June 28, 2014
Over the last two decades, the Richmond, VA-based salsa act Bio Ritmo have developed a reputation for experimentation and stubbornly refusing to be pigeonholed, as they’ve employed the use of synths, along with traditional salsa instrumentation, and released albums on a number of labels including Merge, Fat Beats, Electric Cowbell — or by themselves. They’ve also cited Stereolab, Brazilian psychedelic music, Ray Barretto,Roberto Roena, Fania Records and others as influences. So naturally, you do hear something of classic salsa in their sound but it does possess subtle nods to psychedelia, which gives their sound and their songs a level of nuance that contemporary salsa just doesn’t have —all while retaining the tight grooves and sincerely heartfelt lyrics of their influences. In fact, their latest album Puerta Del Sur may arguably be the trippiest bit of salsa you’ll likely have heard in recent memory.
Back in June, I caught the Richmond, VA-based act gamely play in front of one of the strangest live crowds I’ve seen in recent memory — a sparse crowd at Radio Bushwick that didn’t dance to a sound that just compels you to move, even if you don’t know how to salsa. It created the sense that the crowd didn’t quite get the point or they were too self-conscious to just have a good time. What a shame! I felt that Bio Ritmo deserved a much more enthusiastic crowd, such as the one I saw at NUBLU for Ray Lugo and the Boogaloo Assassins a few weeks later. (More on that one later, I’m sure)
Check out some photos from the proceedings below,.
For these photos and more, check out the Flickr set here: