“To both of us, music is a form of evading reality, as well as a great form of communication; we put all of our emotions into it.” This sentiment captures the ethos of the DJ and producer duo Sparrow & Barbossa, consisting of Bryan Coletta from Switzerland, and Emiliano Haberli of Uruguay. Settling in the vibrant heart of Madrid, Spain, their music illustrates a compelling interplay of eclectic genres.
The twosome finds a special resonance in the sounds of the piano and percussion. Their craft harmoniously interweaves the vibrant beats of African tribal rhythms with Latin house sounds, underscoring an intrinsic connection to earthy, organic tones. At the same time, they well immerse these melodies in the realm of contemporary, electronic progressive sounds. This blend creates a rich musical tapestry, deeply rooted in tradition yet bravely innovative.
Their artistic journey isn’t just about making music; it is also about communicating and connecting with the listeners, creating an escape from reality, and infusing every beat with their emotion. “We received stories that literally made us cry, and we take this aspect of production very seriously.” Settle in as we delve into the thoughts of Sparrow & Barbossa. In the following conversation, we’ll explore their inspirations, the work behind their new album “Réciprocité”, their conception of success, and the profound impact of their music on their audience.
Listening to your new album “Réciprocité” transported me back at least 10 years. It evoked such a nostalgic feeling and reminded me of what I consider some golden, happy times. In what moments does music become very personal for you, apart from performing for an audience?
To both of us, music is a form of evading reality, as well as a great form of communication; we put all of our emotions into it. I believe this is what makes it so personal. On top of that, when we collaborate, we do it either with family or people we’ve truly developed a bond with, and we guess this makes it very personal.
How did you decide on the title “Réciprocité” for the album, and what does it mean to you personally?
We chose the word reciprocity because we consider it a form of giving back; giving back to the many people that support us, come to listen and dance to our music, and have been making our dream a reality on a daily basis. Those live performances in the many countries we visit really charge us with strong energies, and we tried our best to channel them into this beautiful project.
This album seems to span a wonderful variety of genres and cultures, from Latin to Afro-House. What challenges did you encounter while trying to merge all these distinct sounds and vibes?
Honestly, the biggest challenge we faced was to select the final 14 tracks that would be released on this album. In about a year and a half, we ended up with over 20 tracks to choose from. Maybe another challenge was to work on the collaborations remotely as far as Rwanda, Brazil and still get the top quality we were looking for; this was definitely a challenge but we think the final result is great.
“Our relationship is complementary way beyond only music, we are complementary in every aspect of life.”
I particularly enjoyed the track with Turkish flutist Eyüpcan Açıkpazu. It felt somehow melancholic and incredibly deep. I’m curious, how did this collaboration come about?
In one of his trips to Turkey, Sparrow listened to this track played in a local music venue they call “Turku Evi” and completely fell in love with the sound of it. Francis Coletta, Sparrow’s father who has worked with artists such as Frank Sinatra, is a very well-connected musician and introduced us to Askin Arsunan, Turkey’s most prominent piano player who directed us to Eyüpcan and made that fantastic collaboration a reality. Francis laid the smooth guitars and we finally had it!
You mentioned that people have said your music helped them through difficult times. How does it feel to hear that, and does it influence the way you approach creating new music?
We absolutely love receiving feedback like this and it drove us to orient our albums more towards streaming targets and then get remixes for the dance floor. We received stories that literally made us cry, and we take this aspect of production very seriously and will try our best to keep making the magic happen.
You’re touring extensively throughout Europe, and also Latin America. How do you balance that with time in the recording studio, and how do you take care of your personal health? And what keeps you motivated?
300+ flights in 2022. It is a lot of time in the air, actually 30+ days spent at 40,000 feet. The more we tour the more we had to learn how to be flexible, produce on the go, dedicate time, but we would also say it helped us somehow by giving us little breaks from producing and then coming back from touring with great new inspiration. Health-wise, it is not always easy but we try our best to take care of ourselves.
“We chose the word reciprocity because we consider it a form of giving back.”
Sparrow, your father, Francis Coletta, is featured on the album. Can you share more about what it’s like to work with him?
Having the opportunity to work with my father is an absolute pleasure for me. I have been creating music with him since I was 14 years old and it just works. He used to be the one crediting me on his albums and now it’s us, and I think it’s a beautiful way to illustrate the cycle of the artistic legacy and homage. His many years of experience and culture really enrich our productions and took them to the next level in both albums.
Being a successful duo in the music industry requires chemistry. What makes your partnership work so well?
Brotherhood. Our relationship is complementary way beyond only music, we are complementary in every aspect of life and I think that’s what makes us so strong and close.
Could you share a memorable fan interaction that has left a lasting impact on you?
We both agree that it was that one time we played in Goa, India, and a complete family with children had traveled 18 hours just to see us play and asked us to play “Coro”, one of our very first productions. This really warmed our hearts.
How do you define success, and do you feel you’ve achieved it?
To us, success has nothing to do with anything material, money or fame. We think one reaches success when one manages to do what one loves and make a living off it, and this is already the case for us and we are really happy about it.
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or deceased, who would it be and why?
We’d love to have dinner with our brothers from Keinemusik. They have been so supportive of our career lately; Sparrow became very good friends with Rampa who he considers a mentor, but funny enough are schedules are so busy, even if most of the time we play in the same locations on same day we still never managed to share some time in person!
What is one must-do activity while in Madrid?
You should definitely hang out at a Tortuga Tribes showcase at Lula by Sparrow & Barbossa. (smiles) Bring dancing shoes!
Will do! (laughs) Thank you so much for your time!
Thank you for the opportunity and for taking the time to listen to our music.