every Sunday of August at La Gran Jaime, and the projects the label is currently working on.
We’d like to start with the most recent news: the first episode of #Dominga, which took place on Sunday 2nd August at La Gran Jaime. You were DJing, is that right?
I DJed, it was my first time doing that and it was awesome. And the event, in general, as well. The truth is, we were quite anxious about it being the first episode of this event, but it was lovely, the girls shone, it was fantastic and I had a great time DJing and forcing everyone to listen to the music I like (laughs). But it was really nice, honestly. I also liked the way the team worked, from an internal point of view, so we’re happy and with a lot of expectations about what’s to come.
You mentioned the team, and we know you mean SNTS. I’d like you to tell us how long the project’s been going for and how it started.
It’s been going for five years already. It started out as an event, with that first gig at the end of 2010, and it never stopped. It has evolved and changed until today, and it turned into a music label, because there is a group that consolidated as the years went by, we still do things together. And it was a necessary path for us to take, to recognise ourselves, recognise that this is happening, that we are a network of people working, doing things, shaping this.
This process has been going on for a while, I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of this from the beginning and I saw a lot of people drop by and collaborate, I was there from the very first moment and I’m very happy about where we are now. The truth is, this has been a dream of mine for a long time, but I didn’t know how it was going to turn out. So it makes me very happy to be a producer, as well as having a solo career. And I think that is what’s distinctive about this label, we’re all independent singer-songwriters —although there are artists from other disciplines as well—, we’re all women, and that’s what unites us most, more than a specific genre or aesthetic direction. It’s been happening for a while and with a lot of changes, but right now it’s a pretty special moment.
And how did the artists who are part of the label come together?
Actually, it happened naturally. I started writing songs, and that’s when you get this urge to bring out what you want to do. Life puts people on your path as well. I started meeting women who were in a similar situation, who maybe had some relation to music —I knew they wrote songs, but they weren’t bringing them out into the light. And so these women came along and I think a lot of the times this is how it happens, sometimes you have to turn a light on and from there on other people start taking chances as well, they start to do things, to participate, and to say “well, I can do this, and I can get inspired”. That’s how it happened.
Right now, the core is made up of six girls from Buenos Aires, but there are also girls from Mendoza and Córdoba, which is where things moved along most outside of Buenos Aires, although the gig was also taken to Brazil, Uruguay, Misiones, Mar del Plata, Salta…
Can any artist who listens to you, who goes along to this itinerant gig, join you, or is there a selection carried out by this core group of the six founding members?
Our idea is to expand. Being a collective label, the idea is that new people put in a true effort, so to speak. We’re not there to work for someone, we’re self-managed. So, if they join, they have to truly feel like participating and they have to understand that whatever is good for the group is good for me, and whatever is good for me is good for the group. This reciprocity is essencial for us, without it there’s no project, it’s a key principle. That’s very delicate, it’s not something you can write on your CV, it’s something you have to feel.
We do feel like opening up and expanding, and I trust that the people who need to come along will come along. Sometimes it’s not for the best, but it’s a learning experience. Our idea is to encourage other girls to come out and realise the potential they have, and for those who are already working that they can join, contribute with their efforts, and do nice things all of us together, which is what we’re doing (laughs). To keep doing what we’re doing, better and more organised, and to reach more people.
You mentioned you went to Brazil and Uruguay. How did that come along?
Three years ago we met Kika Simone, an adorable character and a woman with a lot of energy and some incredible music. At that time I was managing the event with Vic Amora, who is now doing other things but was one of the founders and one of the reasons we’re here, and she started to join in and brought in her energy, which is very special and very much about moving forward. She’s from Porto Alegre [Brazil] and was thinking about taking solo artists over there, and she kept insisting until it happened. We went twice, we had some really nice experiences, very different but very nice. We met solo artists from over there, we started to share, we got some feedback. And it was the same in Uruguay, these things come up through people who understand the meaning of the project. It’s very easy to replicate an idea when it’s clear, people take it and reproduce it. Trips are that, music takes you, you have to go behind it, you have to be at its disposal.
How did the idea of putting together this weekly event, #Dominga, in La Gran Jaime, come about?
Me and the girls had the idea of working as a label for a few months, from the end of last year, and we were doing this internal, organisation work, and we filmed a spot which hasn’t come out yet, it’s being processed; we worked on a new logo, on the website, we had to do a lot of things, operational things, like registering our brand and that kind of thing that take a lot of effort. And suddenly, we felt like doing something real, in real life, to come out a little bit. And #Dominga came up as a way to organise a weekly event that represents this winterly woman, this wise woman who’s in that situation of hibernating, inside a cave, but who is also connecting with all her knowledge. But it’s also the lead-up to spring, when we start going out again.
It has a lot to do with archetypes, with the archetypes of the different women that we are, it’s about us being cyclical and also the archetype of nature as well, of each season. It has something to do with all that, with generating this kind of initiatives with a concept behind them, and get them to develop. And since we’re preparing for bigger things, we wanted to try and see how an event of this kind worked. And then —we’ll tell you about it later— we’re preparing something that’s consuming us but it’s going to give us a lot back in terms of energy and nice things. We’re plannig something big, it’s going to be great.
You can’t give us any more information?
I can tell you that it’s not going to happen only in Buenos Aires, for example. It’s going to be broader, there’s going to be a lot of female singer-songwriters, a lot of female artists, and a lot of art. We have the intention of coming out slowly to get into the swing of things and to not miss the opportunity for other girls to join and to get the ball rolling. That was the idea with #Dominga, to say: here we are.
When is this big secret event, which we’re so eager to know more about, going to happen?
The idea is to do it in November. Some things are already confirmed, but we don’t want to say much until it’s all ready, we don’t want to jinx it.
Earlier on you mentioned that SNTS is self-managing, and I wanted to ask you: what has been the biggest challenge you had to face in this path of independent self-management?
To work in our self-confidence, in believing that what we’re doing makes sense. Sometimes you ask yourself: all this I’m doing, is it worth anything? Because it’s different to working for a living, it’s a different feeling. Here, you need to find motivation all the time. Obviously, we do what we like, but you also find yourself in a place where you go, “is this going anywhere? and am I able to do it?” And within the group, sometimes you complement each other. Maybe one of us is a bit down and another one comes in and cheers her up, or sometimes things just get stuck and there’s no way around it, until a point where everything opens up and is beatiful again. This fluctuation in the creative process is something that is teaching me a lot. Knowing that sometimes things get stuck and you have to be a little patient, and sometimes you also have to revise what you’re doing. And it’s very interesting in that respect. Also, the relationships between people, and seeing how we react before things. You learn a lot, there are a lot of mirrors around.
Sunday 23th August
Señorita Carolina + Licina Picón + Ro Rapoport
Live drawing: LULA URONDO
Sunday 30th August
Bárbara Gilles Favoriti Quartet + MF Aleman (Mendoza) + Marigrá Geranio
Intervention: Ana Julia Miari and Florencia De Giovanni Pacini