New Music: NYC’s Pistolera
Pistolera was my most anticipated concert of 2009 and thanks to the Summer Series at the Levitt Pavillion in Pasadena I finally got to see them.
Pistolera released their debut album “Siempre Hay Salida” in 2006 to critical acclaim in both English and Spanish language media. The album went to the Top 10 of the CMJ charts. The album set the tone for what Pistolera is now known for: melodic and danceable songs sung in Spanish. Their songs fit into the new generation of rockers mixing political views, the plight of immigrants, and female strength into a sound that is both familiar and fresh at the same time.
For their second album, Pistolera reunited with Dos Santos to record “En Este Camino” in their hometown of Brooklyn, NY. They have since performed at high-profile festivals such as the Montreal Jazz Festival, Sfinks Festival (Belgium), Ollin Kan (Mexico), Celebrate Brooklyn (USA), Central Park Summerstage (USA), Ritmo y Color (Canada), Roots and Blues Festival (Canada), San Jose International Mariachi Festival (USA), and Lake Eden Arts Festival (USA). They have shared the stage with Los Lobos, Lila Downs, Los Amigos Invisibles, and Ozomatli (the Ozo).
They have been hard at work on their third studio album, “El Desierto y La Ciudad” (The Desert and the City). The CD is a departure from the group’s previous two albums and will include a latin dance beat filled with cowbell and accordion melodies. The concept album about the chaos of living in New York City and going to the desert in search of space and quiet.
During the making of the last album, band leader and songwriter Sandra Velasquez gave birth to her first child. She found that making the time to write songs became more challenging with her new role as a mother. Over the last year she took a series of trips to the desert of Mexico, California, and Arizona to look for inspiration.
Says Velasquez, “Sometimes I just need to be in silence in order to hear the songs in my head.” The new album has an “A” side and “B” side, with one for the Desert and one for the City. It’s the kind of album that is meant to be listened to in its entirety and would be best suited for a vinyl or cassette format which allows for there to be two sides to an album”.
Pistolera fans will find the band exploring a quieter and more introspective side in desert songs such as “Polvo” and “La Despedida” and can also expect some new classics such as “Nueva York” and “Todo Se Cae” from its “Ciudad” side.
There is also a Moona Luna CD that is a family-friendly set of songs in Spanish and English. Moona Luna continues the party with songs that are educational and inspiring to girls and boys–and their parents!–everywhere.
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Photo: Erin Patriece O’Brien