and More Chicano Soul"
Sueños is aSacramento-based band formed in 1979
whose style is a mix of r&b, funk, and Latin. They sing
and record in English and Spanish and have described their music
as Chicano Soul and Latin. The CD has some uptempo songs and several
ballads for which they are best known according to their
website. Many of the songs have a horn section and some
feature some nice three part harmony. This band has some
good musicians and the vocals are tight. Also available is
their new CD single called "Let's Celebrate." It has three
versions of the title track, the last being a karaoke version.
For more information on the band and how to order their music
Avalon & Aztlán"- Bay area singer/songwriter/guitarist Ray
Cepeda gives us a collection of songs that contain Latin, Latin
rock, and Latin jazz elements. Cepeda wrote six of the
nine songs on the CD, some are in Spanish and others in English,
plus an instrumental. He does a great job of Latinizing
rock classics "Green Eyed Lady" and "Undone," the latter track
being my favorite. Ray is backed by some top notch
musicians including Buzzy Linhart and the legendary Jose "Chepito"
Arias of Santana fame. This and other of his recordings
are available at cdbaby, amazon.com, and other on line sites.
For more information on Ray Cepeda, click
visit his website.
"Angels Over Avalon & Aztlán"
Ray Cepeda (2008)
"Que de Aquellas" is a collection of Mexican
songs from the era of World War II recorded live with a
narration by Luis Valdez that ties it all together. The
album is executive produced by Art Brambila and co-produced by
Steve Salas and David Salas.
"Que de Aquellas"
Open Door" is a CD by L-Rey, featuring Martin Cantu,
former lead vocalist of Malo in the 90s. Martin Cantu
is a first rate vocalist with a high range and soulful
style whose music has been devoted to Christianity since
his spiritual awakening in the late 90s. The songs
were all co-written by Cantu and range in style from Latin
to rock and r&b. The song "Hold Me" from "The Open
Door" has placed #2 on A/C Christian radio charts. His previous CD in 2008, "All
Around," features "Jesus Cristo," a Christian version of
Malo's classic hit "Suavecito," with some current
and past members of Malo providing the backing. Original Malo
horn man Roy Murray reprises his classic valve trombone intro,
along with some flute and trumpet flourishes on the
For more info on Martin Cantu and L-Rey, visit
here to view a video of "Jesus Cristo."
for a video of Martin singing with Malo. Click
here for info
on "La Mission," a movie in which Martin
here Cantu appears with
Benjamin Bratt. Click
for a video of Martin's testimony to Joyce Meyer.
"The Open Door"
Breath, Spirit & Life
"Flame On"- Rich
Spremich, original founding
drummer of Malo, garnered
international success with Malo
with hits such as “Suavecito”
and “Nena”. Now, Rich
Spremich introduces another
powerful band called Breath,
Spirit & Life, an evangelistic,
“New Wine Ministry.”
Formerly, The Damascus
Experience, Breath, Spirit, &
Life explodes onto the music
scene with their first release
from Prince of Peace Records,
“Flame On,” which was recorded
at Velasquez Music Productions
in San Antonio, Texas. All
songs were written by Rich
Spremich, inspired by the Holy
Spirit and brought to life by
lead vocalists, Tony Martinez
and Kimberlee M. Leber.
The entire album, “Flame On”,
was engineered, mixed and
mastered by eight time Grammy
Award winner, Gilbert Velasquez.
The album was produced by both
Rich Spremich and Gilbert
Velasquez. “Flame On” is a
blend of worship songs with
Christ-centered lyrics and
as The Damascus Experience,
their album,“Sword of the
Spirit”, was nominated for
En-Sound Radio Independent Album
of the Year in 2008 (3rd Place).
The Damascus Experience received
radio play in southern gospel,
gospel, smooth jazz,
contemporary Christian, and
praise & worship markets.
Renamed as Breath, Spirit &
Life, the band’s release,
“Tremble” successfully achieved
radio airplay in five different
Christian and secular markets.
Recordings of both The Damascus
Experience and Breath, Spirit &
Life can be purchased online.
