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Musica Roots magazine is a monthly publication, printed in Los Angeles, California.
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Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama
Paul Rosas Graphics & Video edition Andree Ochoa Web master
re e bv Alec Ore & Christopher Valverde I t is the best time to be a listener and consumer of music. Music has become the most widely accessible form of media. The era of having to go out to a brick and mortar store to buy music is over. The Internet has made it easier for music to travel the globe, making it possible for a relatively small act in Peru to have a huge following in Norway, for example. Catalogs of old and new music are being distributed to us in commercials, internet services (Spotify and Pandora), podcast and internet radio. It is also true that Internet music purveyors help artists make money, but the profit margins have shrunk dramatically. File sharing is still a very popular way of getting to hear the latest content of your favorite artist as well. However, this new influx of "free" ways to enjoy music arrives at a cost- the creative artist is left with fewer ways to earn a living. This new marketing and distribution trend in the music business makes the recording industry less attractive to new acts. As well as making it more difficult for existing artist to carve out a steady revenue stream for themselves. When artists cannot capitalize on their intellectual property they are less inclined to trust or sign to a major label. The record labels broken system only serves now to put out records, they no longer expect returns on the albums themselves, rather they bet on royalties for movies and commercials and other deals. Major labels may or may not support new acts with money for marketing or tour support. This has put new artists in a position to create and transform their marketing strategy. Assets like owning your publishing and touring non-stop have become the few ways for musicians to maximize potential earnings.
In the midst of all this doom and gloom lies a happy accident. Concerts have become the most viable way for artists to make money, assuming they are not a large act that makes big money in royalties, resulting in a spring of more creative and ground breaking tours that offer more to the consumer in the way of art and flooding the market with better live artists and performances. This is where Musica Roots comes in. With this magazine our goal is to evaluate artist and various media content to bring to our readers. Nothing but the best in up and coming and established acts. In the absence of the old and broken record label monolith, there needs to be a new system in place to promote artists, curate shows and spread music between cultures. In this publication we are going to make you aware of what is new and happening, whether it be art, culture, film or music, in context. Our live shows are events, not only a concert, matching together audio, visual, and interactive experiences. Established acts will be matched up with the next big thing in ways that are interesting and new. We are not just a forum for music, Musica Roots aims to be a forum for all aspects of our shared ideas and culture. We cordially invite you to participate in this great experience of renovating the way we enjoy our favorite artists.
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...!:; c: ... â€˘ Colombia's New Star, .. â€˘-..... ~
by Angel Aguilar
olombia keeps on churning out new trends and musical talents and now is the time for Esteman. In 2009, the youtube video "Note Metas Con Mi Facebook" (Don't Stock Me On My Face book) hit social media by storm and after going viral, Esteban Mateus Williamson, better known as Esteman, became an overnight sensation and Colombia's latest pop star. His music is a mixture of styles and influences, bulding catchy melodies loaded with ironies, synth sounds along with percussion elements and saxophones, blended with electronic pop, disco music indie-pop, and thought-provoking lyrics and choreography. The name Esteman, just like his music, is a play on Spanglish words by taking "Este" (this) and the English "man", creating the phrase "this man". From a young age, the Colombian singer wanted to pursue an artistic career, thus he studied singing at music academies and also studied musical theater. After finishing school, Esteman moved to Paris, France, where he studied acting and theatrical arts. Upon his return to Colombia, Esteman continued to study his craft in the theater, but eventually he was led back to music. As a result, he was able to combine his acting experience with his musical skills, creating his persona and musical project which led to his succesful viral video. In 2012, Esteman released