Bio Ritmo
Gig Seeker Pro

Bio Ritmo

Richmond, Virginia, United States

Richmond, Virginia, United States
Band Latin World


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Sometimes they do make 'em like they used to."

The impulse behind this superb album is an effort to recapture the original, experimental spirit that gave rise to salsa in the ’60s and ’70s. This was a time when many cultural influences, new technology, and mind-expanding drugs influenced the recording process. The coincidence of innovation, freakiness and popularity of artists like Johnny Colon and Eddie Palmieri is no longer in evidence in popular Latin music: most of today’s Latin hybrids feel squeaky clean by comparison. Virginia’s Bio Ritmo represents a welcome change to all that — this is what the old timers call salsa duro. This album smokes, pun intended. The bright recording and passionate, unashamedly retro sound is fresh because the band captures the same verve as the original innovators. Little touches such as creative synth patches, plucked piano strings and inventive uses of Brazilian elements keep things sounding fresh. The focus is on the instrumentalists throughout, with the bridge of each tune taking off into increasingly exciting directions before restating the main theme. After five albums, Bio Ritmo have really captured something special here —sometimes they do make 'em like they used to. - Exclaim! Canada's Music Source.

"We want more groups like Bio Ritmo"

... They kept going in the belief they had something strong to offer with their “street salsa” or, to put in another way – hardcore ‘70s style. Their new release Bio Ritmo (Locutor) shows they were right to keep to the roots. It is a fine effort with some great hard-hitting and quite experimental music. As soon as I picked up the cd I got good vibes off it – I could tell it was going to be good.

I fully endorse that statement: What we want is the roots and nothing but the roots. This nine-piece not only falls into my fave bag of a percussion-led group but they are actively retro in a forward-looking way: For example, keyboardist Marlysse Simmons, plays a mean antique Fender Rhodes. The words to the songs actually mean something and the stories expand in a playful manner. Singer Rei Alvarez, who writes the majority of the songs, is also an artist who did the cover of the cd; he describes his songs as painting pictures with words.

They are so retro as to have a bomba with “El Cambio.” I do not know why people do not do more bomba these days. It is such a wonderful rhythm with its solid syncopation. The intro sizzles with zinging keyboard effects and a lovely melody augments the shoot-it-out sonero story fabulous keyboards effect all over the place.

Bio Ritmo have proved it is still possible to be true to the roots wile expanding the parameters of their music in an intelligent, thoughtful and entertaining way. We want more groups like Bio Ritmo to flourish so I recommend you buy their cd. Or go and see them play if they are in your neck of the woods.
- The Beat Magazine

"A tight, cooking nine-piece ensemble, the band lays claim to the brassy Latin dance sound of the '70s"

Bio Ritmo draws from the Puerto Rican roots of lead singer/composer Rei Alvarez. Alvarez sees Ritmo's mission as counter to the Saccharine fatigue of salsa romantica;favoring the music's roots as popular commentary on social themes and concerns of everyday life.

A tight, cooking nine-piece ensemble, the band lays claim to the brassy Latin dance sound of the '70s, mixing classic elements of son, guaracha, rumba and bomba with an unexpected dash of Brazilian samba, R&B, electronica and miscellaneous audio effects.

Performing exclusively their own material, Bio Ritmo represent the sentiments of a younger dance crowd searching beyond the jejune prescription and superficial flash of international Latin pop. While not cultivating the overt political edge of progressive icons like Ruben Blades and Willie Colon, Bio Ritmo share their energy, perpetuating the legacy of straight-ahead dance maestros Tito Puente and Machito, whose percussion and brass artistry will never go out of style. - Global Rhythm Magazine

"Terrific old-school salsa with plenty of sabor and verve."

Some tracks are in the style of, say, Eddie Palmieri's La Perfecta, or Conjunto Libre where a simple coro phrase is often used as the basis for extended jams. "Atrevete" is a good example of that, and it's one of the best tracks on the CD. "Fabula," an unusual number, borrows from both Caribbean and South American sensibilities (is that also joropa? Brazilian?)and injecting it with a bit of techno-house flair. By far, the most modern track here (and featuring the electro-duck), and it would be interesting if they pushed further in this
direction in their next release.

"Para Los Romperos" is a blow-out mambo-jazz like dance number might have been a hit at the Palladium.


