Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

CD Review: Pistolera – En Este Camino

One of the best debuts of 2008, a bracingly catchy, smart, politically aware all-female rock en Espanol band blending upbeat accordion-driven Mexican banda music with jangly guitar rock. Pistolera means “gunslinger” in Spanish: the title of the cd is “this way.” Augmented by a horn section in places, the production is superb, vocals, guitar and accordion out front, drums in the back where they belong.  The optimistic Nuevos Ojos (New Eyes) begins with a reggaeish, clip-clop beat (that’s Ani Cordero, frontwoman of the excellent Cordero back behind the kit), frontwoman/guitarist Sandra Lilia Velasquez’ casually soulful vocals joined by the band on the chorus as is the case on many of the songs here. Piloto (Pilot), set to the same beat, features an amusing, upper-register Dr. Dre-style synth patch blending nicely with the accordion.Vieja (Old Lady) is a haunting, swaying, somewhat stately number with a long accordion intro.

 

The band add clarinet and tuba to the bouncy yet pensive oldtimey ballad Un Momento. Sarcastically set to a jump-rope melody, the lyrics to Policia recount the true story of Velasquez’ nasty encounter with airport police, who wanted to confiscate her newly acquired bullet belt:

 

Senor policia le digo la verdad

Si soy peligrosa pero no por les armas

Dejeme libre y jamas me va a ver

Uno de mis talentos es desaparecer.

(Mr. Policeman I’m telling you the truth

If I’m dangerous it’s not because of my weapons

Let me go and you’ll never see me again

One of my talents is disappearing)

 

 

The punchy, rustic, acoustic Inquieta (Nervous) is a strikingly terse, poetic look at the restless unease of immigrant life. The theme continues, picking up the pace with Extranero (Foreigner), a timely reminder that ultimately we’re all strangers somewhere and that we’d better not forget it. The rest of the cd includes the catchy, mariachi-inflected love song Eres Tu (It’ll Be You); the contemplative, piano-driven tango Reina (If I Was Queen), and Guerra (War), a timely remake of the Bob Marley hit that references Iraq, Afghanistan and Chiapas. What a good band, and what a fun album. And you don’t have to speak Spanish to enjoy it (although Spanish speakers will appreciate Velasquez’ excellent lyrics). Watch this space for New York area shows; Pistolera’s next gigs are Oct 17 and 18 at the Lake Eden Arts Festival in Black Mountain, NC.

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October 14, 2008 - Posted by | Music, Reviews | , , ,

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