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DePedro is the name of renowned songwriter and guitarist Jairo Zavala's solo project. He is well known in his native Spain for founding and leading Vacazul and 3000 Hombres, two of the country's leading rock bands during the 1990s.
Zavala was born in Barcelona, the son of a Peruvian father and Spanish mother. His earliest musical influences were the pre-WWII blues his grandparents loved, and the folk, pop, and Afrobeat music his father collected during his travels through Latin America and Africa as a young man.
Although he enjoyed working with other bands, he was always writing his own music. After disbanding his groups, Zavala established himself as a writer for and with other artists, including Amparanoia and Los Coronas. "Don't Leave Me Now," a track he penned for the former, was heard by Calexico and added to their set list. Zavala was asked to play guitar with them when they toured Spain, and he ended up playing their entire European tour.
On an invitation from Joey Burns, Zavala followed Calexico to Tucson, where he recorded his self-titled 2007 debut DePedro. The band joined him in the studio, and have been his recording companions since. The set juxtaposed Latin rock with Spanish flamenco, contemporary folk, and ambient electronica. The singles included "Como el Viento," "La Memoria" (a cover version of Jorge Ben's "Comanche"), and his own version of "Don't Leave Me Now."
Zavala remained in Tucson. His follow-up, 2010's Nubes de Papel, was an even more ambitious mix of acoustic and electric instruments, as well as horns. Zavala sang in both English and Spanish and included the instrumental "Tramuntana." Zavala toured as DePedro completely solo and with Calexico as an opening act. 2013's La Increible Historia de un Hombre Bueno was recorded in Tucson, Paris, and Madrid. Along with Calexico, drummer Tony Allen, Nick Urata (Devotchka), Martin Wenk (Nada Surf), and Bernard Fanning (Powderfinger) all participated in the sessions. It netted the singles "Casualidades" and "Hombre Bueno." Following European and American tours, DePedro re-entered the studio and emerged with De Pasajero in 2016. The album was Zavala's most wide-ranging collection of Pan American and Spanish rock to date. Its central theme was one of travel, as its 11 songs referenced journeys through Mexico, West Africa, the American desert, and more. Recorded in Tucson with Calexico, it also featured guest spots from Gaby Moreno, Naim Love, Orkesta Mendoza, Devotchka's Tom Hagerman, and Zavala's countryman, rock en español icon Enrique Bunbury. ~ Thom Jurek
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