his first full length album titled "ler Acto" (First Act). It is an album rich in sounds and styles that is very hard to stop listening to. Each track brings something new and interesting that it is almost visual. One could easily close one's eyes and feel as if being transported to different landscapes that are painted by the music. "ler Acto" also includes several collaborations, including a duet with Andrea Echeverri, lead singer for the iconic Colombian band, Aterciopelados on "Aqui Estoy Yo" (Here I am). This track sets the tone for the rest of the album with its eclectic use of rhythms and sounds that goes from acoustic guitars to a rockabilly country western sound, to a Dick Dale guitar solo, whistling, electronic sounds and mariachi style trumpet melodies, and over all of this is Andrea's passionate voice. Other collaborators on the album include Monsieur Perine and Juan Pablo Vega. Esteman made his live debut at Los Globos Night Club on Saturday, March 29th as part of the 3rd installment of the Movimiento Sessions produced by Musica Roots. For most of the audience at Los Globos, this was the first time they would experience Esteman in a live setting. Backed up a by a talented group of musicians, Esteman's music was taken to another level and the charisma and energy displayed on stage by the singer himself, quickly had Los Globos dancing. At the end of the performance, many in the audience who had not even heard of Esteman before were now asking were they could get his music and wanted to know when they could see him live again. All an all, a memorable show and evening for everyone who attended Los Globos that night. ,;-
t t has been 3 years si nee Rabanes last album and after recharging their batteries, the
Panamanian trio is back with a new album titled Urban Rock As it has become customary in the music of Rabanes, Urban Rock is charged with different musical styles and influences like ska, calypso, reggae, merenge, samba and others. Urban Rock includes several collaborations with artist like Victor Regueira, Miguel Angel Tesis, Zico Garibaldi, Edwin Dubas, Jose Giron Gonzales, Aldo Vargas and Fernando Cabrera. Rabanes has always been a band that likes to adapt their music to whatever new sounds or styles are going on at any given time and this new album is not an exception as one can hear a lot more electronic and hip-hop influences. During a recent promotional visit to Los Angeles, lead singer Emilio Regueira visited the Musica Roots headquarters and we chatted about this new album
and what it means to the band.
What can you tell us about Urban Rock? "The album came out at the end of 2013 and it is an album that reflects what is going on with contemporary music in Panama. Rabanes has always been a band that fuses different musical styles, but beneath all that there's always that punk and ska energy that we started with, but we always mix in different musical ideas. This album has lot of Jamaican music like dancehall, soka from Trinidad and Tobago, some electronic beats, some roots, some bachata guitar also some rap, as Panama has a great underground hip-hop scene."
How do you think people will react to the electronic and hip-hop references on this new album? "I think it may take a couple of times for people to listen to the album before they really understand what we are trying to do, and I understand that some people may wants us to go back to the old sound of punk and ska guitars, and we may do that in the future, but we also love rap and electronic music. Rap is very big in Panama and there's no way to escape it, so we decided to incorporate it as this is how we feel about music at this time."
You have several contributions on this album, how did those collaborations come about? Sometimes people will tell you to invite someone who is hot at the moment, but if you are going to feature someone on your song, it has to be someone who is going to contribute something to the song, as it happened on "Dime Que Tu Quieres" where Mr. Fox, a Panamanian rapper, brought in his very special delivery, which worked perfectly with the vibe of the song and the same with all the other collaborations on the album." If you had to recap this album and the moment that Rabanes is living, how would
you describe it? I think that what is most interesting about this album is that it represents the moment that Rabanes is living and the moment that Panama is going through musically and it doesn't mean that we are going to continue on this path from now on, for the next album we might do something completely different, but this is what Rabanes is today and this is what is going on in Panama." continue on this path from now on, for the next album we might do something completely different, but this is what Rabanes is today and this is what is going on in Panama."
