MACUILXOCHITL: Five Flower”, the Aztec god of music and dance
By Francisco H. Ciriza
The east coast based act Hip Hop Hoodíos will make its San Diego debut on January 30th at Canes Bar and Grill in Mission Beach. The quartet, comprised entirely of bilingual musicians from Jewish/Latino backgrounds, has played numerous well-attended concerts primarily on the east coast with only a few select appearances in California. The band will unleash its brand of rock and rap “en Español” to local fans at a show scheduled to be opened by San Diego’s own, Emaue.
While perhaps a seemingly new and fresh concept to many, the idea of combining Latin alternative music with American- Jewish culture took hold of Josué Noriega back in 1996 while he was a sophomore at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. In those days, Noriega, dreamed up imaginary collaborations between popular rap and hip hop acts of the era.Today, he fronts his own group, a collective of some pretty impressive individuals.
“I had spent some time in Buenos Aires working for Warner Music Argentina, and when I came back to the States, I really wanted to combine the vitality I had grown up with. It wasn’t until several years later, being back in New York and heavily involved in the local Latin alternative scene, that I actually met other Latino Jews who could help pull off a vision like this one,” says Noriega.
Providing many of the group’s complex and inviting rhythms as well as its bass presence is Latin Alternative scene veteran, Federico Fong. Fong was the founding bassist for multi-platinum Mexican rock icons, Jaguares, and their D.F. underground counterparts, La Barranca. He also toured with Caifanes and appeared on that group’s final recorded work, El Nervio Del Volcan. Having previously worked together in the business, Noriega cornered the unsuspecting Fong one day in New York. “I just asked him to listen to a song. He listened and he liked it and said he’d like to play in a group like that,” says Noriega of the coup.
Abraham Velez, a Puerto Rican/ Jewish writer and editor for several national music publications is also a part of the team. Velez co-writes many of the groups songs and brings an extensive knowledge of traditional guitar playing to the group. “I’ve known Abe for a long a time. It’s great to be able to play music with such a good and talented friend,” adds Noriega.
The Hoodíos CD debut, Raza Hoodia, which featured guest appearances by members of Los Mocosos and Orixa, was a pretty impressive success as far as independent releases go. To date, the disc has a sold over a surprising 3000 copies. The band has all ready completed the recording of its follow up and is now deciding on which offer to take. “We’ve been lucky enough to have a few independent labels give us some offers,” says Noriega. The second group of tunes, produced by Happy Sanchez (ex-Los Mocosos), show the band at quite an advanced stage of maturity. The lyrics are much more concise and expressive of their views. “We’re not a joke band,” states Noriega. The group presents a witty and intelligent perspective through the eyes of biculturalism and the tongue of trilingualism (English, Spanish, and Hebrew). The group lists Café Tacuba, Puya, and Aterciopelados and Jay-Z and Puffy as some of its influences.
The group has had continued success. Their $400 video for ‘Ocho Kandelikas,’ a cut off Raza Hoodía has aired on MTV, CNN, Telemundo, and LATV - something nearly unprecedented in this day of big budget/high glitter music video production. Most recently, Volkswagen recently began using Hoodios’ new song “Gorrito Cosmico” for their national ad campaign on behalf of the VW Beetle convertible.
Hip Hop Hoodíos w/Emaue
Friday, January 30, 2004
9 p.m. $8
Canes Bar and Grill
Bellmont Park, Mission Beach