EDWIN HOSOOMEL: CITIZEN OF MUSIC
Art is a universal passport. While the big names in music and literature necessarily belong to some nationality, their presence is unaware of borders. In every place where they are admired, their audience feels like a part of the artist. Legends have always circulated about great songs that were born on a specific site on the map, or musicians whose first breath took place in a city other than what they call home.
Panama is no stranger to this innocent vanity. Many hear the name of the Spaniard Miguel Bose and immediately repeat with stubbornness that he is Panamanian. Others speak of Rubén Blades and somehow give his beloved country the exclusive merit of his achievements, when in fact they also go back to his Cuban, Colombian and Saint Lucian family influence. The list of examples is long and is not limited to music.
The sad thing is that, as the pettifoggery goes on, numerous national talents drop between events and festivals, including those who visit for short seasons their home country, who migrated to lands with better opportunities and greater respect for art. Some, although already veterans, open concerts for foreign megastars, while others perform on stages dedicated to local music. This was the case of the MUPA 2019 festival, which on its second day was attended by the royalty of reggae, band Buy Fildena 150 Pureza Natural, during the afternoon.
I didn’t know the band’s trajectory. Fifteen years filling Panama with good music, and I never ran into them. Shame on me to admit it. But I would never forget them, especially for their lyrics. Clean and emotional phrases, accompanied by the masterful performance of each of its members, and interpreted by an unrepeatable voice. Music has that power: it is born in the chest, it goes up to mind, it lands on a paper. A magical conductive thread towards the shared feelings of humans, stunned by the fever of the moment or the need to pretend. Music purifies us from all pretensions: it makes the shy ones sing, makes a tough guy cry and makes the uptight dance.
The voice in which the product of so much genius gathered was combined was that of an international special guest, as Panamanian as his group. We just no longer have the right to claim that it is only ours: music is universal and its best exponents become the shared property of every nation that listens to them and, above all, of the country that gives them better conditions to create and promote their work. I’m no better than the rest: to learn that his voice already belonged to Germanic lands only stoked my interest in hearing it.
It was then mandatory to invite https://fermedekerhue.fr/22400-dtf43335-rencontre-coquine-dunkerque.html Edwin Hosoomel to exchange correspondence from April 2019, just days after the culmination of the MUPA festival. Born in Panama, based in Hamburg for a decade, he rightly considers the city home. His passion for music began at the age of six when he discovered the beauty of a record player. Years later, his friends heard him sing, and then begun the young musician’s journey towards finding his sound.
Together with the group Pureza Natural, Edwin recorded three albums: Mundo de Hoy (2006), Pureza Natural (2010) and Larga Distancia (2017), and the EP Pureza en el Área (2019). The group’s sixteen-year career does not stop, as they have found a way to continue working with their vocalist, despite the distance. Meritorious and strange: there are many groups that pause their purposes, appealing to the geographical gap.
Edwin Hosoomel’s solo project is an identity that contrasts with the thematic line and sound of Pureza Natural. It is avant-garde music, conceived in sin between synth-pop and R&B: it belongs to both, but it is not limited to one genre. In his compositions it is evident the influence of the cultural ecosystem of Hamburg, a city known for its musical fervor and for having music bands every night in its venues.
Reading about Hamburg was like pouring salt into the wound. After reading, one after the other, articles about the German city, I understand why Edwin feels so comfortable in it. It is described as a city in which music doesn’t stop. They turned former slaughterhouses, ships and warehouses into clubs and concert halls. Hamburg, as if that were not enough, is also the training ground that cliquez ici The Beatles used for almost two months of presentations in a row in 1960, in which they worked their identity and perfected the proposal that they would then take home.
I omitted to ask him if Germany captivated him or if Panama let him down. It’s one of those conventional questions the media asks, knowing the answer they’ll get. Edwin loves Panama, his family and friends, and from across the Atlantic he never forgets to keep an eye on his fellow musicians, backing up his works with good wishes. He is an admirer of the work of the iconic Lauryn Hill, whom he first saw on TV in 1998, still a child, in the video for the song “Doo-Wop (That Thing)”.