Breath, Spirit & Life has four
songs currently available on i-Tunes.
Their new single, “Yeshua,” from
“Flame On”, is now available.
The song is in the style and
spirit of "Suavecito," with a
Latin smooth groove. As on
"Jesus Cristo" by L-Rey
reviewed above, Roy Murray plays
trumpet on the intro of "Yeshua,"
playing in the style of his
original part on "Suavecito" by
hear "Yeshua" and for more info
visit the Breath, Spirit & Life
Breath, Spirit &
Linea"- Lila Downs is the daughter of a Mixtec cabaret singer, Anita Sanchez, and
Allen Downs, a Scottish/English-American professor of art
and cinematographer from Minnesota, grew up in Oaxaca,
Mexico and California. She's a great singer who's
style encompasses many genres including Latin, r&b, and
native mesoamerican. She also writes her own
compositions and sings in English and Spanish.
"Border- La Linea" is her 2001 release. In 2010 Lila
participated on "San Patricio" by The Chieftans, produced by
Ry Cooder. For more info, visit
"Border La Linea"
Lila Downs (2001)
Conjunto Los Pochos
"Dame Más Amor" is a CD by the California
style Tex Mex band from L.A., which formed 12 years ago.
The band members are Otoño
Luján on button accordion & vocals, Elliott Baribeault
on bajo sexto & vocals, Ernesto Molina on bass, and Lorenzo
Martinez on drums & vocals. The vocals are good
and they mix conjunto with blues and country in English and
Spanish. This CD has covers of Freddy Fender's "Wasted
Days and Wasted Nights," the Texas Tornados' "Hey
Baby Que Pasó," and Willie Nelson's "On the Road
Again" in their own distinctive style. Drummer,
Lorenzo Martinez performed with my dad (Lalo Guerrero) and
I in many concerts, including in Paris, France in 1998.
He played guitarrón on those shows. He's a very talented
and versatile musician, who's performed with me since.
"Dame Más Amor" is available at this link on
"Dame Más Amor"
Conjunto Los Pochos (2009)
"Music for the Mind, Body, Soul & Feet"- Kukulcán is an
East L.A. band that started back in the 70s, led by the
late Ruben Luciano Alaniz and Ralph Torres. The
music is Latin jazz with indigenous overtones. The
music and musicianship is superb. This CD was
recorded in the early 90s, but is truly timeless.
Some of the special guests performing on the CD include
the great Bobby Robles on guitar and Joe Rotundi on
keyboards. Bobby currently plays with Thee
Midniters, The Tremelocos, and others. Rotundi is
a gifted musician who played on Ry Cooder's 2003 "Chavez
Ravine" CD. I knew Ruben Alaniz when he was a kid
in East L.A. and remember seeing Kukulcán perform once
soon after the band was formed. "Music for the
Mind, Body, Soul & Feet" is available on
myspace.com, i tunes, napster, and bluepie.
"Music For the Mind, Body & Feet"
"Inkblots"- Inkblots are a four piece band
from Santa Ana, CA. Their music is a variety of styles
from folk, blues, to rock and roll. Their style
has elements of punk, grunge, and alternative.
They've headlined at famous venues such as the
Troubadour and the Whiskey in Hollywood and performed in
the Bay area, where their music has received airplay.
They play and sing with passion and their song ideas and
lyrics are good. To purchase their CD and for more
info visit their my space page:
Life"- Sean Salas is a Los Angeles based singer-songwriter and nephew
of El Chicano lead vocalist Jerry Salas has a new
CD out called "Circus Life." Sean describes
his music as "eclectic Pop, Rock, a touch of the
blues and dash of jazz." It
also shows influences of classic rock artists with some
songs definitely showing Beatlesque styles and harmonies,
particularly on my favorite cut, "Cafetime."
Jerry provided some guitar and vocals on a couple of tracks.
for more info.
