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Venezuela's Bituaya Live At Tropical De Nopal 7/24/11

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, July 25, 2011 12:59am | Post a Comment
Bituaya At Tropical De Nopal
Bituaya
’s first show in Los Angles wasn’t met with much fanfare. Roughly sixty people came to their show Saturday at Tropical De Nopal gallery, hosted by Eclectica deejays Reyes and Glenn Red. After their seventy five minute set briefly stalled by power outages and a complaining neighbor who called the police, I can gladly say that I was there to witness one of the best shows I’ve seen this year, if not in the last few.

Bituaya hails from Venezuela, a country known by most Americans more for their oil, baseball players and of course, their leader Hugo Chavez, who is overly hated by the right and overly loved by the left. Venezuela has a rich music history, from the Joropo music that reminds me of Mexico’s Son Jarocho, to Latin Pop stars Richardo Montaner and Jose “El Puma” Rodriguez. In recent years people all over the world have been getting down to the alterna-house sounds of the legendary Los Amigos Invisibles. Venezuela also has a rich history of great Salsa artists such as personal favorites, Oscar D’Leon, Federico y Su Combo, Los Dementes and La Dimension Latina. One cannot deny the influence of Caribbean music on Venezuelans or for that matter, on Bituaya as a band. Bituaya continues the trend of recent Latin America artists perfecting the mixture of Merengue, Salsa, Cumbia, Reggae, Hip-Hop and Electronica effortlessly and without sounding contrived.

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Omar Souleyman At The Echo 7/12/11

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, July 18, 2011 07:45am | Post a Comment
Omar Souleyman at The EchoWhen I heard Omar Souleyman was playing in Los Angeles, I knew I had to go. Not only do I love his music but also how many times do you have a chance to see anyone from Syria perform in the U.S.? All those who cry about what a disappointment the Obama administration is can thank their liberal visa policies towards international artists. Do you know how many artists’ visas were denied during the Bush administration, especially if they’re from a country deemed a threat to the U.S.? 

Truth be told, there are many places you can hear music like Omar Souleyman across the Los Angeles area. In various Arabic restaurants in Glendale, Alhambra and the West Hollywood you can find someone like Souleyman’s collaborator Rizan Sa'id on a couple of keyboards playing behind a group of belly dancers or at a wedding reception. However, comparing Souleyman to those restaurant musicians is the equivalent of comparing Junior Kimbrough to some hack wearing a fedora playing slick Chicago-style blues. Sure, they both play blues music, but with Kimbrough, you felt the blues.

I had a feeling what an Omar Souleyman audience would look like: The hipster boys who travel to places like Indonesia and buy cassettes of local artists with their ambiguously ethic girlfriends? Check! Arabic people, mostly Syrian nationals, checking out a guy from their home country? Check! The “way too cool” musicians and deejays, who never say anything to you even though you see them everywhere you go? Check! Aging hipsters, still on the brink of discovering something new? Check! Ok, we can proceed.

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The Autographed Bin Cards Of Amoeba Hollywood's Latin Section

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, July 11, 2011 07:37am | Post a Comment
Cafe Tacuba Amoeba Bin CardThere is a tradition in the Latin section that doesn’t exist in the rest of the store. It’s the autographed bin cards. The bin cards are the separators between the CDS, DVD, and LPS that help you find your favorite releases. When I started working at Amoeba Hollywood several years ago, there was only one autograph bin card. It was from Alex Lora from El Tri. Legend had it he came into the store before a show and some fans recognized him and started a mini-ruckus in the Latin Rock and Pop section. A former co-worker and Amoeba favorite, Joyanne Troutman, decided to get Alex to autograph the bin card. Although being mobbed, he thought it was funny to be asked to autograph his bin card, so he did. That’s how it started.

We now have over two-dozen autograph bin cards throughout the Latin section, most of them, acquired by Paul Vasquez, World Music employee since 2006. I asked him a few questions about why and how this happened.

What was the first autograph bin that you had signed?


