Part of the Small World Music Festival
From Spain, Picadillo provides a cultural shortcut between New Orleans and Havana. When Cuban musicians Hector Agüero Lauten, Rey Rodriguez and José Luis Rodriguez met Sol Ruiz in Madrid in 2010, they entangled their musical baggage to create a sound that represents the best of multiple worlds. Picadillo is geographically unthinkable at first sight. Four musicians from different places, generations, and artistic backgrounds converge to express themselves in a very local Cuban code.
The bands two lead singers seem to personify the essence of this collage. While Rey was raised and studied music in Cuba, Sol was born in Miami to Cuban parents but lived in New Orleans where she got infected with all the original sounds of the Mississippi Delta. It seems as if she has two souls – one for Southern Blues, Jazz and Rock and another one for Guaracha and Guaguanco. ‘I’m influenced by Billie Holiday, Dr. John, Edith Piaf, and Benny More’, she said.
While rooted in a number of traditions, Picadillo sounds tremendously fresh. Sometimes in music it’s not what you play or say but the way you do it. They use a lot of current slangs in their lyrics to update the messages. But hey, isn’t it what you hear in the rhythms they fuse including Blues, Ragtime, Soul, Son and Rumba? Like some one told me long time ago, ‘There is nothing newer than the forgotten’.
Like the religion they’re named for, Santeria’s propulsive music is a mystical blend of old and new world influences – tribal rhythms expressing themselves in the gospels of popular song. Flamenco guitar runs along with electric bass while congas, cajon and timbales transport the rhythm to Afro-Latin locales. Sultry vocals breathe out Bossa Nova tales that teasingly take each song to a mysterious musical place occupied exclusively by Santerias.
This Toronto sextext brings the influences of their diverse backgrounds (Chilean, Colombian, Canadian) to the forefront of their sound in a way that has them often compared to Spain’s Ojos de Brujo. Some songs bring in Middle Eastern and South Asian rhythms while some embrace a Brazilian Tropicália sensibility. Band members include: Oriana Barbato (bass); Jay Guerriere (percussion, vocals); Juan Dino Toledo (guitar, vocals) and Irene Torres (lead vocals, percussion) Kevin Richards (drums) and Christopher Molder (keyboards).
This festival show celebrates the release of their new full-length album Demonios, Santerias are set to expand the success resulting from their debut 2004 release Bosketches.