Sean Salas (2009)
Stop Rockin'"- The Sleepwalkers are anexcellent band from the San Diego
area that have been active in Southern California, South
Texas and Mexico since the 80s. Their influences are
rock & roll, blues, jump blues, rockabilly, country,
with a splash of Tex Mex. They've headlined many shows
and have opened for artists such as the Texas Tornados,
Freddy Fender, Flaco Jimenez, Big Bad Voodoo Daddies, Link
Wray, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Graham Parker, the Blazers,
and the Blasters, among others. They've been written
about in periodicals around the U.S. as well as in Europe.
Their 1999 CD "Can't Stop Rockin,'" on Relampago-go
Records, reminds me of the early Lobos in its rootsy, rockabilly
style. These guys can play, sing, write good songs,
and are continuing to evolve. Their bass player, "Action"
Andy sent me an audio cassette with rough mixes of the songs
they're currently recording for their next CD, and they're
branching out into other genres, including some Latin-flavored
grooves. Other members of the band are Johnny Valenzuela,
vocals; Sean Styles, drums; and Gig Fortier, guitar.
"Can't Stop Rockin' is available on amazon.com at the
"Can't Stop Rockin"
The Sleepwalkers (1999)
Johnny Meza is a Palm Springs, California-based Latin jazz vocalist/keyboardist.
His "Kokopelli" CD is a mostly-instrumental
jazz album with Southwestern overtones. Johnny plays
acoustic piano, Hammond B3 organ, and percussion, in addition
to his vocals. He produced the album and his wife,
Lola Rossi, was executive producer and provided some vocals.
Johnny wrote all the songs for the collection but one,
and composed several with Lola. My favorite track
is "Cruisin' On Palm Canyon," which is a funky
instrumental piece. I also particularly liked another
instrumental called "Taquitz Canyon Shuffle."
Palm Canyon and Taquitz Canyon are both landmarks of his
and my hometown of Palm Springs. Johnny is a fine
musician and good friend, who I've worked with many times
here in the desert. His CD also features some of
the best musicians Palm Springs has to offer such as Pat
Rizzo, who's played with Sly & the Family Stone and
Frank Sinatra; bassist Jeff Stover; and great sax/flute/clarinet
man Steve Alaniz, who also often plays with my band Mark
Guerrero & Radio Aztlán. Johnny Meza performs
at clubs and jazz festivals, including the famous Idyllwild
Jazz Festival, with his band Johnny Meza and Kokopelli
featuring Lola Rossi. For more info contact Johnny
Meza at email@example.com.
Johnny Meza (2003)
CD by an excellent guitarist/composer based in
Las Vegas, Nevada. Rick lived in the Alhambra area
on the Eastside of Los Angeles when I first met and worked
with him in the early 80s. We played in a band together
for about six months and he did several sessions with
me on a couple of my dad's children's albums of Las Ardillitas
de Lalo Guerrero. His latest CD, "Calor"
is an instrumental album I would describe as smooth jazz,
with Latin, blues, and funk elements. Rick wrote
all the songs and plays electric and nylon string guitars,
keyboards, and does the midi programming. My favorite
cuts are "Summer Morning" and "Two Miles
to L.A." "Calor" by Rick Chavez is
available at amazon.com at the link below and
second CD by an East Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter who has two
CDs out on Layla Records. The first was called "Just
Another Dude from Montebello." Some of the songs on
"Chicali" are comic and others
are not, but my favorites are the humorous ones.
The titles are self-explanatory, "Soy un Cheaple,"
"Jail for Christmas," and "Como Friegas
Mujer." Some of his music is in the Tex Mex
style, but there are songs with folk elements and even
a reggae song. Dean is capably backed on the Tejano
cuts by the Garza Family Band. He's received airplay
on Tejano radio stations throughout the Southwest and
some of his songs from his latest CD have been on the
MP3.COM Tex Mex and Tejano charts. For more information
or e mail Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dean Acevedo (2003)
"Reflejo de un
Zombie"- Mancha Negra is a one-man band comprised of Luis Accorsi, from Buffalo,
New York. I would describe the music as punk metal bilingual
rock. Luis can play and sing and writes good songs in
his genre. Some of the interesting titles are:
"Destrozaste Mi Subconciente," "Gusanos,"
and "Destruction." The music sounds as if
it would easily fit into the Southern California Latino punk
metal scene. For more information, contact Luis at email@example.com.
