SUPER MOFONGO BEAT
Brazil, Puerto Rico and Mexico are countries so rich in musical traditions that they should form an Axis of Groove; too bad such a juggernaut would steamroll American bands into the dirt. Except for Los Angeles-based quartet Bayú, whose debut album, Super MoFongo Beat, is a glorious case of multiculturalism run amok. The album draws upon the cultural backgrounds of brasileiro Flavio Gaia, borinquensJosé Marty and Shane Visbal, and chilangoMoises Baqueiro to flaunt numerous ritmos americanos—Puerto Rican cuartos on electrical guitars, giddy samba drums, rap-funk-rock and many piercingly picked acoustic arpeggios—and coalesce them into one coherent whole. "Who was it that said that in Bayú, it's not possible to make a mixture?" Gaia's throaty voice boasts in Portuguese on "Bayucada." "We're going to take Brazilian, Mexican and Puerto Rican elements and mix them in an American temperament." But rather than being solely a vessel for mindless shimmy music like many of Los Angeles' Caribbean-influenced bands, Bayú tempers Super MoFongo Beat with harsh chords and even harsher lyrics about poverty and persecution, especially on "Coño" ("Shit"), a revelation that inspires as much fist-shaking as ass-shaking.
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