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hair & makeup MAFEE ALCANTARA ; model ARIANNA VALCARCEL ; styling assistant STEPHANIE FARFAN
MaxRadio.fm takes over your world one music channel at a time! By Fanelly Millan
nline Radio is to traditional Radio what the introduction to FM was to AM, a revolution on it's own. It is anticipated that every major city in the US will become a hot spot, allowing you to tune in to any online programming as you would to terrestrial Radio. Can you imagine what it would be like to have total command of your online listening experience? Well, imagine no more, the future is now with MaxRadio.fm bringing you the best of both worlds! MaxRadio.fm is a creative platform currently hosting five very distinctive music channels that range from Mexican Regional to EDM. MaxRadio is also a full-scale production company supplying its multinational clients with syndicated shows and imaging. Some of their work is simultaneously being aired in New York, Chicago and Indianapolis. What makes Maxradio.fm different is that unlike other cyber s they are not computer generated but rather live assisted by on-air talent. staff inQ tr"des well-established broadcasters, producers, board ops and voice talent. ere is also an internship program available with private one-on-one that allow its participants to produce and air their shows upon gradl!ation. mastermind behind it all. He is the founder andGener~ Manager For more information on any of the internships program or any mentioned above please contact him directly at kolo ...~ ......."". About Kolo Barrera: Radio Personality turned producer with more than twenty on air and behind scenes. Kola Barrera began his career in N in high school and relocated to Los Angeles to wor~ for 2003. He then briefly worked in the production department Angeles and moved on to Radio Centro's Exitos 93.9 FM as morning show host. e is by far one of the most loved and rP~~.. personalities in our city due to his personality and humility. of the early pioneers of the "Rock En Tu Idioma" movement Bilingiie, where he was an intern. Some of his side projects have Broadcasting School in DTLA as well as Audio Elemental Radio MaxRadio.fm. He currently continues to mentor and sponsor Radio Jocks while trying to expand his services through Sta~路'!l.t--路 Stay tuned!
Download their free app on Tunein (Android and iPh them live any day and anytime from your computer at ho via www.maxradio.fm New shows this 2014: Fabricantes del Ruido hosted by Martita Ia Viborita Tuesdays (Audio Elemental) Fresh Army Sounds hosted Max Barrera and Thursdays at Spm (Audio Elemental) "De Todo con el Mono" h Sanchez via TekilaFM Coming Soon ... "Talking Quince" hosted by Hilda Gabriela Plus two additional music channels: EVO: pre-teen "Quince" lifestyle and VOX: LGBT music channel
Thursday April14, will forever be remembered as the day the great novelist, Gabriel Garda Marquez left this physical world, but his words and spirit will continue to live forever. News of the death of"Gabo': as his friends used to call him, began to circulate around noon; the writer had been hospitalized recently due to a complicated pneumonia. Hours later, his passing was confirmed by Rafael Tovar y de Teresa, president of the official Mexican cultural association. He was 87 years old. Garda Marquez was born in Aracataca, a small Colombian town on March 6, 1927. He was raised by maternal grandparents after his parents moved to Barranquilla where his father opened a pharmacy. Then he began working for a newspaper as a journalist. For a time he combined his journalism work while developing his own fictional stories. Garda Marquez wrote many acclaimed non-fiction works and short stories, but is best known for his novels, such as "One Hundred Years of Solitude" (196 7), "The Autumn of the Patriarch" (1975) and "Love in the Time of Cholera" (1985). His books have outsold all Spanish published work except for the Bible. "One Hundred Years of Solitude" has sold over 50 million copies in more than 25 languages. Garda Marquez was known for his use of magical elements and events in ordinary and realistic situations and exploring the theme of solitude. Some of his works are set in a fictional village called Macondo, which is a town inspired by his home town, Aracataca. The stories of his grandMarquez's fictional town Macon do and many of his characters. parents became the IUlliiWÂŤ!~t:trjc:a is
and beauty was helped us travel through with his words.
a] source of insatiable creativity, full of sorrow and beauty..." and novelist was able to create believable characters and splendid landscapes
very strong leftist political views, that were instilled in him by the on strike against the United Fruit Company, later known as Chiquita. On corruption, and after a dictatorship took power in Colombia, he had to flee to Europe. In wi
, Garda Marquez was able to return to his beloved Colombia and rna hom he had two sons.
