Friday, October 31, 2008


Bio Ritmo is about to play live in the studio on WNYC today, THIS HOUR (2:45-3:00).

Tune In:
WNYC 93.9 (new york city) "soundcheck"

Update 2:47 pm: They just started with "Lisandra" from the new Biónico.

Blogging some notes from the interview:

Nice introduction describes new album as "post salsa" for its spirit of experimentation; plays some Willie Colon from the Malo album. Lists Bio Ritmo's musicians, there a few names I do not know...Arnaldo Marrero, bongo [from Bayamon], J.C. Kuhl, saxophone [from Richmond]. The rest are regulars.

Rei Alvarez: our mission has always been to play original music but in that style, from "a time before [salsa] became a formula."

What happened to salsa?
Rei: it's like a relationship, after awhile the passion dies off and you settle into a routine. The 80s was a pretty cool time for salsa but it was a pretty set formula, even down to the lyrics, it lost its social consciousness. That helped it sell more.

Origin of the name Bio Ritmo?

The original bongo player Jim Thompson came up with the name. We were roughly half Latinos and half Americans, so the pronunciation is meant to reflect that. [Rei reveals something I never knew, which is that the "correct" pronunciation is "Bio" (like English "biology") and "Ritmo" (Spanish).]

Richmond--how big a Latino community?

It's not so much that, as the art and music community, which is pretty awesome. Art music and food, I should say, my favorite three things. It's a town with a lot of character, we like vintage, old stuff.

That Roland synthesizer is pretty vintage.
Marlysse: Actually, to get those sounds, I'm using the Nord (sp?) that's on it, which has a database of all the old keyboard sounds.

You're using the smaller new thing to get the older sounds.

Yeah, the older equipment is heavy, it's unreliable, it breaks down. And I can't even lift it.

Does Bio Ritmo have a post-salsa scene in Richmond?
Rei: Well there's Bio Ritmo. There's bands like (something?) Caribe, they brought a Latin flavor, but I think we were the first salsa, straight up...

Post-salsa! [interviewer wants to stick to this label]

...yeah...we've had great support from the very first day in Richmond, that's kept us alive these 17 years.

Closing number, "Shoe Shine."

Rei: it's about being ready for the next step in life, you've got to have your shoes shined.

2:58 pm: playing "Shoe Shine."

Bio Ritmo is playing S.O.B.'s tonight (10/31) in New York City. 2 shows, at 8 and 10, dance lesson at 7 pm.

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