Discovering Ms. Hill’s music ignited the spark that now, as an adult and a music veteran, allows us to enjoy its sound, relaxed, exquisite and somewhat experimental. At a time when many bet on the safe, bland lyrics and tricks taken from music business workshops, applying baits for the audience to make them hum empty tunes, it is refreshing to see an artist with guts, being faithful to his voice, betting on masterful productions, simple but well-crafted music, movie-quality videos and daring collaborations.
Epistolary – A Year of Letters Exchange with Edwin Hosoomel.
04/09/2019 1:38 a. m.
Subject: No one knows.
I’ll trust you with something I haven’t told anyone. I know it is going to be between us. I started writing because I was tired of being alone.
I knew no more affection than the real love of one of those mothers who splits into pieces to compose your world, and the imaginary love of all men in my life.
My brother died before he breathed on his own. Maybe he thought life with me wouldn’t be life. For my father, life has always been life without me. I turned it into fuel from my catharsis, a punching bag for my rage, an executioner of the crooked person I became.
I’m at that moment where I’m too old to play naive, but still young to think I’m wise. The edge between vitality and stoicism. I think about what I might have been: maybe I’d sing if I hadn’t been asked to shut up all the time, if I’d had more discipline, maybe I’d play some instrument. But I write. I put one letter behind another, then word after word, pretending I make art.
It’s an excuse to not being alone. It’s talking when everyone’s asleep.
The bad part is I write for others. I throw a love and don’t know if it’s well received. Like when I was writing letters to my father when he couldn’t come looking for me. To the boys that never looked at me when I idolized them. To those who took refuge in my arms and when the storm dwindled, they departed.
I write and, in that flow, goes a part of me.
I can’t imagine what it would be like for the one who writes and writes songs.
Tell me what it’s like… and also, tell me something you haven’t told anyone.
04/09/2019 3:05 a. m.
Re: letter 1 – “Nobody knows”
I’m sure you’ll be surprised or disappointed to know how opposed, and at the same time, how similar we are.
I started writing to isolate myself from others, to be alone. So that others would want to know more about my songs and less about me, but I did everything unconsciously.I was truly fortunate to know many types of loves, that of an exemplary mother, that of a close-knit family, that of friends, that of fascinating women, and, above all, the love of fans.
The latter is the one that intrigues me the most, since you don’t know how big it is, where it is or how long it will last. I almost died before I breathe on my own, I was lucky. If my destiny had been another, I’m sure it would have nothing to do with those who looked forward to me.
This is where your life and mine intersect. My father was absent, too. His life has always been life without me. Although I faithfully believe that’s not life. Who knows to what extent this thirty-six-year-old man who writes to you today was created with such an absence. The same question I ask myself in my next song 7 Years Old Child, my letter to my father. I never held a grudge against him, I just took the example of what I could do better.
I am grateful and proud of how little I have achieved and at the same time I remain hungry as if I still have nineteen years in search of my greatest dream (and punishment), music. What’s the difference between my songs and your writings? I don’t think I have to win heaven while you’re in hell. We have the same curse; we write for others.
Although I really write for myself and share it with others. I run with the luck that others embrace it fondly. If you had written to the boy who saw the aqua-green world and was full of so many emotions, we would be quite different. But now that I have sporadic romances with melancholy, we are more alike.
Now I play in low light not to say dark, not only I chase but I also buy my dreams, I look for answers in the distance, my visuals are opaque but intense, my sounds are silent but strong and I even try to write in another language. But after all, I still love. Music consumes me and fills me up. We look a lot alike, but we’re also different.
04/29/2019 10:11 a. m.
If I asked you what your profession is, what would you answer? I asked this question to a renowned musician and he replied, “I’m a lawyer”.