massacre near his home in Aracataca by banana of A Shipwrecked Sailor", he wrote about government
.Mercedes Barcha, a girl he knew from his childhood and
beginning of the 80's, r was accused by the Colombian ng with M-19 rebels and funding a Venezuelan guerrilla group, was forced to move to Mexico City in 198 became his main home for the rest of his life. As the news of Garda Marquez's death spread across the world, tributes and condolences have been pouring down on his family and those close to him. Prior to his departure, Gabriel Garcaa Marquez was already considered immortal by his fans as his words are fundamental to understand the essence of Latin American culture and cosmology.
by Angel Aguilar n March 1st, 2014, Rene Perez (Residente) and musician and producer Eduardo Cabra (Visitante) better known as Calle 13 released their 5th studio album MultiViral and their first album on their new independent label, El Abismo. The album was recorded in San Juan, Puerto Rico and mixed at Electric Lady Studios, in Greenwich Village, New York City. MultiViral includes collaborations with Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, Biga Ranx, Cafe Tacuba, Silvio Rodriguez, Julian Assange (Wikileaks), Kamilya Jubran, Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine), John Leguizamo and Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers). To celebrate the release of the album Calle 13 debuted MultiViral in front of a reported 50,000 people in Puerto Rico. The "MultiViral" world tour began in Buenos Aires, Argentina where concertgoers received a free download of the album with their ticket. Long gone are the days of Calle 13 being thrown in with the all the other Reggaeton and pop artist like Daddy Yankee, Don Omar and others. Calle 13 have distanced themselves from that genre with thoughtful conscientious lyrics and eclectic and visionary musical concepts and ideas. In an interview with Jon Pareles of the New York Times, Residente stated "Suddenly I've started to be more aware, or worried, about living and dying;' "I thought, maybe I can do something bigger than politics On the song '1\dentro", Calle 13 talks about gangsta rappers and their glorification of the lifestyle and the crimes they commit while on the same song, Residente apologizes for insulting Puerto Rico's governor; Luis Fortuna. Being a man who believes in what he says, during the video shoot, Residente destroyed his own Maserati that he bought at the beginning of their career. During the same interview with the New York Times, Residente explained: "I used that car for four months, and by the end I was ashamed of myself, that car; in a way, is part of all that stuff: the guns, the gold. So I'm going to destroy it on video with all these guns inside:' MultiViral finds an even more mature Rene Perez and Eduardo Cabra working together combining passionate lyrics and more eclectic sounds. The album contains acoustic and electronic sounds; rock, hip hop, pop and folkloric rhythms, and even Celtic and Baltic music can be found. Although Residente still has that fury when delivering his messages, we also find a softer side to him as is the case on the love song "Ojos Color Sol" with Silvio Rodriguez. The album Multi Viral has received nothing but great accolades from some of the most prestigious music publications.
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learn more about the band, we met up with the Ozomatli prior to the live presentation of their new album "A Place In The Sun" at the Amoeba record store in Hollywood. Musica Roots: Tell us how this new album came about? Wil-Dog Abers: We have been working ,composing and recording at the studio for almost two years, as well as touring at the same time. Asdrubal Sierra: Also, recording for Gabriel Iglesias, writing music for his cartoons and different things. We have been very busy. How did the song "Brighter"come to be on the album? AS: We wrote that song with Dave Stewart, the guitarist for the Eurythmics. Dave is a great producer and produced a bunch of incredible artists. I've known him for many years ... our kids are friends; we met at our children's school. How did the collaboration with Dave Stewart come about? AS: We met one day, dining, and I told him 'I know you for so many years, would you like to record something with us?'. And he said 'yes, of course'. He is a very nice person; he doesn't have any negative vibe. He is terrific, very humble, very amusing and with an incredible musical spirit. To play or start creating music with him is like being a kid in a toy store. With Dave Stewart and Ozomatli coming from distinctive different musical backgrounds, how did you work the lyrics and musical arrangements on "Brighter"? AS: I brought the chorus and he completely moved it one measure. He did it just like that. He said 'yo now7 You'd bette ove it here', and then we starte with the lyrics. Which songllo you think sets the standard for this album? AS: I think as we are Ozomatli, we have several genres fusion. think that si sis an album, the style will be the sum of all of this. Every (s in the Ozomatli' rainbow. We are so different from what w~ do in our own genre, that every song has something unique.
