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News From The Latin Section, Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, December 16, 2011 05:35pm | Post a Comment

Paulina Rubio BravaEnd of the year usually means the major labels release all their biggest releases of the year and Latin Music is no exception. On the pop side we have releases from Paulina Rubio's Brava and Laura Pausini latest, Inedito, which has a ’Spanish and Italian version. Former Aventura singers Romeo Santos and Henry Santos release their first solo albums. Henry Santos Introducing and Romeo long-anticipated Formula Vol. 1 has been selling like crazy. Even solo, these guys are still the Kings Of Bachata.  Not to be outdone is Shakira with another live CD/DVD, Live In Paris. Enrique Bunbury Licenciado Cantina

On The rock side, Mana has yet another deluxe version of Drama Y Luz, with a DVD with videos and bonus tracks not on the original deluxe version. We had another monstrous in-store; this time it was Enrique Bunbury promoting his newest release, Licenciado Cantinas with an autograph session. We sold over 300 advance CDs for the signing and a bunch more online and now we have the vinyl version, if you are so inclined.

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Radio Sombra Debut & The Future of Internet Radio In East L.A.

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 20, 2011 11:50pm | Post a Comment
radiosombra.orgLast Thursday, I took part in the debut of Radiosombra.org, a new Internet radio station based out of Boyle Heights in East Los Angeles. My show was one of several that debuts that night as part of a new collective. Among the debuts were The Tao Of Funkahuatl hosted legendary Ruben Funkahuatl Guevara, Art & Grooves, an aptly titled show by art curator and deejay Reyes Rodriguez. Another show is Merkado Negro, hosted by Nico from Los Poets Del Norte and DJ Libre. their show concentrates on everything underground in the real Eastside from subversive art and music to community –building projects. My personal favorite is the brilliant Heart Break Radio, hosted by Lady Imix from Imix Books. Just like the title insinuates, it's a collection of songs to cry yourself to sleep.

Discos Immigrantes is the name of my show. It will focus on the migration of records and people, which in some cases are quite similar. In future shows, I will have interviews from folks who have either immigrated to the U.S. or who are the product of immigration (i.e. first generation Americans) The show will focus on their stories and music they have brought with them, whether in the physical form or in their memories.

Radio Sombra is the brainchild of Marco Amador, a musician and long time community activist, who set up the station and for the time being, is financing the operation. I spoke to him briefly on why he felt the need to start an Internet station in the heart of East L.A.

What made you start this station?


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New World Music Releases on LP!!!

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 14, 2011 12:28am | Post a Comment
BamBara Mystic SoulEl RegoJoni Haastrup

There has been an amazing amount of new World Music releases on LP over the last three months. It has become so overwhelming that I thought I’d better call attention to it. Whether you like reissues of obscure World Music albums, hits collections, compilations, or new music, we have plenty of recent arrivals for your turntable. Not only do we have lots of new releases, but at the Hollywood store we have plenty of used LPs and two rows of collector LPs on the wall just above the Country/Bluegrass section. Listed below are some of my favorite new releases, broken down by geographical regions. 

Na DoumbiaLijadu Sisters


Africa:

La Grande Cantatrice Malienne Vol 3 (plus download) - 
Na Hawa Doumbia
Danger - 
Lijadu Sisters
Wake Up Your Mind - 
Joni Haastrup
Give The Beggar A Chance & Dawn Of Awareness - 
Monomono
Jealousy/ No Discrimination / No Accommodation For Lagos  / Progress - 
Tony Allen
Bambara Mystic Soul – The Raw Sound Of Burkina Faso 1974 to 1979 V/A
S/T El Rego
Obi Agye Me Dofo Vis-A-Vis

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Japan Tour 2011: Part 2 By Gomez Comes Alive

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 7, 2011 12:36am | Post a Comment
Joe Bataan Japan Tour Poster
Joe Bataan Tokyo Show Poster
 
After our Shenanigans in Shibuya, we rested most of Saturday. The next day was the Joe Bataan show and load-in was at 10 a.m. Joanna and I spent most of the day resting and taking walks around Chofu. There is a small river/reservoir that runs through Chofu. The water level was low but it’s full of lush greens. Giant crows and cranes dive into the water to pick up the smaller fish that were making their way downstream. There were many cats that hung out by the reservoir. I would see the same cats everyday, hanging out in their favorite spots. The cats in Japan are much bigger than the cats in the U.S. A good word to describe the cats is “beefy” They are not necessarily fat, just thicker than the average U.S. cat. In the evening, once Shin and Miho were done with their duties with Joe Bataan, we took Shin’s bikes and rode to one of his favorite “hole in the wall” to eat. The best places to eat anywhere in the world are the neighborhood spots that only locals know about. This place was no exception. Shin & Miho were concerned that some of their favorite dishes wouldn’t go over with us but those were the dishes we liked the most. Fresh sardines to start off followed by fresh cucumbers, Miso soup with small oysters, ginger pork, octopus and many other great homemade Japanese delicacies. The place had a few drunken locals hanging around; include one drunken guy that kept asking us to move from our table so that he could look for his lost cell phone. It reminded me of being in one of those great taco spots in L.A. and being harassed by the local tecato. It made me feel at home.

