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Milonga de Bulnes

Stories burst from the streets, from behind office desks, on packed buses and crowded trains, in the time lost while doing that which we’re not, while we lose ourselves in the grey landscapes of the city. At times, those tales demand to be sung.

Brazilian singer and songwriter Denis Graeff has done quite a lot of things in life, from holding office jobs in his hometown to acting in television and working as blackjack dealer at an indian casino in the US. But most importantly, he is a singer-songwriter and poet, who builds his music around the personal stories he’s found along the way. Inspired by some of the great poets of song - Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, Jacques Brel - and music mavericks such as Serge Gainsbourg, Kraftwerk and Astor Piazzolla, he doesn’t commit himself to an immutable genre of music. Hailing from the southern portions of South America, he searches his environment, his roots and personal history for elements of composition, leading to the creation of urban ballads, electronic tango poems and modern-day milongas  that portray the metropolises’ disillusions.

Coming from southern Brazil, born to parents from the gaucho lands of Rio Grande do Sul, Denis Graeff’s life has already led him through many countries, from Europe and South America to many travels around the United States and Canada.

Graeff’s current work reflects those voyages: he now seeks to show the music of his homelands in southern Brazil and the Río de la Plata to the world, but with a twist. The familiar elements of tango and traditional milongas and payadas are reinterpreted, taken away from their natural environment and native tongues to create gritty, contemporary songs. Electronic and experimental arrangements, as well as the dark landscapes of the metropolis, are elements that move beyond the geographic and stylistic frontiers of traditional genres and take the deep emotional expressiveness of South American music from it’s settings to a worldwide audience. 

Yet, the stories have a well defined background. It is Buenos Aires, the capital of the pampas, the infinite city, a meeting point of South America and the world, a merger of popular sensibilities and the wit of great writers, a collision of anonymous masses and the dreamers that keep on arriving to it’s streets. It is also the symbolic home for Denis’ songs and life stories. Starting in 2017, this project already saw the release of the singles “Vos y Yo", "Milongueta", "And Her Eyes", “Your Own Song”, "Lady of the Mirror" and "Well Past Midnight Hour", with his debut album “Bulnes 12 40” coming later this year.

Background photo by Elisandro Dalcin, 2018
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