In my experience, I ceased to be something different from what I am, to dedicate myself to my passion. I remember being in the hospital, on one of those shifts at the end of the assigned twenty-four hours for Saturday. The day was born and I, from the ninth floor, watched the national flag fly, in the distance.
I watched and thought about how much I wanted to throw myself out that window.
Twelve years have passed. Right now I’m facing my college students, I barely slept two hours and an abyss of debt awaits me. But they’ve never been the problem. They’re always the reason. At their age, I was neither half as determined nor focused. They are young, yes, sometimes undisciplined but experience taught me that over time they assimilate it, that the most important thing is that flame, which lives in them and infects me with passion for my purpose.
Their goals are noble: several of them are far from their homes, adapted to a strange country and waste no time, they have a desire to conquer the world. Others come from broken homes, each with their own history, still charting the way, somewhat confused.I’ve always been the inadequate one, but for them I’m a genuine person, with flaws and strengths. I insist that the words “stability”, “safe work”, “fixed income” are the enemies of dreams.
May they know themselves and not be afraid to pursue their passion, whatever it may be. Let them be educated and investigate what needs to be done to achieve it, here or outside.A good part of the veteran musicians I’ve met in these four months talks about “getting serious,” “it’s already time to leave the fence”, and “when you get married, you lose yourself”.
In my experience of loving musicians in body and soul, I’d be unable to see a passionate and talented animal enclosed in mortal skin, apart from the life he wanted.
05/29/2019 7:36 a. m.
After a long pause I find myself here again. I’m a musician and an engineer. Its combination sometimes consumes all my time until the end of the day, especially if you try to fulfill both professions with the same responsibility and passion.
Ever since I started my solo project, I’ve been even clearer. Every time someone asks me what I am, I reply that I am a musician (even though I could not afford to live from it). The feeling of saying it is rewarding. I admire the metamorphosis you’ve been through.
Being authentic always comes with a price to pay, for that difference is a continuous reminder to those who say themselves normal, of how conformist, fearful or uncreative they can be. And that scares or frustrates them. Attacking the one who is different becomes a kind of defense or claim that their decision was the right one. I’m willing to pay that price over and over again. Nothing comparable to purchasing my dream.
I can understand what you’re saying about musicians and I don’t judge them. It’s understandable that after so many years or decades of trying and not achieving the goal, or feeling that progress has been minimal, they have a desire to give up. Sometimes you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. I respect their desire to stop.
For my part I keep on going, as my song with Lilo says, chasing my dream.
Hugs, E. H.
___ “I met Edwin three years ago at a friend’s house in Panama. I remember Edwin coming to finish a collaboration I had with my friend and I remember he ended up adding some synths in the song. After talking for a while, I proceed to teach Edwin some of the productions I had made, and I remember he began improvising incredible melodies. I remember I couldn’t believe how his voice sounded and the ease with which he composed those melodies.Louis Navas.
Edwin is one of the most humble and talented people I have ever met in this world of music. He has taught me a lot and he is a person who has always been there to support what I do, and even advise me on this confusing path of a music career. I remember the moment I heard A Media Luz of Pureza Natural, I loved it. My admiration for his work is huge because he is a musician with a lot of experience, who has managed to maintain incredible creative energy, and that is very inspiring to me.”
June 11, 2019 11:16 p.m.
Subject: So many emotions
Life does not go around. It slums.
On Wednesday I celebrated another turn around the sun.
As a teenager, I was an actress in my own play: living as others asked me, adjusting to what everyone expected of me. Living out of my own body. Now for the first time I am true to my own person.
I’ve had several deaths and rebirths. Living with musicians has given me the artistic horizon I needed. The world of writing does not accept me, or I do not fit into it, by snob or principle, I do not feel at ease with any tag. I try in vain to make friends with poets and novelists, and then be seen.