The next morning we were up early to get ready for the show. By then, my internal clock was all messed up, having to adapt to Japan time followed by staying up until 7 am then having to go to bed early for Sunday’s show. Shin’s company is a record label but from time to time he serves as a promoter. The venue was a big empty room. There was no sound system or stage and all had to be constructed before sound check. Joanna and I used this time to walk around Asakusa, another part of Tokyo, were the venue is located. The club, Super Dry Hall, is inside the Ashai Beer Building that is famous for it’s Philippe Starck sculpture on top of the building. It is supposed to look like golden beer foam coming out on top of the building that is shaped like a pint glass.  Almost everyone that looks at the sculpture thinks of the same thing, “ is that a piece of poop on top of that building?” The Japanese has given it a nickname, kin no unchi, which translate into “The golden poop” The building is now know by locals as unchi biru (the poop building)
 
Japanese Temple
Sensoji Temple
 
Nearby kin no unchi is Sensoji, a Buddhist temple dating back to the year 645 and is Tokyo’s oldest. The following day was a national holiday so the temple was extremely packed with tourist. We didn’t go into most of the temples, as there seemed to be services in many of them. We walked around the many vendors, including a street called Nakamise, somewhat outside of the temple. From there we walked around Asakusa and watched a somewhat unusual marathon. They didn’t block the streets for it. The runners had to obey the traffic lights and run on the sidewalk. They ran in groups of a fifty at a time so they wouldn’t talk over the whole street. Every so often runners, many of them in Halloween costumes, would overcome us as we walked.
 
Joe Bataan & Willie-San
Joe Bataan (center) & Willie-San (left) at soundcheck

We returned to the venue and everything was up and running. I’m always amazed by the efficiency of Japanese workers. In less than a few hours they had constructed a stage, set up lights, a sound system and were already sound checking the band. Having worked for sound companies in the past, I know how long a job like that should take and it was pretty impressive they did it so quickly. We said hello to Joe and his wife Yvonne, as well as Willie-San, getting ready to shred on his timbales. The hired band from Japan wasn’t well prepared. They were sloppy and forgetting parts. You could see the frustration in Joe’s face. Other than Willie-San and a few other musicians, the band lacked the swing that most of Joe’s backing bands have. It looked like a potential disaster waiting to happen. At the end of sound check, Willie-San took all the members of the group backstage and had a half-time style meeting with them.
Gomez & Japanese Lowrider w/ a Slowrider CD
Gomez With A Japanese Lowrider
 
At this point, I was sound checking the levels on the turntables when the other DJ showed up. It was Masaki Motomiya or DJ Motomix, a Japanese Lowrider from Sapporo, located in the northern part of Japan. I met him randomly on the street the last time I was in Japan. He and his friends were in Tokyo to catch the Quetzal/Luis J. Rodriguez shows and he saw us eating in a restaurant. We had food together and took photos outside the restaurant. Later, some of his crew came to the show. Masaki is the president of the Esmeralda Car Club in Sapporo and it’s main DJ at the car club events. Shin said he was expecting him to bring a few members of his car club with him, but at the end they were about twenty-five deep. Pretty impressive I must say, coming all the way from Sapporo.

Japan Tour 2011: Part 1, By Gomez Comes Alive

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, October 31, 2011 12:56am | Post a Comment
Gomez from The DJ Booth
Sundaland Cafe, taken during my set

A few weeks ago I went to Japan. This was my third time in Japan and my second as a DJ. The first time I went it was in 1994 when I played bass briefly with the artist, Beck. The second time was in 2006. It was for a Chicano/Japanese cultural exchange with the band Quetzal and the writer, Luis J. Rodriguez, author of one of my favorite books, Always Running. Each trip was a different experience. The Beck tour was a straight-up rock tour, with nice hotels, chauffeurs, backstage food & drinks and on occasion, girls waiting in lobby for the bands. The second time was about experiencing Japanese Lowrider culture and how the much Chicano culture and Japanese culture have influenced each other. It was honor to be in the company of Luis and Quetzal on that trip and I was honored that I would be asked to attend. In Los Angeles and even in my own community, most of us feel like we have to bend over backwards just to get a gig. To say that the Japanese have been very good to me is an understatement.

This time around I was to play in three different shows. The biggest by far was an opening DJ set for the legendary
Joe Bataan. The budget for this tour was much smaller then past tours. There was to be no hotels and I took the train to most places. My friend Shin Miyata, who has released several of my albums on his Barrio Gold/Music Camp label, was my host for the tour. We stayed at his apartment while he tended to Joe Bataan, who also has a few albums on Music Camp.

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