Funky Tejanos

Brownout - Aguilas and Cobras
Brownout – Aguilas and Cobras
Brownout

Aguilas and Cobras (Six Degrees, 2009)

In Austin (Texas) there is a thriving musical scene that includes musicians who are taking Hispanic Texan music in new directions. Brownout is a great example of this musical melting pot with its blend of Latino roots music, African American funk, psychedelic rock and Tejano border sensibility. They are a collective of musicians who play in other well known bands, such as Grupo Fantasma. Under the Brownout incarnation, the band performs an explosive mix of primarily instrumental pieces that draw inspiration from 1970s legends such as Sly and the Family Stone and San Francisco band Malo.

Afro-Latin rhythms, psychedelic organ, electric guitar riffs and brass characterize the Brownout sound. Aguilas and Cobras is Brownout’s new album on Six Degrees Records. "It’s funny because we can be rehearsing with Grupo Fantasma one night and then the next night the same group of guys can go back to the rehearsal room and rehearse as Brownout and the music is completely different," Guitarist Adrian Quesada says. "We’ve been lucky enough to be performing sometimes, where there’s a whole audience that’s not even familiar with Grupo Fantasma when Brownout is playing and vice versa. We’re definitely trying to keep the two separate. At the same time there’s no point in trying to hide the fact that it’s the same band."

"With this particular record we tried to take it in different directions trying to use vocals and certain things on the songs that you wouldn’t expect on a funk song or on a Latin funk song," Quesada explains. "Almost every tune with vocals on it was trying to really take the music on a wide left turn. We feel like we’ve already paid homage to the music before us and all of our influences and now we’re really trying to see if we can actually take the music somewhere and put our own stamp on it."

The group’s lineup on the album includes Greg Gonzalez on bass, Beto Martinez on guitar, Adrian Quesada on guitar, Johnny Lopez on drums, Sweet Lou on congas, Josh Levy on saxophones, "Speedy" Gonzalez on trombone and Gilbert Elorreaga on trumpet.

Brownout’s Aguilas and Cobra is an extraordinary Latin Funk recording by one of Texas’ most interesting acts.

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Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. He was also the executive producer of the first Latino feature film made in North Carolina titled “Los sueños de Angélica.”.

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