SE LLAMA SABROSO (They Call it Tasty) by Zona Franka (a zona franca is a duty-free port) is an exciting introduction of a style called "Changüí con flow", a fusion of traditional rural changüí with rap and other urban Cuban music. As the name of the group implies, various musical styles from around the Americas are also featured. The songs are Cuban classics re-imagined in fresh, clever and innovative new arrangements that far differ from the original versions.
Beyond Salsa Piano is a history and anthology of the role of the piano in the Cuban rhythm section – from its first appearance to the present. In a broader sense, it’s a study of the tumbao – the art of creating music from layers of repeating rhythmic and melodic phrases. Whether these syncopated figures are called tumbaos, guajeos, montunos, riffs or vamps, this Afro-Cuban concept lies at the heart of nearly every popular music genre from salsa to rock , funk, R&B, hiphop and jazz.

While presented as a set of method books, the series doubles as a history course and record collecting guide for listeners, dancers, and players of instruments other than the piano.

Perhaps the most important goal of the series is to provide a comprehensive understanding of how tumbaos are constructed, their central role in the texture of Latin music of all eras, and the endless possibilities they provide for creative composing and arranging.


Home Base Established Albums Charts PTracks
Monterrey, Mexico 2000 1 0 0
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Rocktronica freestyle from Monterrey Mexico. Kinky artist photo courtesy of Jim Van Matre.

The five-piece band Kinky (Gilberto Cerezo, Ulises Lozano, Carlos Chairez, Omar Gongora, and Cesar Pliego) emerged from the desert city of Monterrey, Mexico with a set of world-savvy songs that dispute the fact that most of the ideas were born in their small home studio. As musicians who not only knew their various instruments but each other for many years within the small but supportive music scene of Monterrey, a collective vision of channeling sounds across the globe was definitely within reach.

Kinky then stormed the Battle of the Bands in New York at the annual LAMC (Latin Alternative Music Conference) in August 2000, beating out ten other finalists to win the contest for outstanding, unsigned Latin American bands. Shortly thereafter and amidst vying attention from other labels, Chris Allison officially signed Kinky to his London-based Sonic360 group of labels and headed into the studio in Monterrey with them to produce their debut, self-titled album. Through a licensing deal in the U.S. and Canada, Kinky joined Nettwerk’s roster of artists in 2000. Kinky integrated the stylishness of discerning American and European dance grooves and straight-ahead rock ‘n roll with traditional rhythms from throughout South America. Their fresh new sound combined with extensive touring throughout the US gained fans and supporters worldwide as people discovered Kinky is a band that truly comes alive on stage with each show resulting in energetic performances that quickly evolved into manic dance parties.

The band decided to set out on their own to produce their sophomore effort, Atlas, seeking a fresh setting that would further develop their ideas. Uprooting their studio Kinky headed deep into the jungle, taking up temporary residence in an isolated ranch in Quintana Roo, Mexico. They composed seven of the album’s songs there, surrounded no one but each other and several foreign insects and animals. In order to write a few more songs and finish the album, Kinky traveled to a different sort of jungle — Los Angeles. There they worked with venerable engineer Thom Russo (System of a Down, Audioslave) who helped the band bring out a more raw rock-driven sound in comparison with their electro-pop dominated debut.

Atlas also features a few select guest contributions. Songwriter Itaal Shur (perhaps best known for Santana’s “Smooth”) came on board to co-write “Not Afraid,” And John McCrea of Cake (who Kinky toured with) lends his considerable vocal talents to the punchy Colombian rhythms and vintage organ effects that make up “The Headphonist.”

In addition to their two highly successful full-length albums, Kinky also released a 2004 EP version of Santana’s ‘Oye Como Va’ (which can be heard on the film soundtrack for ‘Man on Fire’) and in September 2005 Sony/BMG Latin released a Kinky compilation of their first two albums titled ‘Recordatorio’. Kinky has begun producing their next record, tentatively scheduled for a late spring 2006 release. Although they are not currently supporting a release, Kinky continues to tour the globe out of pure demand for them to bring their energetic stage performance all over the globe, delivering the kind of music you can feel all over your body -now that’s Kinky. --from

Kinky may be a Mexican band, but these guys are a long shot from any preconceived notions you may have about what a Mexican band should sound like. They're anything but traditional and, if tagged as anything, are about as alternative as Latin alternative gets. This is because Kinky is a band that plays electronic dance music without going the computerized beat-making route. Well, at least not wholeheartedly, as they retain their essence as a band above all (rather than program beats, they seem to sample themselves and then loop those samples). It's tough to pin these guys down on their self-titled debut album because it veers all over the place, sometimes within a single song.

The 'Kinky' album opener, "Más," is a case in point, with its wah-wah guitars spitting out funk licks and its hip-hop breakbeats signifying the multicultural mélange to come. Some songs go a step further, like "Ejercico No. 16" in particular, kicking up such a dance-party dust storm that you're liable to mistake Kinky for Daft Punk. So while Kinky are indeed Latin musicians and sing in Spanish, that's somewhat of a minor issue. Like los Amigos Invisibles or Titan, Kinky emphasize the music, not the singing nor the cultural cues; they're a universal band with a universal sound that just happens to originate in Monterrey, Mexico. After all, this debut album was licensed by Nettwerk America (a Canadian label best known for releasing albums by Sarah McLachlan and the Barenaked Ladies) and was produced by Chris Allison (a Brit best known for working with Coldplay and Dot Allison), so it doesn't exactly boast a lot of Latin credentials. It doesn't need to when it's this great. Kinky is the sort of album that should stand on its out, beyond the realm of geographic or demographic categorization, and most certainly beyond cultural expectations or stereotypes. And when taken on its own terms, an album of music performed by a band, it's hard to resist the dynamic rocktronica en español of Kinky here, especially if you're keen on pigeonhole-defying multicultural listening experiences.
~ Jason Birchmeier, All Music Guide