12 Songs, 53 Minutes

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.

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.

TITLE TIME
4:37
2:51
5:23
5:20
5:09
3:34
3:36
5:38
3:08
3:41
5:13
5:07

About Quetzal

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 are in Spanish -- which is appropriate because the outfit's music acknowledges different cultures. Quetzal was formed in 1994 by guitarist/leader Quetzal Flores, who appreciated many different styles of music and saw to it that his band reflected his diversity. Other members of Quetzal have included lead singer/percussionist Martha Gonzales, singer Gabriel Gonzales, guitarist Ray Sandoval, bassist Dante Pascuzzo, percussionist Edson Gianesi, drummer/percussionist Kiko Cornejo, and violinists Rocio Marron and Yunior Terry. In 1998, Quetzal's self-titled debut album (which was produced by Oingo Boingo bassist John Avila) came out on the Son del Barrio label; it was followed by the Latinos' sophomore effort, Where Eternities Meet. In 2001, Quetzal signed with Vanguard and recorded their third album, Sing the Real, which was released in March 2002. The Steve Berlin-produced Worksongs appeared a year later in 2003, followed by Die Cowboy Die in 2006. Imaginaries was released by Smithsonian Folways Recordings in 2012 ~ Alex Henderson

  • FORMED
    1994

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