It was Rodrigo Y Gabriela. They did an in-store performance and I thought they were so cool that I wanted an excuse to talk to them. By then we had a few autograph bins that Joyanne and other World Music employees have gotten so I told them it was a tradition, which it is now.

Enrique BunBury Amoeba Bin card How do you get the autographs? Are they all from in-store performances?


Some are, but most of them come from the artists themselves shopping at the store or people they are with introduce us to them. For instance, a friend of Los Tres Reyes introduced the members to me while they were shopping at the store. I love their music but I wouldn’t have recognized them.

Was there anyone that refused to autograph the bin card?


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Best Of The First Half Of 2011 BY Gomez Comes Alive!

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, June 15, 2011 11:51am | Post a Comment
We have almost reached the halfway point of 2011 and once again time is just flying by. The rest of the year promises some great new World Music releases and live performances. Here are a few great moments and releases that have inspired me so far this year:

Chancha Via Circuito

Chancha Via Circuito
Rio Arriba

I got this release almost a year ago at a ZZK Records showcase. I wanted badly to write about it but this is a blog about what you can get at Amoeba, right? In March, the CD/LP release of Rio Arriba became available in the U.S. and I couldn't be happier. Chancha Via Circuito explores the world of South American folklore, blending his hypnotic beats with the revolutionary past of South America. The result could be considered another sub-genre of the digital Cumbia movement…perhaps Digital Nueva Trova?? Nevertheless, it is one of the most beautiful and organic electronic records released in some time.

Celso Piña Live At Amoeba Hollywood

When we usually get Latin artists to play at Amoeba, it usually fits into two categories: The Latin Alternative set: (The Nortec Collective, Ozomatli, Aterciopelados and pretty much anything on Nacional Records) or Salsa/Latin Jazz artist. Having Celso Piña play in the store was a big deal for me for two reasons. He is a Cumbia artist, a music that is more popular in Los Angeles than people in the Latin Music industry will have you believe. The second reason is Celso appeals to our many Mexican, Central and South American immigrant customers who frequent Amoeba Hollywood on a daily/weekly basis. Next up for Amoeba Hollywood? How about a legitimate Regional Mexican artist to play the Amoeba stage? Then a Bachata group? a Punta group…. Celso Pina Photo by Farah Sosa

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Amoeba Hollywood World Music Best Sellers For April & May 2011

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, June 5, 2011 10:12pm | Post a Comment
Cult Cargo1. Mana-Drama Y Luz (CD & CD/DVD)
2.V/A- Bossa Nova And The Rise of Brazilian Music in the 1960s (CD/LP)
3.V/A- Those Shocking Shaking Days: Indonesian Hard, Psychedelic, Progressive Rock and Funk 1970-1978. (CD/LP)
4. Zoe-MTV Unplugged (CD/DVD)
5. V/A- Bossa Nova And The Story Of Elenco Records (CD/LP)
6.V/A- Cartegena! (CD/LP)
7. V/A-Nigeria 70 Vol.3 (CD/LP)
8. Ceci Bastida- Veo La Marea (CD Only)
9.V/A-Fania Records 1964-82(CD/LP)
10. V/A- Cult Cargo Salsa Boricua De Chicago (CD/LP)

Mana was Amoeba Hollywood’s bestseller for the last two months thanks to their massive in-store autograph session on April 12th. It was pretty nuts, even for someone like myself who anticipated that the in-store would be huge. There were plenty of people leaving the autograph line either shaking or crying after they met the band. To those in L.A. who do not understand how big Mana is, they will be playing four nights at The Staple Center in June…that’s between 70-80 thousand tickets!

Suen Kuti From Africa with Fury RiseAlt-Latin darling Ceci Bastida landed in the eighth spot after a well-received in-store performance. Speaking of Alt-Latin darlings, Zoe’s MTV Unplugged CD & DVD put them at the number four positions. The rest of the slots when to various world compilations from Brazil, African and Latin America, all 1960 to 1980 retro collections.

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