"Bio Ritmo's current nine-member lineup seems INDESTRUCTIBLE!"

This is not your father's Bio Ritmo--the band has evolved at each stage of its three album history--and yet, their sound is more retro than ever. This is all to the good for fans of '60s and '70s salsa dura, boogaloo and cha cha cha. Divebombing the faithful all night with irrestible dance grooves, Bio Ritmo played Puerto Rican hits of Marvin Santiago and Bobby Valentin, and debuted new material slated for their upcoming fourth album due out this spring.

The edginess and energy of its younger members serve Bio Ritmo well, which Alvarez claims started out as a "punk salsa" experiment in the early '90s.

"We're doing the same stuff now as we did then, only now we're better musicians, and the arrangements are better," says Tomasini of Bio Ritmo's trajectory. "It took us 12 years to be able to do what we always thought we wanted to do."

Bio Ritmo's current nine-member lineup seems INDESTRUCTIBLE, in the words of Ray Barretto, making for creative continuity as well as fresh infusions of sangre nueva.
- Independent Weekly

"Pure grooves from start to finish."

When you translate the word salsa into English, you get "sauce." The musical form of the same name comes in many flavors, from cheesy synth-pop to buttery jazzy jams. The salsa cooked up by Bio Ritmo is picante ("spicy"). The nonet features a vocalist (Rei Alvarez), a brassy four-horn front line, and a cohesive rhythm section consisting of piano, bass, and two drummers. It's a classic lineup and a classic sound, but never boring and never difficult.

At its roots, salsa is dance music. Period. Even if you only dance in your head, the clave virtually begs motion. Bio Ritmo exemplifies the rule perfectly—these are pure grooves from start to finish. The band, now on its fifth release, makes a big point about three things: first, this isn't the cheesy salsa your little cousin likes; second, the lyrics aim for fun and word play; and third, the group likes to incorporate musical elements that lie outside the mainstream.

All three are fair given the music here. Not being much of a Spanish speaker, I can't vouch for the poetic intricacies of the lyrics, but a Mexican friend assures me they are clever and fun. One thing many people neglect with this sort of music is the way the Spanish language lends itself to song. With short syllables that can be stretched out wherever desired, sharp consonants that never tie up your tongue, and that picante rolled double-r, it's insistently rhythmic and colorful.

The lineup is traditional, as is the sound, for the most part. Tim Lett's trumpet flies high, boosted by trombone and bass trombone, sharp and bright at all times. Vocalist Rei Alvarez exudes masculine energy and a certain suave sophistication. Bassist Jon Sullivan often settles into a groove with the percussionists, as is most appropriate for this music, but he does step out on the wack effected guitar (actually bass) on "Fabula." The outer space jam on "Para los Romperos" goes a little bit out before it returns solidly to two feet. The rhythm section takes the stage at the end of the song.

It's hard for me to remember a salsa experience that has been more light and fun than Bio Ritmo. This record came to me out of the blue, but hopefully listeners of all stripes will perk up their ears. It's pretty close to mandatory if you like yours picante. ¡Sabor!
- All About Jazz

"Bio Ritmo makes clear... just what it is we've been missing all these years"

Salsa and Latin music enthusiasts have often wondered what caused the music's extraordinary renaissance in the late 1960s and '70s to peter out. After a period of remarkable cross-fertilization and experimentation, when old hands like Tito Puente and Mongo Santamaria played with funk beats, Eddie Palmieri plugged in an electric Fender Rhodes keyboard and bands like Santana and El Chicano injected rock with Latin swing (and vice versa), the musical climate shifted towards synthesizers, pop ballads and the sugary "salsa romantico" that dominates Latin radio today in the form of everyone from Marc Anthony to Ricky Martin. Bio Ritmo, a nine-piece self-described "classic" salsa band from Virginia, makes clear on their mostly smoking self-titled fourth release just what it is we've been missing all these years. Lead singer and songwriter Rei Alvarez brings his Puerto Rican roots to bear on material that more than anything echoes the thrilling sound of Palmieri's groundbreaking 1960s and '70s bands La Perfecta and Harlem River Drive. On "Atrevete" pianist Marlysse Simmons brings some serious salsa chops to bear on her funky Fender Rhodes solo while the band drops impressively into Brazilian samba, and "Fabula" shows off some high-energy playing from timbalero Giustino Riccio while the group goes from hard-driving salsa to an intense Afro-Cuban 6/8 groove. About the only blemish on this otherwise immaculate canvas is bassist Jon Sullivan's insistence on overusing envelope filter bass effects--whooshing science fiction sounds that come across as gratuitous, since the group's open-mindedness and willingness to experiment is obvious enough from the music. - -

"Picking up where Salsa´s Golden Age left off"

Since Bio Ritmo´s formation in 1991, their subsequent releases have essentially been a lyrical, rhythmic journey around Latin America. A mixture of Cuban, Brazilian and Puerto Rican flavors are clearly evident in their first three recorded efforts, and their stripped down, streetwise, old-school-with-a-twist approach to contemporary Latin music gives their music an unusual but effectively North American sound. Shying away from the commercial virus that salsa has contracted in recent years, the self-described ¨Salsa Machine,¨ has remained underground, experimenting and exploring the traditional, while at the same time, inventing and innovating their own unique sound. Pulling from a number of influences, the Richmond, Va.-based group´s goal is to pick up where salsa´s Golden Age left off and carry the torch for U.S.-grounded, beat-orientated ensembles.
- Pick of the Week.

""Ensemble's Live show have become a notorious guaranteed good time""

The ensemble's live show have become a notorious guaranteed good time - as energetic and full of flavor as the music being played. - Washington Post

"Who says there's nothing new under the Salsa sun?"

Short List: Who says there’s nothing new under the salsa sun? This local nonet started out as a punk-salsa experiment a dozen years ago, and the fourth and latest album turns out to be the groups most experimental yet – even as it ostensibly cleaves to salsa clasica. It’s a classy mass of pulsating rhythm and wry wordplay on which Bio Ritmo comment on their connection to the music’s 70s roots while, you know swinging relentlessly into the future. Why not join them? - The Village Voice


Bionico -- Locutor - October 2008
*Mixed by the legendary, multiply grammy award winning engineer, Jon Fausty of Fania Records.
*Top-Ten Album of the Year (iTunes Tropical Latino)

Salsa System (EP) - - Locutor - - 2006
Bio Ritmo (self-titled) - - Locutor - - 2004
Rumba, Baby Rumba - - Triloka - - 1998
Salsa Galactica - - Permanent - - 1997
Que Siga La Musica - - Shameless - - 1996
Piraguero (7" single) - -Merge Records - - 1997



New album coming 2010/2011

"Bionico (2008) rated Top-Ten Latino-Tropical Album of the Year!" (iTunes)

"Simpy one of the most innovative bands out there." (

"We want more bands like Bio Ritmo" (The Beat Magzine)

"Bio Ritmo's latest album BIONICO truly swings with every track that will make you get up and dance. Bio Ritmo maintains the classic Afro-Cuban tropical style with soulful lyrics by lead vocalist Rei Alvarez and an incredible harmonious background choruses. Two thumbs up. This is one album that deserves a Grammy for best Latin Album." ~ WHUT 91.9 FM NYC

Bio Ritmo, founded in 1991, is recognized internationally as one of the leading bands preserving the roots of "salsa classica" while taking this music to its next level. Compositions are original, inspired by the Nuyorican "salsa" craze that raged during the 1970's, while incorporating unusual sonic influences such as electronica, afro-beat, brazilian pop, disco and middle eastern grooves. Bio Ritmo has not only inspired and gained the highest respect of dancers and latin-music connoisseurs but are also celebrated for traversing the typical boundaries and stigmas of latin music, attracting a wide variety of fans and admirers from across the listening spectrum. Their latest album Bionico, was featured on the 2008 Top-Ten Latin Tropical albums and hailed by the San Francisco Bay Guardian as “one of the best Latin releases of the year!” “Ringing cowbell and zapping synthesizer…stylish and innovative, Bio Ritmo has morphed into a suave, sexy rhythmic beast.” (Washington Post)

* Featured Compilations & Awards *
DJ Lubi presents Salsa Dura / Freestyle Records 2009
Rough Guide to Salsa / World Music Network 2007
Siempre Salsa All Stars - The Best of Independent Salsa / Latin Beat Magazine 2006
Ritmo Rico Vol 1. / EMI 2004

Winners of the Disc Makers Indy World Music Series 2003
Finalist, Independent Music Awards 2004