October 22, 2004

MACUILXOCHITL: Five Flower,” the Aztec god of music and dance

By Francisco Ciriza

New Music:

Bacilos has released it’s follow up to their ultra successful , Sin Verguenza (Warner Latino). The group’s unique sound remains distinct and intact, but the group assumes a different voice this time around. There exists a maturity with some riveting lyrics and ideas behind them along with some musical exploration by the group. The results are impressive as is the group’s attitude and dedication to its art and its fans. Look for a full feature in the near future as Bacilos begins the first leg of what promises to be an extensive international tour.

Ely Guerra’s latest, Sweet & Sour Hot y Spicy (Higher Octave) is a fire-ball of CD. It’s impossible to resist the passion in her voice and the sheer aggressive energy her band brings to the music. Highly introspective, the songs on Hot y Spicy are just that with Ely making confessions and asking questions that would make even the most outspoken of us blush. Yet, there’s a light innocence that swirls around the temptress that too is unmistakable and leaves the listener anxiously awaiting song after song.

On A Corazón Abierto (Sony Discos) Alejandro Fernandez offers his take on the age old pop balladry with a touch of class, musical integrity and exquisitely executed Mexican nuances. Fernandez’s approach in a genre which too often relies on unoriginal and substandard orchestration and arrangements is refreshing. His vocals too, elude exaggeration and emit a genuine sense of emotion and talent. The mix of upbeat pop and lighter ballads makes for a balanced and enjoyable listening experience. For the fan, this package offers a second disc, a DVD of videos and other treats.

Vicentico’s Los Rayos (BMG), is the second solo effort from the former lead singer of the kings of Latino Ska, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs. Rich with full-bodied instrumentation, Rayos offers tasteful examples of Vicentico’s affinity for compositions with catchy verses and heartfelt lyrics both complex and accessible. Diverse in styles but strictly Latino, Vicentico proves his worth and more with this disc which also features guests including Tijuana’s Julieta Venegas as well as his nine year old son, Florián Fernandez Capello.

Fonivisa has released Lo Mejor de Nosotors 1972-1980 an amazing retrospective of Los Bukis. Classic tunes in CD format with the now expectable companion DVD that includes videos, photos and more make for a nice overall package from Marco Antonio and the boys. With crystal clear sound, it’s a shame more effort hasn’t been put into enhancing the breadth of sound on these tunes. I understand the genre’s uniqueness and signatures, but does that equal tin can mix down so it sounds like it was recorded on a four track recorder? The musicianship and production are there, the mix could just use a boost. Perhaps, Fonovisa could take some hints from Rhino which produces top quality re-issues with incredible sound.

Updates…

Look for Ozomatli to retrun to San Diego for the third time this year. The group has two shows schedules for December on the 29th and 30th at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach. Seems San Diego has been good to OZO.

Latino rap and hip-hop are really hot right now. Acts are springing up and releasing records everywhere. The Kiva’s fav’s include Kemo (ex-Delinquent Habits) and Crooked Stilo, both from the Los Angeles Area.. Cubano-Americano, Pitbull, an east coast based rapper is also fun to listen to. He’s on to something unique and fresh yet something about the sounds remind one of old-school rap.

It didn’t take long for Gloria Trevi to back in to the swing of things. No pun intended. Her new CD “Como Nace El Universo” is on its way from BMG. Expect a lot of hype.

From Spain comes, La Oreja de Van Gogh, a somewhat progressive rock outfit featuring a female vocalist. They’ve recently released a solid live disc/DVD, EN DIRECTO lo que te conté mientras te hacias la dormida, on Sony Discos.

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