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Two Great Shows On Wednesday, 10/20/10

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, October 18, 2010 09:18am | Post a Comment
The problem with living in a town as big as Los Angeles is sometimes you have too many choices. October 20th will be one of those days.

Celso Pina w/Blanquito Man

Celso Piña's monster hit, "Cumbia Sobre El Rio" was the best song that came out of the last decade, in my opinion. Its crossover appeal makes people of all ages dance their ass off when the track is played in a club or party. It’s the first song in recent memory that was championed by immigrant culture, gangsters and by hipster Latinos. It's also said that this song was key in influencing the whole Cumbia remix, mash-ups and Digital Cumbia culture of the last several years. Celso was already one of Mexico's biggest Cumbia artists when 2001’s Barrio Bravo was released. But with the help of Blanquito Man and Toy Selectah, they gave Cumbia a new twist, adding their Hip-Hop and Dancehall Reggae influences and making Celso Piña became a household name. Celso has released dozens of excellent Cumbia albums before and since Barrio Bravo, but that was his brightest moment.

Celso returns to L.A., along with Blanquito Man (formerly of King Chango), with dj sets from the Mas Exitos Crew.

Celso Piña-"Cumbia Sobre El Rio"

Maneja Beto

Also on Wednesday and just a few blocks away is the return of the Austin, Texas based Maneja Beto. Maneja Beto continues on a path that bands from Mexico no longer follow. Maneja incorporates traditional Mexican musical influences with their Anglo and Roc N' Español influences. They are part early Café Tacuba, part The Smiths and part Texas flavored Cumbia. They write great songs and play all assortments of electric and traditional Mexican instruments. A trip to L.A. for Maneja Beto is a rare thing these days, as one of the main songwriters, Alex Chavez, has become a college professor at Notre Dame. Maneja Beto will be rocking out at Mucho Wednesdays, located at La Cita. Also performing will be a new group called Chicano Son, a mixture of L.A. and Austin Texas Son Jarocho musicians with a different take on the classic traditional Mexican music.

Best Of 2007, Part 2 - Maneja Beto At The Levitt Pavillion 7/28

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, December 6, 2007 11:03am | Post a Comment

Maneja Beto
comes into town two or three times a year with little fanfare, and that’s too bad. They are the best Mexican rock band out on the scene right now that isn't actually from Mexico. Hailing from Austin, TX, Maneja Beto continues on a path that bands from Mexico no longer follow. Maneja incorporate traditional Mexican musical influences with their Anglo and Roc N' Español influences. At their performance at the Levitt Pavilion in Pasadena, Maneja Beto tore through an hour and half set that featured most of the songs from their brilliant release, Accidentes De Longitud Y Latitud. One of the things that makes Maneja unique is that two of the band members play multiple instruments. Bobby Garza doubles on percussion and keyboards and shares vocal duties with Alex Chavez. Chavez plays keys and a whole array of guitars (electric as well as traditional Mexican instruments such as the Jarana and the Requinto). Much like Café Tacvba, Maneja Beto has great songs and can mix all their influences together and still retain their own sound. But unlike Café Tacvba, Maneja does not have an engaging front person, which perhaps is the reason their rise to popularity has been much slower.

There is a Mexican saying, “Traen la cara de nopal,” which roughly translates to, “You have the face of a cactus." It is what some Mexicans say to each other when one forgets where he or she came from. It’s something one can’t shake, no matter how much you are educated, how much money you earn, where you move to or how much one assimilates into Anglo culture. In the end, you have to look in the mirror and see yourself, "la cara del nopal," the face of a Mexican.

The thing I like about Maneja Beto, with all their painted nails and their obvious love of bands like Joy Division and The Smiths, is that they never try to hide their “caras del nopal.”  I think that many bands from Mexico right now could learn from them.

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