Cafe al Mediodia
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Cafe al Mediodia

Band Latin Rock


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Al Desnudo (album): available in iTunes, and others.
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While a lot of DIY indie bands these days pick their names and album titles randomly or just come up with whatever sounds trendy and cool, Puerto Rico based rockers Luis Rivera (lead vocals), Argentine born Rudy Eres (bass, flute) and Miami bred Cuban/Lebanese mutt Richard Dib (drums, guitar) made inspired choices that perfectly reflect the tropical/salsa meets alt-Latin rock vibe of their band Café Al Mediodia and the cool, natural chemistry of their performances on their debut album Al Desnudo.

Directly translated, Café Al Mediodia means “Coffee at midday,” a break in the work pattern before everyone in their home country goes back to work for the afternoon. As Rivera says, “Nobody wants to listen to extreme hard rock during the day, and that’s why it’s the perfect title for us. Our music is a colorful mixture of Latin rock and tropical music. Puerto Rico has a lot of rock music that sounds tropical because of the dominance of bongos and congas, and people love that sound. Unlike rock fans in the mainland U.S., the people who rock here, especially the ladies, also love a break in the music where there’s a sensual samba rhythm and they can dance. It’s a great hybrid and truly reflects all of our influences.”

As for the title Al Desnudo, it’s a perfectly honest representation of the amazing camaraderie that the three members of Café Al Mediodia have developed over the past two years as the band evolved from its original lineup of five. The original group formed when Rivera, who used to live in Atlanta, hooked up with Dib through Dib’s brother in law and would travel to the island to use Dib’s home studio. Dib began playing drums on the sessions and the two decided to add some musician friends to the mix. As it sometimes goes with indie bands whose members have outside commitments, Café stripped down to three when several of the original members left due to scheduling conflicts.

Al Desnudo literally means “barenaked,” and the CD reflects the naked, natural state of the three musicians working on the rhythms and structures of the songs—as if there’s nothing in between their playing and the audience who is listening. They’ve got a built in fan base in Puerto Rico thanks to an eclectic gig schedule that includes recent performances at Lupita’s (a party for a popular local surf shop), Caribbean Plaza indoor mall in Ponce , and a battle of the bands competition at Senor Frog’s. They’ve also played nightclubs on the north and east sides of the island.

Café Al Mediodia’s clever wordsmithing extends beyond the band name and album title—as listeners groove and dance along, they’re hearing Luis sing incisive witty lyrics in Spanish, some of which equate the heart and veins as body parts with their emotional equivalent. “Cardiovascular,” which begins in an alt-punk rock mode but then heads towards tropical salsa territory, is a humorously romantic look at a guy and a girl arguing (“You’re crazy,” “No I’m not,” “Yes you are”) from first and third person perspectives. It ponders the irony of having a broken heart while one’s literal heart is beating faster.


With its minor chords and steady New York salsa style rhythms, “Azucar Por Mis Venas” captures the spirit of timbale master Tito Puente. The song title means “sugar through my veins,” a sly reference to the song’s protagonist who has been hurt so many times he’s immune to any more heartache. “Ni Te Enteras” (You Have No Idea) is a slow soft acoustic rocker that showcases Café Al Mediodia’s more heartfelt emotional side.

“We are under way in establishing ourselves here in Puerto Rico, and we’re really looking forward to promoting the CD worldwide and performing shows in the States,” says Rivera. “We like to say that the best parts of every day with Café Al Mediodia are the beginning and end, because whether we’re rehearsing, recording, performing live or simply discussing our music and careers, we love the minute we get back together and later reflecting on another amazing experience. The greatest thing is when the audience is feeling what we’re doing and we love making them a part of our show and getting them involved with the music and things that get a bit crazy.” Dib adds, “It’s just nice to work with guys that get along so well with each other. The creativity is so effortless. Just today, one of us brought in a new song and in 15 minutes it was done and ready to record.”