How long have you been together as Ozomatli? WA: 19 years ago. April 1st is our anniversary.
What can you tell us about the song called 'La Pal eta' ('The Ice Cream Bar')? WA: It's a Mexican style, 'techno-banda', or something like it. We invited our friends of 'Voces de Rancho', an original Mexican music band that lives in Los Angeles. They have been together for almosy 17 years and we are fans of their music so we invited them to play with us on this track. AS: It's a tribute to all the ice cream sellers from here.
Where does the album's name (Place in the Sun) originate from? AS: We have a track called 'A place in the Sun" and the lyrics of that song are about searching for your place in this world. Finding what you believe in, what you like, what you are passionate about - to be a part of all the circles that this world offers and to share them together.
I am guessing that after 19 years playing together, you are like a family...
We have many bands like Las Cafeteras and La Santa Cecilia that have grown up listening to you guys ... AS: But this music is nothing new. There are bands like Santana, with tracks like 'Oye como va', that are being played in the radio along with The Beatles. There are also bands as Tierra, Malo, a lot of different groups like that. It is nothing new, but everyone sees it in a different way. We were founded in this kind of music, especially in a city like Los Angeles, where there is a strong fusion of genres, communities, culture, and it is very natural for me and for this city to see bands like this ones. If there is a question that you would like journalists to ask you, which one it will be? What would you like to reveal about 0 zomatli?
AS: Well, it's like the 'El Cantante' song that Ruben Blades wrote a long time ago ... nobody asks me if I laugh or cry because the song sounds one way or another. We are a band that has a lot of party music, but we are more than that. Many people know us for the party, but our music comes directly from the roots, from the protest and social injustice topics.
Last question, what can people expect from Ozomatli this 2014?
AS: We are like uncles. For example, my children have known my partner AS: Well, another album of pure party, although we are a band that is for many years; it does feel like a big family. We are brothers, and as we very connected with what is socially happening. We are also musicians love each other we also fight, and by the end we say 'OK, let's go out to above all, and we are fathers, we are brothers, we are sons - we are dinner together'... common (people), we have a little of everything. WA: And if he has problems with his kids, he just sends them to my house to discipline them (laughs).
an - na
CANYON CODY av Lu1s
& ANGEL AGUILAR
anyon Cody is a multifaceted individual who
What is your current job and title and is this what you always wanted to do? I'm a publicist, and no ... this is not what I envisioned. I wanted to be an astronaut, or a basketball player, and then that evolved into wanting to be maybe a team doctor or a sports lawyer, and then maybe a legislator or a diplomat, and finally a writer or at least a damn good
can be seen behind the turntables at many concerts
reader. For now I'm an increasingly accomplished
and music events around L.os Angeles. His high profile persona
listener and hoping to become someone who knows how
works well wen representing one of the many artists he
to make money for myself and others.
showcases. Always with a smile and smooth personality, Canyon is very visible in any crowd, no matter the circumstance.
You have had several collaborations as a DJ and producer, what can you tell us about that?
Canyon is an active member of the DJ collective
Primarily I've collaborated with my partner Gnotes, but
Subsuelo. Also, for those of us closer to the music business,
I've also had the chance to work with DJ Ethos, and Chuck
we know Canyon as the connection to Nacional Records,
Wild, and Gerardo Morales, Juan Habichuela, and La Tigresa.
the leading Latin alternative record company that works
I've DJ'd parties with Diplo, Quantic, Ziggy Marley
with artist of the caliber of Manu Chao, Aterciopelados,
and Erykah Badu, In terms of real back-and-forth
Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, La Vida Boheme, Ana Tijoux and
partnerships, that's limited to mostly the Internet global
bass and Boston boombap and Granada flamenco worlds.
