"Neither today nor ever before has there been a salsa group quite like Bio Ritmo. The group plays, unmistakably, with the beat and attitude of '70s-era salsa dura (hard salsa). But the conventionality stops there. With a roster that includes former rastas, punks, rockers, and jazzistas, Bio-Ritmo can't help but bring an exhilarating unorthodoxy to its music. Take "Dina's Mambo,"from a new 45 RPM release on Electric Cowbell records, for example. On top of the underlying salsa beat, it contains slinky cinematic soul, a deliciously cheesy organ, a baroque sounding synth, giant bullfight fanfare horn shouts, Afrobeat-tinged breakdowns, and some delicious instrumental solos." (WCVE, NYC)
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Bio Ritmo is a one of a kind phenomenon in today’s hard-bitten indie Salsa world – a band with both a healthy adventurous streak and a solid underpinning of authentic sabor criollo. In a rather hostile environment that makes playing this type of music more a labor of love and endeavor of pure artistic expression than a simply commercial endeavor, Bio Ritmo continue to delight and amaze with both their talent and longevity, consistently pushing the envelope, tearing down walls between categories and defying pigeonholes.
While it may have been more commonplace in the 70s, you won’t find too many tropical Latin bands today that combine traits seemingly at odds with each other and the mainstream marketplace: original, edgy and experimental on the one hand, and steeped in classic salsa dura chops on the other. How does this translate for the dancers and consumers of Bio Ritmo’s oeuvre? A chance to both expand the mind and move the body, with a product that exists on both a spiritual and a carnal level. This is a role that traditional ritual communal music and dance has historically played in Africa and its New World Diaspora, but that gets co-opted pretty much any time the capitalists sniff money and decide to step in and call the shots. Luckily, the band themselves are controlling their own destiny, and with contributions and support from like-minded people like mixers Aaron Levinson and Brian Ritrovato, engineer Lance Kohler, and the folks at Electric Cowbell, their new 45 is a case in point for why Bio Ritmo is a treasure to cherish as well as a fetish for setting your next fiesta in motion. They always “keep it real” – nothing artificial or enhanced – and with their latest 45rmp released by Electric Cowbell records what you get is unadulterated creativity but still within the context of recognizable Cuban and Puerto-Rican roots based forms. Add to that the always excellent cover art by the band’s talented vocalist and frequent song composer Rei Alvarez, and you have a very worthy addition to the group’s already impressive catalog.
<<Liner Notes by Pablo Yglesias aka DJ Bongohead>>
Bio Ritmo’s tracks