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Bombasta Celebrates 10 Album-less Years

Photo: Veronica Luna, License: N/A

Veronica Luna

Barrio Big Band—Roberto Livar (center) with the current Bombasta lineup, keeping the party going


“It all starts with the rhythm, the bpm, and we go from there,” Livar said. “But it’s never a, say, straight-up cumbia. We start with one, and before you know it, you hear a hip-hop breakdown in the middle of it with reggae horns on top.” As far as the process of creating this cacophony, “I bring in the skeleton and everyone throws in some suggestions,” said Livar. “We’re constantly working on breaks and transitions and experimenting with different rhythmic stuff. That’s what we have going for us.”

Their mastery of Latin rhythms got a boost this year when they were asked to be the live band for the Woodlawn’s Theater production of the Tony award-winning musical In The Heights. The score’s Nuyorican theme proved a valuable experience for the band. With the help of former keyboardist Ramírez (the only one with musical theater experience), Bombasta tackled Lin-Manuel Miranda’s original music for a run of 15 shows over five weeks last spring.

“We learned a lot from it, even how to run rehearsals better,” Livar said. “We’re so pocho in the way we approach Latino music that [working on the play] really helped us understand Latin music. When you have it written down, you get a much better understanding of different salsa rhythms.”

So there you have ’em, the we-don’t-need-no-stinking-album boys, having the last laugh after 10 years while others with more CDs or mp3s to show for it find it hard to survive a third of that. Livar is grateful, and so are Bombasta fans.

“To be able to do what we do, it couldn’t happen anywhere else than in SA,” he said. “The amount of supportthan we get across age, class, race; it’s really something special. In other places you might only get noticed for [your limitations], but here it’s all corazón [heart]. Yes, we have our shortcomings, but chingaos, we’re sitting here doing an interview and getting lots of press. We must’ve done something right.”

“Puro Movimiento” feat. Bombasta, Conjunto Aztlan, El Dusty, the Guadaloops llin

9pm Sat, Dec 21
621 E Dewey

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