Canyon Cody is a lot more than a DJ or someone
Can you tell us about some of your favorite moments in
working for a leading record company, Canyon was a
Fulbright Scholar in ethnomusicology, researching the Arab roots of flamenco. In his college days, Canyon hosted
I was proud as hell when La Vida Boheme won the Latin Grammy
a Boston hip-hop show on WZBC 90.3 FM. He also
for "Best Rock Album". Also, I got to play a Cuban celebration at
published more than 100 articles as the Music Editor for
Dodger Stadium, with Yasiel Puig and Jaime Jarrfn. As well as,
The Heights and majored in International Studies, with a
the taco festival at City Hall . It was delicious.
concentration on Global Culture. While living in Spain, as a DJ, Canyon hosted weekly parties at Babylon,
Who is your favorite artist of all time?
BoogaClub, Granada 10, and D'Cuadros, and also toured the summer festivals throughout Europe, performing in France,
Bill Withers and Beny More
Germany, Holland and the UK.
What is the most exciting part of your job? To find out more about Cody, we met with him at his office at Nacional Records and here's a little bit of what
Creating stories, reading the news, and dealing with weirdoes.
we talked about:
How did you get started in the music business?
Any recommendations for anyone trying to get into the music business at any level ?
I started as a journalist but I found myself writing the
Stop if you can, otherwise, just do what you do and do it
same story about how these exceptionally gifted and
talented musicians weren't as well-known as they should be. And as far as I could tell, it was only because they didn't have an infrastructure around them. So I eventually started becoming part of the construction
crew of that support system.
To know more about Canyon Cody, please visit his website at www.canyoncody.com and cab ve followed on facebook under canyonazo and twitter under @elcanyonazo
L o s Angels local band, La Santa Cecilia was awarded this 2 014 the Gram my for "Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album" for their album "Treinta Dias." Staying true to their principles, during their acceptance speech, the band dedicated their Grammy to the 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S. The band gained national and internationally notoriety after they were signed by a major label, Universal Latin. Their single and video, "Hielo (ICE)," touched the hearts of many people and brought much needed media attention to the separation of families by the practices employed by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. La Santa Cecilia has overcome a lot of obstacles, like the immigration status of one of their members and having to dodge INS checkpoints while traveling to perform in Arizona and Texas. As well as not having their band mate when it came time to traveling out of the country. They also had to face criticism from other bands and people in the industry when they were awarded the Grammy, as some people do not consider their music to be pure rock, but then again, what is "rock"? After the success of their first album, "Treinta Dias," which was produced by Sebastian Krys, La Santa Cecilia recently released a new album, "Someday New". The band presented the new material at the Grammy Museum, where they answered some questions prior to a very intimate performance.
by Angel Aguilar
hen we were kids, we never dared to change the dialed on our mother's radio, so we were exposed to all this great music that our parents listened to," stated La Marisoul when referring to the inspiration of "Someday New". The band also stated that this new album is a combination of all the music they love and grew up listening to, like cum bias, ranch eras, jazz and of course, rock & roll. The new album contains a cover version of the Beatles "Strawberry Fields Forever". When asked about why they chose to cover this song, La Marisoul stated: "We were traveling up to northern California and we noticed the strawberry fields along the highway and we saw all those hard working people taking care of them, so this beautiful song took on a completely different meaning for us." La Santa Cecilia is a hard working band and they do not rest on their laurels. They were invited to play at the Vive Latino festival and for the first time, all members of the band were able to travel to Mexico. Upon their return to the U.S., the band played several dates on the east coast. After receiving all the accolades, being on national and international television, La Santa Cecilia continues to stay close to their fans, since they are a band of the people and have not lost the humility that helped them get to where they are now.
