Sing The Real


Vanguard Records, 2002

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Say one thing for Quetzal; they have themselves some ideals, and they're not compromising them for anyone. This nine-member band from Los Angeles combines Mexican, Caribbean, and rock sounds into a seamless fusion that they use to make serious points "for dignity, for family, for community, strength from culture, and positive female roles in society".my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

OK, it all sounds good on paper -- or in this case, on Vanguard Records' website. Sing The Real is, by the band's own admission, a testimony to the current-day, where cultural and political boundaries are "melting away at a fast pace".

I can hear you all now. "Fine, Duke, but are they any damned good?"

The answer is -- yeah. Yeah, they are.

Quetzal is musical chiles. The first bite may shock you a little, but give yourself some time and you'll be poppin' chipotle like it was candy. For all their heavy content and serious purpose (so serious, in fact, many band members teach in LA's public schools), Quetzal does themselves proud on this, their second recording. Sing The Real is infectious, melodic, and impeccably performed; the twin lead vocals of Martha and Gabriel Gonzalez are expressive, heartfelt, and genuine. No sanitized pseudo-Latino pop here; this is like a shot of great tequila, heady and intense. Special note also has to be made of the Brazilian and Latin percussion and vibraphone playing of Edson Gianesi and the breathtaking electric violin work of Rocio Marron -- but the truth is, there isn't a badly played note on this CD.

Some of the great tracks include the haunting and thought-provoking "20 Pesos", the jazz-like riffs on "Emotions", the magnificent string work on "Vagabundo", and the bright and vibrant "Jarocho Elegua". I admit, it's tough sometimes to handle Quetzal's fusion of styles; they borrow from multiple cultures, sounds, and styles -- but in the end, they make it all work, and that's what matters. It does take some patience to get to the center, but once you do, it's a beautiful tapestry.

Sing The Real is, indeed, real. Check it out.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2002 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Vanguard Records, and is used for informational purposes only.