By Pablo de Sainz
Slowrider is part of the new wave of Chicano bands coming out from Los Angeles. These bands including Ozomatli and Quetza tend to blend several genres to create a unique sound: Caribbean and Brazilian rhythms with rock, hip-hop, and rap; English, Spanish, Spanglish, and everything in between; and regional Mexican music with a political and social consciousness.
“Nacimiento” (¡de volada!, 2002) is the new production from Slowrider, one of the most dynamic bands from Los Angeles.
Without a doubt, the events that took place during the 1990s in California, such as the passing of Proposition 187, led to a revival in Chicano music in Los Angeles.
Slowrider is a clear example of the creative force sweeping young Chicano people today, and “Naci-miento” is its first LP.
The album is composed of 13 tracks that range from jazz-soul to hip-hop. It’s a smooth album, with a clear connection among all songs: Fussion of influences.
“Like a D.J., we create a collage of music and take a little from different (parts),” said David Gomez, the band’s keyboardist, in an interview with Boca magazine. “That is how we put our songs together. It isn’t about being influenced by one genre of music or a specific time of music; it’s the past coming together with the present.”
One of the most outstanding ftracks in “Nacimiento” is the catchy, jazzy “Once we travel,” which includes a special participation from Quetzal’s Martha Gonzalez in vocals.
The band uses its bilingualism, and song like “Pobre Bueno” are in Spanish. This song is a hymn to those hard working immigrants who try to make it by working.
“Yo soy pobre bueno, no pido más de lo necesario...”
If you’ve ever been to East L.A. and Boyle Heights, Nacimiento has the feeling someone gets standing in the corner of Soto and César Chávez Avenues: the different kinds of sounds you can hear; the kind of people you see, going to work and school; the fact you are in one of the most Mexican places in the U.S.
“I wanted to do music that was played by and for Latinos,” said Gomez, in interview with Boca. “It’s most of what we play, I feel is universal... dance, music and all cultures dance. But I wanted to make something that showed (what is common) within the Latin American experience. It doesn’t surprise me one bit to see what most of our audiences are Latinos; the music is for them.”
Slowrider was born in 1995, after David Gomez came back from working as a bassist with Bech. In 1999, the band released an E.P. titled “Más Allá,” produced by Ozomathis Will-Dog Abers and Ulises Bella.
Today, Slowrider is born again with Nacimiento. Changes in the band gave it a new strength. Olmeca is the Band’s vocalist, and he’s got much experience in hip-hop.
The album also includes special features by other musicians, such as Walter Miranda (Beastie Boys) and Band (Acid Rain).