The motivation was a longing for Mexican music on the part of the band’s principal songwriter and lead vocalist, Sandra Velasquez, a California native who was studying music in New York. Her solution: to form a band that played the music of her youth.
Sandra plays acoustic guitar and sings. She is accompanied by a five string bass, accordion, electric guitar and percussion. She has a delicate voice and sings everything in Spanish.
“Polvo” is pretty song. She plays a lovely finger-picked guitar while everyone else adds flourishes to flesh out the song–never overpowering her voice or guitar. The song has a louder moment with some oh oh oh ohs before growing quiet again. It ends as prettily as it began with the delicate finger picking.
“Ponle Frenos” means put on the brakes. She wrote this after having her first child when she realized that she needed to rest from time to time. It is upbeat and bouncey with a reggae feel in the verse. And there’s a fun refrain of what I hear as “beep beep beep.”
“La Despedida” is the final song, appropriately translated as “The Goodbye.” This song feature “the symbol of the dessert,” the donkey jaw. It is a quiet and slow ballad with bongos as the featured percussion. There is great work from the (mostly unseen) electric guitar–nothing fancy but adding great textures and melodies over the main acoustic guitar. He also adds a beautiful, lonesome-sounding guitar solo. About 3 minutes in, the percussion starts playing the jaw bone along with the bongos. He just hits it with his fist to make the rattle sound, And then, she walks “off stage” with her guitar—standing in the audience watching. And then the accordionist puts her instrument down and walks off—leaving just bass guitar and percussion. Then the bass departs. After the last chords ring out the guitarist leaves just the bongo and donkey jawbone. After a measure or two, he gets up and walks through the audience with the jaw. It’s a great ending to the set.
It’s wonderful hearing music from other cultures, especially one that is so close to us, yet which we tend to spurn. RESIST THE WALL.
[READ: January 27, 2017] “I Was Ayn Rand’s Lover”
This story was written near the election of Obama’s first term when Paul Ryan was a weasel with bad ideas but little power. Now, sadly he is a weasel with worse ideas, no spine whatsoever and access to a lot of power. But this essay is at least a fun way to make fun of him. It begins like this:
Many of my Republican friends have said to me, “George, why are you voting for Barack Obama?” They assume it is because I believe in his radical socialist agenda of being fair to everyone, even the poor. But that’s not it at all. I could actually care less about the poor. We have some living near us, and pee-yew. They are always coming and going to their three or four jobs at all hours of the day and night. Annoying! No, the reason I am voting for Obama is more complicated.
The reason is that back in 1974, when he was just 17 and she was an internationally famous author, he and Ayn Rand were lovers: (more…)