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Bomba Estereo Live At Amoeba Hollywood 11/16

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 23, 2009 12:00am | Post a Comment

When I heard that Bomba Estereo would be doing an instore performance at Amoeba, I didn’t know what to think. A few years ago, I heard their song “Huepajé” on a Nacional Records compilation and I dug it. Almost every time I played that song in the clubs, someone asked me about the song. I was anticipating their album Blow Up when it came out, only to be slightly disappointed by the somewhat sterile sound of it. I felt it was an adequate album, but not the one I was expecting. Perhaps their Electro-Tropical hybrid worked better as a single than a whole album. Soon after the album was released, I was getting reports from wherever Bomba Estereo played, from folks in Texas to a good friend in Tokyo, that this band live was not to be missed. It was only now that they got to make their way to Los Angeles. I hoped my friends were right.

The audience waiting for the show was small before the band went on. It was mostly your Latin Alternative enthusiasts and curious NPR types. Later, just before Bomba Estereo went on and during their set, the late-arriving Colombian nationals started trickling in, some decked out in yellow, blue and red, the colors of the Colombian flag. I saw a few gentlemen sporting the traditional Sombrero Vueltiao, the traditional hat of Colombia commonly worn by Cumbia and Vallenato musicians. I even saw a woman that was a complete Shakira knock-off in the front row, I kid you not! So when Bomba Estereo hit the stage and started the first song with the thud of conga synonymous with Cumbia, the audience was up and dancing.

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Dia De Los Muertos

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 2, 2009 02:31pm | Post a Comment

Every year I look forward to building my altar for Dia De Los Muertos. It’s become more important to me than Christmas or New Year's, and most certainly more than Thanksgiving. It's time for me to take time out and think of those who have left this world and look forward to their spiritual return via memories, stories and offerings. Besides images of family and friends that have passed on, I like to include musicians and artists who have inspired me in some way. This year, many great musicians from Latin America and Spain have passed. So this is my ofrenda to them. Pan De Muerto, Chocolate and Tequila for all spirits who visit. I hope you can include the souls listed below in your altar or in your thoughts today.

Mercedes Sosa (Argentina)
Argentine folk sing and outspoken activist. Along with Silvio Rodriguez, Victor Jara, Violeta Parra and many others, was part of the Nueva Canción movement. Nueva Cancion was the mixture of Latin American folk music and rock with progressive and politicized lyrics. Mercedes Sosa is not only respected in her native country, but around the world. Her most recent album, Cantora, contains collaborations with the likes of Shakira, Caetano Veloso and Luis Alberto Spinetta.

Jorge Reyes (Mexico)
Jorge Reyes started one of Mexico’s first progressive rock bands, Choc Mool, in the late 70’s/early 80’s. He played both guitar and flute while incorporating many indigenous instruments of Mexico. In 1985, Jorge went solo and released a series of new age albums based upon indigenous Mexican culture. He performed legendary concerts at famous Mexican archeological sites such Teotihuacan and Chichen Itza and his music was used for movies and television shows around the world. Coincidentally, he had an annual Dia De Los Muertos show at The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City that was widely popular.

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Amoeba Hollywood's World Music Charts For Oct 2009 (So Far)

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, October 12, 2009 01:19am | Post a Comment

1. Poncho Sanchez-Psychedelic Blues
2. Rodrigo Y Gabriela-11:11
3. Nelly Furtado-Mi Plan
4. Bebel Gilberto-All In One
5. Gustavo Cerati-Fuerza Natural
6. Mercedes Sosa-Cantora
7. V/A-Mata La Pena
8. Mahssa-Oyun Havasi Vol.1
9. Aventura-Last
10. V/A-
Panama! 2

Poncho Sanchez tops the September chart, in part due to another successful in-store performance on Sunday. Poncho’s latest release, Psychedelic Blues, may not truly “psychedelic,” but then again, neither was The Lebron Brothers' classic album Psychedelic Goes Latin, or, for that matter, Ray Barretto’s Acid. What these three releases have in common is the marriage of soul music and Latin music, which many Latinos growing up in the U.S. during the sixties were influenced by. Psychedelic Blues contains a Willie Bobo medley, a version of Herbi11:11e Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island” and Freddie Hubbard's "Crisis."