"Reflejo de un Zombie" Mancha Negra (2004)
a CD by the Grammy Award winning La Santa Cecilia.
Here's a paragraph on the band and its music from its official
website: "La Santa Cecilia exemplifies the modern day
creative hybrid of Latin culture, rock, and world music.
The group draws inspiration from all over the world, utilizing
Pan-American rhythms like cumbia, bossa nova, rumba, bolero,
tango, jazz, rock, and klezmer music. Their unique sound
and experience of their colorful, passionate performance leaves
fans and new listeners mesmerized. They are proud to be
from the City of Angels." For more info, visit their website:
La Santa Cecilia (2014)
La Santa Cecilia (2013)
a CD by Las Cafeteras, a young East L.A. group of four men and three women.
Who they are and their music is best described on their website:
"Las Cafeteras create a vibrant musical fusion with a unique
East L.A. sound and a community-focused political message.
Their Afro-Mexican rhythms, zapateado & inspiring lyrics tell
stories of a community who is looking for love & fights for
justice in the concrete jungle of Los Angeles. A remix of
traditional Son Jarocho sounds, Las Cafeteras add Afro-Caribbean
marimbol and cajon, poetry in English and Spanglish, and
instruments like jarana, requinto, a donkey jawbone, and a
wooden platform called the Tarima." For more info visit
Las Cafeteras (2012)
a CD by a great cumbia band
from East L.A. Here's a paragraph about the
band and its music taken from one of
their you tube video pages:
"When the fiery guitarist Gloria
Estrada decided to leave L.A.’s
fast-rising fusion bandLa
most of us who had seen her live
were shocked and wondered what
she would do next. Well, here
she is with her new project, Viento
The band is composed of Estrada
Gabriel Villa, Federico Zuniga
Jr. from the Grammy-nominated
and will feature a rotating
roster of guest singers. Viento Callejero has set out to
cover old school big band cumbia
classics in a very innovative
way. Estrada had the idea a long
time ago, but grappled with how
to recreate the multitude of
horns and instruments on these
orchestral tracks with just one
guitar, bass, and drums. The
final result is an electrified
cumbia sound that finds itself
somewhere between thepsychedelic
guitar licks of Peruvian Chichaand
The music will captivate your
ears and get your hips swaying."
Existential Rhyme"- a CD by Chicano
Batman. Their first CD is also available from a link
below. The two paragraphs below taken from their website
best describes the band and its music.
music emanates from the soul, shaped in the womb, manifested
from colorful tapes and scratched up records. In 2008, the
band was founded in the sprawling Latin American infulsed
metropolis of Los Angeles. The members of the original
trio, composed of Eduardo Arenas (bass, vocals), Bardo Martinez
(guitar, organ, vocals) and Gabriel Villa (drums, vocals), were
raised on Spanish language ballads from the likes of Los
Angeles Negros, Leo Dan, and Los Bukis. They've also been
heavily inspired by the classic oldies anthems of Brenton Wood,
The Four Tops, dance floor hip shakers by The Latin Brothers,
Willie Colon, and the Brazillian sounds of Caetano Veloso along
with a closet-full of influences spanning the world over.
Just six months after their formation, the band recorded their
debut full-length album, Chicano Batman, which was released on Unicornio Records in 2009. The album was an instant hit,
establishing Chicano Batman as a band that knows how to
skillfully fuse the old with the new."
"Chicano Batman has
continued to grow in more ways than one. The group found
its fourth member, Carlos Arévalo (guitar), in 2011.
Arévalo was instrumental in decorating the lavish rhythmic
melodies heard in the band's second vinyl release, Joven
Navegante, EP. Inspired by David Axelrod instrumentals,
'60s and '70s Third Cineman, and Chico Che style cumbias,
Chicano Batman is not just another throwback band. They
use the "old school" as a launching pad to express their living
spirits while endlessly seeking to capture the essence of many
different musical sub-genres and aesthetics, and the references
are always clear." For more info visit chicanobatman.com.
Chicano Batman (2014)