Archive for August, 2012

Rock Bogotano: La Banda Nueva

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Sifting through shelves of moldy records on a recent digging excursion in coastal Colombia, I came across a unique rock album amidst a sea of salsa LPs. The colorful cover of La Banda Nueva‘s lone LP, La Gran Feria, immediately caught my attention, and was a welcomed bonus to all of the Cumbia and Salsa LPs I had purchased up until that point. I immediately threw it on my portable turntable and was blown away with the sounds that met my ears.

Simply put, rock is not the genre of music that Colombia is best known for. Only a handful of rock bands existed there in the 1960s and 70s, the vast majority of which could be found in the three cities of Bogotá, Medellin and Cali. What originally started as La Nueva Ola movement during the 1960s which looked to American and British popular rock groups for inspiration, soon blossomed into a creative space where rock bands drew inspiration from many sources, both external and internal, by the early 1970s. Perhaps one of the best outfits from this period was La Banda Nueva, comprised of one member from a major early Nueva Ola group called Los Flippers alongside 3 session musicians from Bogotá, who released their La Gran Feria LP on Discos Bambuco with the full support of label owner Eduardo Calle.

Their music could lazily be described as “Progressive Rock”, or Prog, but that umbrella term does this music a disservice. La Gran Feria mixes a pretty startling variety of musical influences into its gamut, including jazz, psych, blues, and funk. “Emiliano Pinilla” starts the LP off with a bang, letting keyboardist Orlando Betancur unleash a devastating key pattern over a funky drum beat. The lyrics on this particular track are also great and firmly press political boundaries of the era. “Rumba Uno” is probably the stand out track for me on the LP, though, with an ingenious jazzy backbone with Orlando Betancur again taking center stage with some incredible improvisation. A total gem of a record from Bogotá that has me wanting more!

Banda Nueva: “Emiliano Pinilla” & “Rumba Uno”
From the La Gran Feria LP (Bambuco, Colombia, 1974)

 

Guest Post: High-C from Rehash Media

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Back again on Música del Alma is the dude High-C, joining us on a whirlwind promotional stint in honor of his freshly redesigned mega-blog, Rehash Excavation. Along with partner in grime Wilson, High-C has been generously sharing quality soul and funk music on his website for well over a decade. Today, he provides us with some killer Tejano Soul courtesy of Tony Hernandez!  -Slim Jenkins

Tony Hernandez and the Latin Liners: “Jo Tex” & “Nothing is the Same”
From the La Voz Encantadora LP  (Capri Records – Dallas, Texas)

Hailing from Seguin, Texas, just 35 miles east of San Antonio, emerges one of Chicano music’s less heralded bandleaders, Tony Hernandez. Like other comparable Mexican American bands of the day, Tony and his Latin Liners boasted an eclectic repertoire, delving into multiple genres, playing everything from traditional Mexican rancheras and boleros to up-tempo, chugging funk instrumentals. Following suit behind the A-listers on the scene such as Sunny & the Sunliners and Little Joe and the Latinaires, Tony spared no expense on the horn section’s payroll. This barrage of fortified brass is what defined the Texas Sound in the 1960s-70s and is what makes the featured tune so undeniably heavy. An homage to a fellow Texan soul brother, “Jo Tex [sic]” is one of two funky offerings on an LP composed almost entirely of rancheras. The second point of interest (to funk fans, anyway) on “La Voz…” is the band’s take on the 1970 Grand Funk tune “Nothing is the Same.” The familiar drum, bass and guitar intro that inspired sampling hip hoppers over twenty years ago sounds even sweeter given the Latin treatment. – High-C

EDIT:

Thanks to Detective Jenkins for mining deep into the Youtube-o-sphere to uncover that “Jo Tex” is not an original TH & tLL composition, but in fact, a cover of a cover:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTnG2duZ_rk

and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3XCRtEsBx4

Check out High-C’s previous Guest Post for Música del Alma. Un abrazo, compadre!