Friday, May 22, 2009

BREAKING: Colombian Karma

I just found out LATIN BROTHERS from Cali, Colombia are playing at DISCO RODEO TONIGHT!!! This is not a rumor; I spoke to vocalist/percussionist Jorge Tello on the phone. [Jorge says he is the son of former Latin Brothers singer Joseito Martinez.]

Tonight, in Raleigh, Grupo Niche is also playing (at Ambis on Atlantic Ave). What the...? I have no idea what the Goddess Karma is up to, but it is Colombian night tonight.

To sweeten the pot, some locals (Andy Kleindienst, Mitch Butler, Alberto Carrasquillo) are filling in some spots with the Colombian bands at Disco Rodeo . Cumbia band Sonora Dinamita opens for Latin Brothers.

UPDATE 5/23:

Here's Alberto Carrasquillo and James Armstrong (of Winston-Salem) blowing their horns with La Sonora Dinamita:
interesting fade

West End Mambo
's Cesar Oviedo played bass and arranged the NC musicians for this show.


Lovely, long-legged Tatiana Giraldo, one of the singers in La Sonora Dinamita's next generation:
attack of the 50 ft woman

She was joined by vocalists Any Velez (in blue) and Luis Milanes, whose brother Nestor Milanes handled keyboards for both bands.
Any, Luis and Tatiana

Both bands have older roots, but are franchises currently owned and managed by Jessie Lozano, age 28. The young promoter played timbales in both sets.
"It's a good combination, people like to hear these two bands together," says Any (pronounced "Anni").

I agree, although the sound system at Disco Rodeo was sonidero-style, heavy on the bass. Setting one's phone on vibrate was a redundant proposition. I didn't think this made for the best live music setting, but I did like the crowd. Laid-back, young, unagressive, a cool cumbia scene, really dance-oriented. A lot of gum chewing dancers, and people politely stepping back to make room for other dancers, even in front of the stage.

You can see some cool dancing in this clip, as Jorge Tello sings "Dime Que Paso":

Sonero Charlie Cajares (below, left), billed as "El Abogado de la Salsa," sounded fantastic as he led the Latin Brothers into their set. I would love to hear this guy sing again, in any weather, especially with a more finely balanced sound system.

Latin Brothers

Here's a sample of "Buscandote" with Charlie ripping his soneos from the headlines. Piano solo by Nestor at 3:00, then our own Andy Kleindienst plays a monster trombone solo at 5:30!

With a jerryrigged band, the two vocalists gave these standards a strong pulse. The final tune, one of my favorites, "Las Caleñas son (como las flores)" really had the funky swing of Colombia. I didn't want to go home, but the show seemed to run up against Disco Rodeo closing time; management turned the lights on 20 minutes before they wrapped up their set.

younger generation

One should say that this cumbia scene deserves a cleaner club than Disco Rodeo. A steam cleaner could lose his mind trying to remove the patina from the carpet in there (not that there's any risk of that happening). There is not a surface in the room that does not feel sticky, and the bathrooms are always a disgrace by the end of the night. Considering the price of admission ($25-60 not uncommon) and beer ($5 for a can of Budweiser), something doesn't smell right. I didn't see any inappropriate behavior whatsoever, no fights, no d&d, so you can't "blame" the fans for management neglect.

To the frustrations one can add that Disco Rodeo does nothing to publicize their Latin events to non-Spanish-speaking audiences or media, and they don't even have a website. They know on which side their bread is buttered. People come out anyway and pay their hard-earned money to hear their music and to dance with their friends. I can totally understand that. Venue demerits aside, this is a dance scene I'd like to go to again.

All videos posted with the band's permission.

Latin Brothers & Sonora Dinamita

Click on any photo to see more from the show at my flickr page.

Corrections: Jorge Tello is the son of Joseito Martinez. I incorrectly stated both of their names earlier; the post has been updated to reflect these corrections.

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