|Sergio Elmir, aka eLman and host of the popular CIUT alternative radio program Dos Mundos, has of late been producing or collaborating on the citys most exciting Latin music parties. On a steamy Thursday night, Supermarket was the scene of such a party. The occasion was the release of Rebel Rhythms debut recording Nuestra Musica.
The party started on the political vibe with eLmans fellow Colombian Ruben Bennie Esguerra waxing a lyrical conga/spoken word tip; hard-hitting salvos about corruption and injustice, positivity and hope in their native country over shadowy beats from eLman and El Machetero. Around 10:30 it was looking like a slow night, but gradually the dance floor filled up to a tasty selection of pan-Latin grooves. Rebel Rhythm took the stage right around midnight, and from the first hit it was pure ear candy.
|Their music brings together an amazing range of sounds and styles, contrasts and personalities. The foundation is a balance between the accessible, jazz/funk/house piano licks from Salvadorean bandleader Amadeo Ventura; fused with a frenetic mix of classic salsa dura vocals and Afro-Latin chanting from rhythmic genius Luis Orbegoso. Watching the Peruvian-born Orbegoso perform is always incredibly inspiring; this man robbed of sight able to so commandingly and instinctively drive the band from different angles.
It was a simultaneous continuum through the past, present and future of Latin, jazz, funk and house music; with influences from essentials such as Eddie Palmieri, Tower of Power, Sidestepper and Bio Ritmo. Cuban maestro Mario Del Monte, better known in La Habana Norte as a percussionist, was clearly savouring getting back to his original passion, the trumpet, with such a funky new crew. Timbalero Ernesto Ventura laid down a crackling clave heartbeat, more of that salsa dura swing vibe in tandem with Orbegosos vocals. Bassist Jesse Turton was pure pocket, rounding out the rhythm on the bottom end.
Having seen Grupo Fantasma a week earlier, the Austin-based powerhouse was a natural reference for this thrilling new sound of Rebel Rhythm that same mix of so many different Latin elements, such incredibly tight and rhythmically propulsive musicianship delivered with the hooky simplicity that makes norteamericano-style funk so much fun. Toronto should consider it fortunate that Rebel Rhythm is our music.
Amadeo Ventura leader, keyboards
Luis Orbegoso vocals, drums, percussion
Ernesto Ventura congas, timbales and percussion
Jesse Turton bass
Mario Mayito Del Monte trumpet
Ruben Esguerra percussion
Mario Rivas percussion