Fiesta Brava
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Fiesta Brava

Granby, Massachusetts, United States | SELF

Granby, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Pop

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"Behind the Beat: Fiesta Forever"

Chris Rea and Ray Keane see the birth of Keane's son the morning after their first jam session as a positive omen in their band Fiesta Brava's formative days.

It's proven lucky so far, as the group—augmented by drummer Matt Snow and bassist Jeff Steblea with occasional assists from keyboardist Pat Garland—has been rocking steadily since that fateful day in March 2007.

Fiesta Brava claims great influence from the worlds of folk and punk, but its sound is firmly in the realm of the indie rock outfits the band cites as direct predecessors: Archers of Loaf, Death Cab for Cutie, and The National.

Rea says Fiesta Brava is also continually inspired by intra-band record swapping sessions: "Clearly, we're all huge music fans, and the band benefits from all the album sharing that goes on."

"Everyone has... disparate musical influences that help keep it interesting in a less direct way, from folk to jazz to punk to electronica," adds Steblea.

The group has worked quickly to stake out space and fans in the Valley's music scene.

"I think that part of the reason we have made strides in a short amount of time is because we have families, jobs, other interests and responsibilities, and we want the band to exist in harmony with those other things," says Keane. "That limits the time we have to just be a band, and we really work to make the most of our time."

"A gig at the Iron Horse was a big dream back [when we started]," Rea says. "And now we'll be playing there for a third time in June with a band [Matt Pond PA] whose albums are all in my collection. That's really awesome. I would attribute our growth to the fact that we're lucky enough to live in an area that supports local musicians and provides them with plenty of opportunities to play out."

In addition to a positive and productive batch of early shows, Fiesta Brava has already had a taste of mass public exposure: one of the group's tunes was featured during games of the Springfield Armor, the area's NBA Development League basketball squad.

"We were featured on Masslive.com, and it seems like somebody liked the tune," says Keane. "It was a pretty amazing experience to have your song played at a place like the MassMutual center during a game."

Whatever the future holds, Steblea feels like the band has found a comfortable place in the musical world. "As a band, Fiesta Brava's strength is that we're not about flash or virtuoso playing or larger-than-life personalities—that stuff can be great, but it would feel disingenuous for us. It would be a poor fit. This band really focuses on emotion and songcraft, and performing something on stage that feels true and comfortable for us."
- Valley Advocate, Northampton, MA


Discography

Fiesta Brava released their first EP, "Ship To Shore," on July 18th, 2008. The EP is self released, and it contains six songs which can be heard at www.fiestabravamusic.com

The song "Ship to Shore" can be heard on WRNX, 100.9 in Northampton, MA. The song "Better Days" is played at each Springfield Armor (Basketball Development League) game on the Jumbotron.

The band is currently recording their first full length with Mark Allan Miller (Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh, Pernice Brothers), with an expected release date in the Fall of 2011.

Photos

Bio

The two primary songwriters in the band, Chris and Ray, have found that their respective punk rock and folk backgrounds find common ground in warm, dramatic, literate indie rock. While typically adhering to traditional song structures, these guys love writing songs with powerful bridges and big endings to take listeners on cathartic musical journeys. Additional instrumentation including piano, violin, and banjo helps to broaden the range of possibility for the band and to create a bigger, more engaging sound for listeners.

Fiesta Brava has been fortunate enough to share the stage with bands such as Matt Pond PA, Wye Oak, the Besnard Lakes, Wintersleep, The Eleventh Hour (featuring members of the Dropkick Murphys) and numerous local favorites, including Spouse and Haunt.

Writing memorable lyrics and catchy songs are of equal importance to Fiesta Brava. Influences include: The Weakerthans, Pavement, Death Cab For Cutie, The National, Band of Horses, Iron and Wine, and Archers of Loaf.

"I think it's pretty bizarre that this band would likely not exist if I didn't have to borrow some books on Elizabethan England from Ray's wife, Mary, who was in a course on Shakespeare with me at WNEC. During my short visit to their apartment, I was impressed by the number of show posters on the walls for bands I love. I think there was a Wilco poster, Iron and Wine, Radiohead or Modest Mouse. Also, Ray's office was like a clone of my own, complete with guitars on stands, a keyboard, and the same exact Behringer mic for recording. I told Mary that we should set up a double date sometime soon, as I clearly would get along well with her husband. After that dinner date, Ray and I reluctantly participated in what we believed would be yet another awkward jam session with another guitar player. But, instead we had some fun collaborating on some original parts and harmonies. It was a rare moment; these things are often just uncomfortable, boring, or an opportunity for someone to show off their chops. I'm glad we gave it a shot- that night's success would eventually lead to Fiesta Brava." - Chris Rea

"Strong writing and arrangements, evocative lyrics, and a warm engaging sound. Thanks for making it." John K. Sampson, Weakerthans