Amoeba Hollywood's World Music Charts For September

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, September 28, 2009 12:24am | Post a Comment

1. Os Mutantes - Haih Or Amortecedor
2. Rodrigo Y Gabriela - 11:11
3. V/A - Panama! Vol.2
4. Nelly Furtado - Mi Plan
5. V/A - A Orillas Del Magdalena -- Coastal Cumbias From Colombia's Discos Fuentes (LP)
6. Mario Ortiz All Star Band - Mario Ortiz All Star Band Tributo 45 Aniversario
7. V/A - Black Rio Vol.2
8. V/A - Psicofasicos De Bolivia
9. V/A - Sound Of Wonder!
10. Ruben Blades - Cantares del Subdesarrollo

Fueled by a great instore performance, Os Mutantes' latest release, Haih Or Amortecedor tops Amoeba Hollywood’s World Music chart for September. Hot on its heels, though, was the latest by another group of former Amoeba instore performers, Rodrigo Y Gabriela. 11:11, Rod y Gaby’s new release, comes with a DVD of live performances and even some instructional footage for the up and coming Flamenco guitarist in you. Nelly Furtado's first all Spanish album, Mi Plan, is starting to pick up some steam as well, coming in at number four.

At number five is a vinyl only release from the Domino Sound label out of New Orleans entitled A Orillas Del Magdalena -- Coastal Cumbias From Colombia's Discos Fuentes. Domino Sounds goes a bit deeper in this compilation than Soundways' excellent Colombia! compilation (both labels licensed tracks from the Discos Fuentes catalog), adding personal favorites by the likes of Andres Landero and Nafer Duran. I highly recommend this LP for anyone who wants to know where the true roots of Cumbia come from.

The situation in Ngulu Mapu intensifies

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 31, 2009 01:16pm | Post a Comment
Although it's received little-to-no coverage in most mainstream media, clashes between Mapuche activists and the Chilean government have intensified as of late. Two days ago, thousands of Mapuche and other Chileans gathered around the country to protest plans for damming many of the country's rivers. This was only the latest round in a growing protest movement over land rights issues in Ngulu Mapu, the Mapuche homeland.

Mapuche memorial

Just two weeks ago, a young Mapuche, Jaime Mendoza Collío, was shot in the back and killed by a Chilean police officer. The police were attempting to evict a group of about eighty Mapuche who were occuypying the San Sebastián farm. Following Collío's death, many Mapuche took to the streets of Temuco demanding direct talks with the Chilean president, Michelle Bachelet. The killing of Collío was only the latest death of a Mapuche at the hands of Chilean police. On January 3, 2008, 22-year-old Mapuche student Matias Catrileo was shot and killed by police. 17-year-old Alex Lemun was similarly shot and killed in November of 2002.


The Mapuche, whose claims to Ngulu Mapu stem from thousands of years of continuous presence, routinely clash with the Chilean governments as it sells off more and more of the Mapuche homelands to foreign mining companies which wreak considerable environmental destruction whilst reaping considerable profits. Meanwhile, large timber firms (most state-owned) continue to deforest the countryside. Most of the timber ends up in the US, at an annual profit of about $600 million. After the forests are destroyed, the timber firms replant the area with thirsty, non-native trees like eucalyptus. Those who speak out against what they call environmental racism are frequently arrested under the banner of counter-terrorism. The government regularly applies laws enacted during the Pinochet dictatorship to imprison activists, especially those belonging to Mapuche organizations like Coordinadora Arauco-Malleco (CAM).

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