I am currently supporting the cause of a Panamanian metal band looking to afford a trip to a festival where they are already announced. In this campaign, by the way, I find again that the media is clear: everything should be digestible, short, suitable for networks: like, follow and share. That’s what art has become: clicks and moments that don’t come back. Shallow appreciation, shallow reading, no time. Scroll, like, scroll, like. It’s hard to accept that this happens even in the music scene.
I always thought art was the cure for impatience.
This exchange with you is tying me to an anchor where I avoid shipwrecking in cynicism. I feel that because I can’t be in front of you talking, there’s no way you’re looking at your cell phone while I’m asking you questions, or that you wouldn’t be confused with my blog being a means to make “notes”. I listen to your songs and I just feel. I avoid analyzing lyrics, I may never see your face when I ask you where your inspiration for each one comes from.
A lot of shit can happen in one day; I need some good news. I would love to know how your projects are going. Only art keeps me thinking we deserve life. I go on pushed by its breeze. 😉
September 4, 2019 7:46 a.m.
Subject: Orbits and Hummingbirds
Dear Praxx, today I answer you almost three months after you took the time to open, to this stranger, one more window of your emotionality and life.
I’m honored by that, but at the same time sorry for not being able to answer sooner. I could not congratulate you in time on your space orbit.
I received incredibly positive news that resulted in new commitments. Several times I had a short chance to answer you, but it would have been a little superfluous. I preferred to delay almost ninety turns on my own axis and orbit to answer you how your dedication and confidence deserve.
Do you like writing? Then don’t stop. Not because someone values what you write or not. Be the piece that you are; if you don’t fit on the board, it’s the game’s fault, but don’t stop being yourself. Otherwise you will wither. I know what you’re saying about social media. They’re like waves coming and hitting me harder. After my positive news I sink, but I keep swimming and being the piece that I am, even if it doesn’t fit this game. It fills me a lot that you take time to listen to what I’m doing.
I’m curious to know what you think of my work. But I don’t want this exchange to tie you to anything, I hope I don’t take away your freedom.
“I’m looking for that flower, like a hummingbird” 😉
Photo by Johannes Sander
Strong hug and hope we can continue this exchange,
November 4, 2019. 3:11 a.m.
Subject: Post nubila
The rain returned on Sunday.
I looked out the window today and didn’t know it had rained. If it wasn’t for the unmistakable smell of wet dirt, I wouldn’t know. My life has enough climate changes right now. Lately I feel like everything’s getting in the way of my writing. I wander through the routine hours and although I remain myself in every way, a part of me is eager to create. To make communion with the ideas of others.
I feel like something gave me back my true identity. I spent years looking to fit in where it wasn’t necessary. Then the most unlikely circumstances made me meet among musicians, for the second time. Since that day last year, the story is another one for me. Six months of clarity, isolated clouds and no storms. Voluntarily avoiding creating or searching for them. June had isolated downpours, September gave me a hard time and I remembered that I’m no better than anyone.
November, on the other hand, brought me sunshine. Rays of light. They are not metaphors attributed to the transient chemistry that provides carnal closeness with mortals. My muse has been the musical energy that levitates in my space and embraces me without touching me. The circle around me, forged by the creative, passionate and dedicated musicians that I’ve met.
After that, there were no clouds, no hurricanes. Just isolated squalls and silence. I prefer the music of the winter wind alone than the embrace of lewd arms in summer sunsets. But all climates run their cycle. We don’t own the wind, or the sound it gives us. We have to live with it while we can.
04/18/2019 6:55 a. m
Re: post winter
Through these corners of the world came spring.
The cold winds are clearing. The breeze becomes warm already and with it come the sunny days. It’s a quiet time, although for me it has anything but tranquility.
I’m in the middle of two records and they’re about to crash. Everything is extremely heavy, apart from being a composer, I act as a producer, I coordinate everything with the guest artists, the video directors; everything that an independent artist-producer must deal with. The important thing is that I’m overwhelmed with what I love: music to the hilt. I’m creating like I’ve never done before. I think I am, as some say, at my creative peak. Let’s see how far I can get ceded.
