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Imaginaries

Quetzal

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iTunes Editors’ Notes

The politically engaged, L.A.–based Chicano group Quetzal draws on a mix of Latin and non-Latin genres to make its own sound. On 2012’s Imaginaries, the group’s essential building blocks are son jarocho, Afro-Cuban music, and American R&B. The opener, “2+0+1+2=Cinco,” rides a 5/4 groove while a traditional guitar known as the jarana colors the music. The group consistently uses interesting instrumental combinations: tarima (a wooden dance platform), violin, cello, and Fender Rhodes are just some of the instruments also on the track. “Luz y Miel” and “Duermete” find Quetzal working in an Afro-Cuban mode, and both tracks sound great. “Intifada,” which shows solidarity with Palestinians, hints at cabaret, old-timey folk, and son jarocho. The reconfigured salsa of “Por Eso” has some fine violin work from Rocio Marron and Tylana Enomoto. The most striking song here is “Time Will Tell,” which features Quincy McCreary on lead vocals. The cut has an unusual R&B/gospel vibe created by soaring vocal harmonies buoyed by Latin percussion.

Biography

Formed: 1994

Genre: Alternative & Rock in Spanish

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Based in Los Angeles, Quetzal is an eclectic, unpredictable Mexican-American outfit that combines a variety of Latin influences (Mexican as well as Cuban, Spanish, and South American) with rock, soul, jazz, and folk. The band doesn't specialize in mariachi, ranchero, or Tejano — three styles of music that are quite popular among Mexican-Americans — but they have been influenced by traditional Mexican folk. Quetzal favors a bilingual approach; some of their lyrics are in English and some...
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Imaginaries, Quetzal
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