Iii ConJunto Nuttva Ola Riding thtt Wavtt of Succttss The lyrics to our original songs talk about every day struggles like 'El Luchador' - the wrestler who fights for a better life. 'El Pirili' which talks about a new movement or it could be a double entendre for something sexual, it's really up to the listener to decide. 'El Deposito' (The Deposit) can be considered a love song. It talks about us (men in general) making a deposit into a woman's deepest, most sensitive organ, like her brain, or her heart. In the end, they are songs that make people dance and feel better.
What does "Chido" mean? (for our non-Spanish speaking amigos) 'Chi do' is more of a slang term that we use regularly in our day-to-day vocabulary; and it has the same meaning as the word 'cool'. For example, if there is a wrestler on the dance floor dancing to cum bias, he is 'chido!' When we say 'chido, chi do' that means it's really cool.
Any wresting going on behind the scenes? Is that why all of you wear masks, or are you not very good looking? No, the only wrestling happening is on stage. We wrestle to make sure that people have the best time at our shows; we like to see them sweat. The reason for the masks is: 1) We love lucha libre. 2) Is because in this band there's a few of us that are extremely good looking, so in order to have the people concentrate on our art rather than our good looks, we have to wear the masks. Otherwise we wouldn't be able to get the ladies off the stage. 3) There's a couple in the band that aren't as good looking, so it's also an equality thing. We don't want them to feel left out.
In all seriousness, what can you tell us in regards to the concept ofthe band? Everything that I've answered in previous questions is serious, we are a serious band. The concept is basically taking cumbia which comes natural to us and the Mexican culture ofwrestling and mixing it together; you get.. .. ECNO!
How can others follow your path? Others can't follow in our path, there was only one path here and it's ours.
Any words of encouragement to new bands coming up in the scene? Yes, don't wear masks and start playing cum bias. You can play rock if you want, but if we see you on a stage playing cumbias with a wrestler's mask on, we'll send El Raja (our roadie) to take care of you.
Is there any artist you guys would like to feature or work with? Yes, there are several, probably too many to mention, but there are some that are in the works for our next album. I don't want to spoil any surprises, but you 'II see once that album is out. For now, buy our first CD at our shows, we need money for the new album.
Is there a question you guys are wondering why it has never been asked by anyone to the band and you are so eager to answer it? Please write it and be honest. "I think every question imaginable has been asked. People tend to be very nosy".
To end the interview, ECNO had one final statement: "We just want to add that we had to use a translator for this interview. Our Ingles is no buena."
PAINT AS A WAY OF DISCOVERING STORIES HIDDEN WITHIN MYSELF , PEELING AWAY LAYERS , DIGGING DEEPER EACH TIME , REVEALING IMAGES OF FORGOTTEN STORIES." Ill
Roberto Gil de Montes by Patricia Marquez Bianchi & Fabian Bolanos
The distinguished Mexican painter comes back to Los Angeles, the city where he lived and studied for many years, with a series of surreal portrayals of his native country, called "Hecho en Mexico". He retains a purist's approach to Art-making, creating vibrant and colorful works infused with symbols and metaphors that reference time, memory, cultural identity, lifestyle and history. The lush brushwork and complex compositions do not merely depict the world as he sees it, but rather invites the viewers to physically experience the hidden images and forgotten stories of the world. Pre-Colombian symbols scatter the works, referencing a rich cultural visual language creating hypnotic patterns and psychological portraits. The fantastic interplay between the decorative and figurative elements produce dream-like paintings with seductive and charismatic characters that not only pay homage to the male experience, but are also reflections of self.
