As with all artists during this pandemic, the inability to play live has prompted John Borra to focus his creative energy elsewhere. One result is the Toronto singer-songwriter’s new video for “Hambre & Dolores,” one of the standout tracks from his acclaimed latest album, Blue Wine.
With the song’s lyrics written by award-winning poet Eva H.D., John decided to expand on its themes by matching them to public domain visuals from a 1923 film of Oscar Wilde’s play Salome. John explained, “‘Hambre and dolores’ is Spanish for ‘hunger and pain,’ and both are represented in the video and the song. There’s also a longing for the object of the characters’ affection in both the song and video. It’s love that is never realized—although there’s no beheading in the song as there is in the video. The running dance subplot intersects with the ‘question begging dancer’ line in the choruses and provides a nice backdrop for the other things going on. I also think having someone dancing in a music video isn’t something that necessarily has to be ‘explained.’ But I do think it works with the lyrics.”
Although John Borra is now known for his raw, classic country-inspired songwriting, the artistic concept behind “Hambre & Dolores” hearkens back to his days playing in highly influential Toronto post-punk bands in the 1980s and early ’90s such as A Neon Rome and Change Of Heart. That edge is what has made Blue Wine – John’s first solo album since 2002 – such a welcome return, and the album’s supporting cast, from Barenaked Ladies’ Kevin Hearn to Blue Rodeo’s Glenn Milchem and Mike Boguski, demonstrates that John’s ties to Toronto’s Queen West scene remain unbreakable.
We’re thrilled to premiere John Borra’s “Hambre & Dolores,” and you can sample more of Blue Wine at johnborra.bandcamp.com.