Bridging modernity with centuries of Salsa evolution, Bio Ritmo, aka "the Salsa Machine," recaptures the spirit of experimentation and purity of intent of 1970s Nuyorican Salsa, yet decidedly charts its own sonic course into the future.
Hailed for their "adventurous sonic concepts and hook-laden songs" (Village Voice) with "plenty of sabor and verve" (Descarga.com), the Washington Post calls Bio Ritmo's performances a "notorious guaranteed good time." A raucous fusion of Afro-Cuban beats, Brazilian samba, and classic jazz harmonies spiced with electronica, explosive brass, and improvised jam sessions, this "tight cooking ensemble" (Global Rhythm Magazine) is as unpredictable as a solar flare.
<p>Never afraid to break the rules, Bio Ritmo came together in the early 1990s as an experimental "punk salsa" percussion band on the indie circuit in Richmond, Virginia. With backgrounds as varied as punk, jazz, reggae, and classical music, the band soon charted a course into the untamed reaches of salsa, jazz, and world music with an all-original repertoire. Today Bio Ritmo is a sonic laboratory, a testing ground where clichés are burned in the heat of pure experiment. Taking as much from Brian Eno as from Willie Colon as from Stereo Lab, they're redefining salsa in tracks that move both the synapses and the feet. This is music for the thinking dancer.
But for all its cerebral experiment, Bio Ritmo never forgets that salsa comes from the heart. Nowhere is this more evident than in Rei Alvarez's lyrics. Scorning any cardboard corazón sentiments, Alvarez writes about what it is to be human, and all the luminous beauty and black tragedy that entails. Writing with humor and honesty, his unusually introspective lyrics expose vulnerability, something rarely displayed in today's mainstream culture. Alvarez also gives Bio Ritmo its visual artistry: his paintings are the band's album covers, posters and gig flyers, rooting the look and sensibility of their music in the avant-garde -- one that is constantly adapting beyond the sphere of conventional salsa thinking to Bio Ritmo's unique rhythm of life.
They prove it is still possible to be true to the roots while expanding the parameters of their music in an intelligent thoughtful and entertaining way. We want more groups like Bio Ritmo.
THE BEAT MAGAZINE
The ensemble's live show have become a notorious guaranteed good time - as energetic and full of flavor as the music being played.