Roberto sat with Musica Roots a few days before the Opening of his highly anticipated exhibition "Hecho en Mexico" at the Lori Schlesinger Gallery, his first solo show in nearly 10 years since leaving Los Angeles. Musica Roots: Roberto, tell us a little about yourself. Roberto Gil De Montes: I was born in Guadalajara Mexico, I came to this country in 1963 for the first time and in 1965 I relocated permanently. Even though I went to school here in East Los Angeles, I always went back to Mexico every chance I had. Twenty years ago I bought a house in the coast of Mexico where I used to spend the little time I had off. Six years ago I moved there. I left Los Angeles 13 years ago, first to San Francisco and then to our vacation home.
When did you start painting? I started painting when I was 9. When I was a kid I had to go to a government building called "El Palacio de Gobierno de Guadalajara" where we have one ofthe most important murals in Mexico done by Jose Clemente Orozco. As you walk up the stairs. When you're a child and you see these dead people and flames everywhere, it is absolutely terrifying. So my first experience with art was not a beautiful thing (laughs).
What can you tell us about your home city? I live north of Puerto Vallarta in tiny town of 15, 000 people. There are not many artists; there are no galleries or shopping centers. It's almost a primitive area in the tropics.
Tell us a little bit about your process when painting. The process has a lot to do with discipline. I have to be in the studio a certain amount of hours a day. If I'm working on a painting it is most likely that I stay in there until I finish it. It's like an obsession. Even when I think I finished something, I may go onto a new project, and then go back to the previous one and make changes.
What is the root behind "Hecho en Mexico"? The initial Idea was to do pay homage to an artist that I was influenced by when I was a kid. His name was Henry Moore, he was a sculptor. I did some research and found out he had been influenced my Mexican art, and particularly by a pre-Colombian art piece called Chapwool. Initially that is what I started working with and it turned out to be the whole show. As I was working there were other things that interested me and subconsciously came into the work
What is the most important piece for you in this exhibition? That would be difficult to say, but I would have to say the Chapwool painting in which I pay homage to Henry Moore, It is called "Henry Moore."
Do you feel your style has changed over the years? I wouldn't think I have a style to change, even though some people will say "Oh I would recognize your work". I do think there are some pieces in this exhibition that show a significant departure from what I do like the ones that are influenced by Huichol Art, even though Huichol Art is in a narrative form and mine aren't, there is a definite influence.
What does Mexico represent for you? It's the Motherland. After living here in the States for so many years it is a similar story of Gauguin. He left France and went to live to the Marquesas Islands thinking he was going to paradise. I moved to Mexico City thinking it was this incredible place and it is, but I think I arrived at the worst moment, with all these problems with "Narcos" and this terrible violence. It's been difficult knowing there is a lot of insecurity, but it is my homeland and I embraced it, as I think it has embraced me.
Having worked with college students, do you think interest in the Mexican culture in the U.S. has increased with the younger crowd during recent years? I think so. More than an increase, I think it has solidified. I recently came to Los Angeles and there were two Mexican films, "Water and Power" and "Cesar Chavez" in the theaters. When I came back here to do the show I said to myself "There is still this real interest and growth", because when I watched the movies I saw growth in the cinema that Chicanos do. So yes, there is an interest in the Mexican and Latin American culture.
What would you like for people to take from "Hecho en Mexico"? I would like for them to take whatever it is that the work means to them, because like I said my work is not a narrative so if you come and look at it you might think it means something, which it has a definite meaning but it doesn't. It's like an open story.
Photography is one of your passions. What can you tell us about your friendship with the late Mexican photographer Ricardo Valverde? When I came back to Mexico we formed a group of Mexican photographers and a counsel. We did shows, we gave ourselves street projects and went out and did them. We had a gallery together in Pasadena on Raymond Street. We actually collaborated on many projects and participated in Mexico City in a few exhibits. He was definitely a good friend.
The "Hecho En Mexico" exhibition will be on display at the Lora Schlesinger Gallery from April 5th until May 10th.
Lora Schlesinger Gallery
2525 Michigan Avenue, T3 Santa Monica, CA 90404 (310) 828-1133 FAX (310) 828-4344
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