Cerronato
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Cerronato

Austin, Texas, United States

Austin, Texas, United States
Band Latin World

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Jun
22
Cerronato @ Esquina Tango

Austin, Texas, USA

Austin, Texas, USA

Jan
27
Cerronato @ Esquina Tango

Austin, Texas, USA

Austin, Texas, USA

Oct
07
Cerronato @ Esquina Tango

Austin, Texas, USA

Austin, Texas, USA

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This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


Cerronato takes its inspiration from the Vallenato tradition of coastal Colombia, but that's not necessary knowledge to bask in the joy of De Músico, Poeta, y Loco... All you really need is an able body to keep pace with the earthy caja and guacharaca rhythms and the laughing accordion. Interspersing various Vallenato approaches with cumbia, the local quintet's debut sweeps listeners onto their feet like a faith healer at a revival. Like the música Vallenato tradition from which it borrows, De Músico, Poeta, y Loco... has a celebratory, live-in-the-present attitude. "Ta' Pilla'o," playfully sung by Javier Palacios, talks of an errant lover caught in the act, while "No Llores Negra" pleas with a lovely stranger to forget her troubles. Themes center on the little dramas of everyday life, but the music is more complex. Rhythms veer like roller-coaster cars, sudden harmonic clashes and frisky vocals tickling and teasing throughout. This is not background music. This is music to live out loud to -- by the hands of Mike Maddux (accordion), Brad Taylor (bass), and vocalists/percussionists Rita Ricardo and Clemencia Zapata. Maddux is tireless on the squeezebox, and Ricardo's vocal range is up to the challenge of the loopy "Cumbia de los Locos" and the merlot-rich "El Mejoral." Not seeking native Vallenato music any time soon? Not to worry. Cerronato brings a bit of Colombia y más to their delightful, highly expressive first album.

- Austin Chronicle


Cerronato takes its inspiration from the Vallenato tradition of coastal Colombia, but that's not necessary knowledge to bask in the joy of De Músico, Poeta, y Loco... All you really need is an able body to keep pace with the earthy caja and guacharaca rhythms and the laughing accordion. Interspersing various Vallenato approaches with cumbia, the local quintet's debut sweeps listeners onto their feet like a faith healer at a revival. Like the música Vallenato tradition from which it borrows, De Músico, Poeta, y Loco... has a celebratory, live-in-the-present attitude. "Ta' Pilla'o," playfully sung by Javier Palacios, talks of an errant lover caught in the act, while "No Llores Negra" pleas with a lovely stranger to forget her troubles. Themes center on the little dramas of everyday life, but the music is more complex. Rhythms veer like roller-coaster cars, sudden harmonic clashes and frisky vocals tickling and teasing throughout. This is not background music. This is music to live out loud to -- by the hands of Mike Maddux (accordion), Brad Taylor (bass), and vocalists/percussionists Rita Ricardo and Clemencia Zapata. Maddux is tireless on the squeezebox, and Ricardo's vocal range is up to the challenge of the loopy "Cumbia de los Locos" and the merlot-rich "El Mejoral." Not seeking native Vallenato music any time soon? Not to worry. Cerronato brings a bit of Colombia y más to their delightful, highly expressive first album.

- Austin Chronicle


Discography

Two CDs
"Raíces y Ramas" - 2007
"De Músico, Poeta y Loco" - 2002

Photos

Bio

Cerronato fuses rich four-part harmonies, ornate and funky accordion and bass, and frenzied percussion in a joyous yet poignant mix. Their inspiration comes from Colombian vallenato and cumbia, two old musical traditions that have spread far from their original homeland. Based in Austin, Texas, the four members of Cerronato are ambassadors for those archetypal Colombian styles through their lively performances and fervent commitment to the spirit of celebration animating them. A century after vallenato and cumbia emerged out of Colombia’s cultural cauldron of indigenous, Spanish, and African cultures, Cerronato continues to mix it up, combining respect for the heritage and the impulse to innovate.

Cerronato named their second CD Raíces y Ramas—Spanish for “roots and branches,” because they draw both from the deep mother lode of tradition and branch out into airy new territory with original material and stylistic twists. The new CD contains five previously unrecorded songs, including three originals co-written by group leader/accordionist Mike Maddux and poet/musician José Flores Peregrino that sound so authentically Colombian they could be mistaken for covers of traditional repertoire. In time-honored vallenato custom, “Mi Compadre Bernábe” is written about a real person—a friend who was tragically murdered, but is remembered fondly in song for his habit of never going anywhere without a cup of coffee. “Amapolas” philosophically questions whether one should accept the faults of the world rather than imagining better times. In “Sueño,” the singer dreams of his homeland and lover, while his connection to both is limited to telephone calls.

Cerronato lead vocalist Clemencia Zapata contributed the merengue “Si Me Quieres,” written for a former lover. Zapata also brought “Déjalo” by Texan Sarita Rodríguez, a lovely Cuban son. In addition to covering five Colombian classics on the new album, Cerronato reimagines two more songs. They transform Colombian superstar Juanes’ pop en español hit, “La Camisa Negra,” into a wistful tribute to bygone days. Diversifying into their own version of cumbiatón, Raíces y Ramas concludes with the instrumental “Cumbia Sampuesana,” updated into a catchy remix enhanced with electronically-manipulated chanting.

The members of Cerronato have immersed themselves in the long history of vallenato and cumbia through listening to music from the earliest archival recordings to modern innovators such as Carlos Vives. They can discuss the nuances of tradition, but rather than being bound by it, the past serves as a springboard for their own creativity.

Not long after keyboardist Mike Maddux began learning accordion, a friend fortuitously shared with him the vallenato volume of a series called “Accordions that Shook the World.” Immediately captivated by the exotic sound, Maddux determined to some day start a group focusing on vallenato and the closely related cumbia style. Maddux has gathered three companions who share his attraction to Colombia’s musical heritage. With a background in R&B and jazz, Brad Taylor was searching for a project that would allow broader scope for his bass playing—and the wonderful swirling, cascading style of modern vallenato bass, which he has mastered, was just what the doctor ordered. For drummer Clemencia Zapata, joining Cerronato offered the opportunity to sing lead and play a style of percussion she had never tried before. She augments the traditional caja (a small hand drum) with bongos and a foot pedal. Newest group member Gustavo Manzur was thrilled at the invitation to join the group upon moving to Austin three years ago. Growing up, Manzur spent months every year in his father’s native Colombia near the area where vallenato originated. A multi-instrumentalist, Manzur took up guacharaca (scraper) and shares lead vocal duties with Zapata.

When asked what differentiates vallenato and cumbia, the members of Cerronato explain that cumbia is more likely to be in minor keys and feature call and response singing than vallenato. Topically, vallenato reveals its troubadour origins with stories of real people, while cumbias typically focus on romantic or humorous topics. Ultimately Maddux admits, “There’s no hard and fast rules” to definitively distinguish the two styles. Manzur asserts that discerning which style a particularly song belongs to doesn’t ultimately matter, because “a good working band in Colombia today needs to know cumbia and vallenato, as well as samba, merengue, salsa, and mambo,” reflecting ongoing musical exchange with other parts of the Latin world.

Cerronato projects their avid love of playing together both live and on Raíces y Ramas. They’ve been thrilled by the response to their music, such as the comment that they sound like a much bigger group than they are. They also appreciate when South Americans discovering them call home with their cell phones held aloft, so that their families know they remain connected with thei