Abraham Dunovits

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Songwriting Adventures

We asked Abe about his musical and songwriting adventures and this is what he has to say about his songs, which are in the media player below.


In Spanish volveré means "I will return".  In this case, this songs talks about longing for the place one is from, the original birth place and one that holds special significance to a lot of people. I went back to Argentina with my wife and my daughter some years ago after being away from my birthplace for 20 years!  It was exciting to walk the streets I used to walk as a child ( I left when I was 10) and meet family and friends again.  

I wrote this song on a ukulele in Perth, Western Australia, but recorded it in New York in 2012 with the help of Australian pianist Vashti Sivell, Dominican musician Mireya Ramos and Dominican musician and researcher Irka Mateo.  I knew Vashti through a Melbourne friend, whom told me she was there in NY working in the Latin circuit.  We met in 2011, when I went to NY for the first time and we kept in touch.  When I went back in 2012, I asked her whether she would do a session for me and she agreed.  I asked her if she knew any other musos who'd be into dropping in and laying some melodic instrument.  She brought in Mireya.  Little did I know that not only was Mireya an amazing player, she sang lead vocals and played violin in an all-female Salsa band and an all-female Mariachi band Flor de Toloache, the only in the world! (Now Latin Grammy winners) My wife had met Irka through her research work and Irka is an expert in Taíno music (from the indigenous people of  the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico) Not only being an expert in percussion, Irka also plays conch-shells and leads a band that plays her original Latin music.  We recorded five songs in one fiery session and I am yet to release that recording as Corazon de Nueva York (Heart of NY)


This song is part of a yet unreleased recording featuring acoustic guitar.  Sometime before this recording I discovered a particular tuning and I wrote about twenty songs almost at the same time, including Against the Grain and Live the moment.  But I wanted to record just with an acoustic guitar.  I came up with ten songs that use unusual repetitive riffs, such as this one, which to me sounded bluesy, folky and well, appalachian.  There's another version where I put a drone vocal.


This song is an early Funkalleros song, from our first album, which I recorded just with my brother German on percussion.  It has a swing feel to it, influenced partly by Ketama, Manu Chao and by The Cure's Lovecats, possibly unconsciously.  I always liked Swing music and I wanted to incorporate it into the band because it's a danceable style.  This song is fun to play, especially in one of the latest incarnations of Funkalleros, where we had a section where South African drummer Vince Pavitt would take a searing jazz solo.


This song is from a band I used to play guitar in called Spooky.  Led by Rosie Rooney, it was a great rock band with spiky guitar work by Clayton Jauncey, rocking drums by Andrew Daly and me on guitar, trying to channel Joey Santiago having a jam with J Mascis.  I was heavily influenced by these two great guitarists at this time, but also by the visceral approach of Thurston Moore.  I love the melody in this song and the slow parts where they build up culminating in my solo at the end.


I wrote this song about a relationship that had finished at that time with a girl who had a mental illness, but that I wasn't fully aware of.  I recall one night of reckless driving on the empty Perth streets, feeling sad about the break up.  


The title I stole from a filmmaker friend Tim Burns' movie of the same title.  The song is a bit about how I was feeling about working in the education system and a reflection of the way we grow up, and the way we see us young people against the old guard.  But then we become the old guard.  I had an idea for a riff and it sounded to me like a pedal steel riff.  So I asked Grammy winner and ABC radio host Lucky Oceans, whom I know from traps in Fremantle, and he came in and did a session for me on this song and others from New Cosmick System, a band I put together to play and record these songs I had written in this particular guitar tuning.  Lucky was great, and he got the feel that I wanted, as well as a great little solo.


From the same session as above, but with violin player Laura Mitchell, whom I had played with previously.  Laura is from Virginia, USA and has played fiddle for many years in folk styles.



This soundscape was created electronically with samples of a friend's percussion band (Derejeff Dubar) and manipulated to create the "helicopter" effect.  The organic nature of the percussion gave me a sense of another forest world in outer space, for some reason, so I named it Satellite Forest.



Another experiment with samples, this one I am not sure where it's from, could be from a movie.  The guitar bit is some noodling I recorded, but it gives the tune a laid-back, I-don't-care-about-anything feel. 



A Funkalleros' tune, written in 2006 but recorded in 2008, inspired by a Pixies version of The Yardbirds "Evil Hearted You", which Frank Black sang in Spanish.  This song influenced me tremendously not only in sound but in putting a band together that played Latin music with a difference. When I started playing guitar, I listened a lot to Link Wray, Duane Eddy, James Burton and Brian Setzer.  I love the twang and I wanted to incorporate it into the Funkalleros sound.



I wrote this song on a ukulele and recorded it in New York in 2012 (see "Volvere") The ukulele has a sound that is very similar to a charango from South America, so I went out and got myself one some years ago. But inspiration came to me in  2012 to write this and the other songs on the EP.  It's quite a simple song, but it works for me. Corazon means "heart", "Dame tu corazon" means "give me your heart" but it sounds corny in English!