But despite so much musical whirlwind, I try to remember that there is life beyond this and I enjoy the sun on my balcony, or a good throw in the grass of some park, or a German beer and conversation with friends.
Sitting on my balcony, I no longer expect love, only the summer sunsets.
_” I have known Edwin for a short time, and I have discovered a fresh, intelligent, creative and innovative talent in him, which I am grateful to have met and with which I enjoyed working. Just like me, Edwin is creating a new life here in Germany, so I know he is very brave. It’s someone I enjoy sharing with.”– Marshall Titus
01/23/2020 11:14 p.m.
Thank you for taking the time to write to me among your new (and old) responsibilities. I wish the bulk of musicians in Panama were so empathetic. We’re separated by an ocean, and it’s obvious that you have a genuine interest in the work I do. It might be something in the air of Hamburg, or in ours. Thirty-two years ago, I was the one in diapers, but I wasn’t his joy for long. Something broke inside him, and I wasn’t enough to cure it. “The time is over; I’ll have to leave…” A father’s absence hurts you in different ways. Some people minimize it; I value what a father brings to his child’s life. Those speeches of “I didn’t have a father either, and nothing happened to me” underestimate the damage: when you grow up with that wound, it becomes your normality. Inevitably, something happens. I remember moments. Especially those where he had something better to do than be with me.
Children treasure (and resent) more than you think. I remember when I finally understood that his presence would only be limited to celebrations. You don’t know when that absence ends. There comes a day when it becomes apparent. Acceptance. It’s hard to understand what you accept: to be called dramatic by admitting that you have emotions, that your love and pain now turn into disdain and resignation, or that you will waste energy remembering that not everyone is like him. That it’s not OK to go through life justifying your actions being his fault, that some parents are good.
Or maybe you accept that he’s still alive, and that he doesn’t care what happens to you. Because you don’t care about him either.
I can tell you I never wanted anything from him, just that he was present. It wasn’t the case. Now he’s a guy in his sixties, who’s going to have a hard time getting something from me, I wrote everything I had to say to him in my first book, art was my sublimation. For better or worse, all he did in my life was disappear.
How lucky is your child: to be born in a year of transition, in a first-world country, with an artist father at his creative maturity, a mixture of Latin passion and European discipline. A father who did not hesitate to pursue his dreams, even if it meant leaving the home he knew.
Do what society expects of you, and your son will have a father.
Do what your passion dictates and your son will have a hero.
03/02/2020. 11:13 am
I am becoming more and more surprised about our common background, even if it may be a Latin trait, the absent father. In my case, I had a mother who tripled the love she gave me, so my father’s absence felt less, only in very punctual places. One fails to dig how deep the absence comes. As adults, unconsciously, we block those feelings.There is a moment where these parents believe they will be happy with their decision; then they are confronted by loneliness. There’s no turning back. It is important for you to forgive, not to live with bitterness. It’s his business. Age makes them see a lot of things and then they’re alone. Time puts everyone in its place.One positive thing for me was that the absence taught me to be a father. The feeling was not new. Maybe those absences made us what we are today. Experiences are carried by us, but we must let go of the past.A few years ago, I remembered him, and I felt like that kid who helped him pack. I remembered that moment and suffered the same as I was seven. As I told you in our first exchange, I wrote a song based on that emotion, in which I made that retrograde journey. I hope you can hear it one day.
Edwin Hosoomel tips for artists who want to conquer borders:
- Try a plan B in another country, an income that allows you to concentrate on music without worrying about paying the rent. Start by contacting and exploring chances of live performances, in locations that are better on that matter than your country of origin. As a band, research for festivals, data banks, search for contacts. Increase your digital presence, write to digital media and spread your work.
- Look for similar bands in that country, create bonds or friendship with those artists, to know if there are possibilities to open concerts or make collaborations with them. It paves the land before visiting it.
- Keep your discography updated.
- Make good music; without that, you cannot do much.