Grupo Fiesta
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Grupo Fiesta

Band Latin Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Grupo Fiesta Album Review"

This rock crew calls New York its barrio. Core members Cecilia Villar (lead guitar and vocals), Cindy Padilla (vocals), Jimmy Connolly (keyboards), and Brian "Bajo Man" Moore (bass)—backed by timbales, congas, and drums—work a sound that electrifies Latin styles like cha-cha, rumba, son, and bolero. "Caliente," sounding very much like a potential hit single, opens the album and defines the Grupo Fiesta groove. Heavily percussive and invitingly rhythmic, "Caliente" gleans extra punch from Padilla's strong vocal and Villar's soaring guitar solo. This is rock/dance music at its best. The remaining nine tracks do not disappoint. Grupo Fiesta has an auspicious debut album in hand and an opportunity to garner much-deserved national attention from both fans and critics in the coming months. Racked by DLN.—PVV - BILLBOARD

"CMJ New Music Report"

New York's tropi-pop quintet Grupo Fiesta is among a handful of U.S.-bred Latin bands that have fully embraced the marriage between catchy American pop with the hip-shaking irresistibility of Latin dance rhythms. Never mind the bleached out, non-threatening pop of Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez, Grupo Fiesta is the kind of band that could help redefine what Latin pop means in this country. Led by Ecuadorian-expat guitarist/songwriter Cecilia Villar, Grupo Fiesta strikes a perfect balance between Afro-Latin dance-hybridized salsa, merengue and danzon-with a jam-oriented pop sense. Sueño ("Dream"), the group's debut album, highlights Fiesta's ease at writing accessible bilingual dance grooves that flow with sensual and soulful Latin balladry, where the clave or the cowbell keeps time. Cindy Padilla sings about idealistic dreams - romantic ("Digame") or universal ("Truenos Distantes") - with her soothing, sugary vocals. The last two tracks, "Distant Thunder" and "Look Away," are English translations of earlier songs found on the disc. Sometimes a word-for-word translation of a song doesn't have the same feel, but here Padilla's malleable vocals bend words just right, holding on to the song's original intent.
--Enrique Lavin - CMJ

"CD Review"

Grupo Fiesta's eponymous debut album is imbued with the pungent flush of rumba. This New York City-borne band is lead by guitarist/composer Cecilia Villar who, unlike many other Latin (mostly pop) divas proliferating these days, is a strong and deep-rooted instrumentalist-her guitar playing is reminiscent of a young Carlos Santana. Villar has assembled an equally adept line-up, fronted by vocalist Cindy Padilla.

The opening "Caliente" flies from the start. Its infectious Afro-Cuban groove, pushed by backbeat drums and Villar's piano-like montuno played with guitar arpeggios, doesn't waste time drawing attention. By the time Villar unleashes her electric guitar solo, you know you're listening to a certified talent. Unlike many Afro-Cuban rumba ensembles, Villar's six-string steel or even 12-string acoustic guitars (instead of piano) create the harmonic and melodic structure. Here, she takes her cue, as well as departs from, the nylon-stringed rumba group, the Gipsy Kings.

From the get-go, this street-smart ensemble has much in its favor. Nevertheless, the album tends to become somewhat redundant. Perhaps, as the band continues to hone its collective chops and songwriting skills, its sophomore effort will reveal even more development and novelty.
-- Robert Kaye - GLOBAL RHYTHM

"Live Show Review"

Dec. 6th - The fiery New York City ensemble Grupo Fiesta churns out pan-Latin percussion-driven grooves as Cecilia Villar's extended guitar solos build on the legacy of Carlos Santana. The group is celebrating the release of its self-titled début collection of forward-looking rock en español.

"Album Review"

Cuando escuché al Grupo Fiesta por primera vez, hubiera jurado que era otro grupo de California, pues tienen ese sonido típico de los grupos de rock-latino de esa área, y que hiciera popular, en parte, el maestro Carlos Santana. ¡Imagínense mi sorpresa al leer acerca de ellos y saber que provienen de Nueva York! Formado por músicos de Ecuador, Puerto Rico y los Estados Unidos, esta agrupación de verdad le da significado a su nombre, pues su música alegra a cualquiera.

El contenido de "Grupo Fiesta" es movido y con sabor latino de principio a fin, pero cuantitativamente sobresalen las guajiras, como "Dígame", "Cierro mis ojos", "Distant thunder" y "Look away". Por otro lado, también se nos brindan las guarachas "Caliente", que abre poderosamente esta producción, y "Sueño", que evoluciona en una sabrosa guajira. Lo mismo sucede con "Todo para ti", que comienza como guajira y cambia a guaracha. A lo largo de este álbum, se destaca el trabajo en la guitarra eléctrica de parte de Cecilia Villar, quien también fue la autora y co-autora de todos los temas. Los otros músicos que tambien hacen un magnífico trabajo en esta producción y le dieron su sabor especial fueron Jimmy Connolly, Steve Sandberg, Cindy Padilla, Brian Moore, Tony Ventura, Al Vetere, Ricardo Rieppi, Peter Basil, Alda Reuter, y Nayla Della Penna.

La música del Grupo Fiesta es refrescante y vigorizante, y eso lo necesitamos todos los días en este mundo alborotado. Las letras de sus canciones hablan de el espíritu de ser latino en la ciudad de Nueva York, la patria, independencia emocional, poder de la esperanza, la realización de nuestros sueños, y otros temas. Estoy seguro que cuando escuchen al Grupo Fiesta van a pasar el resto del día con una contagiante sonrisa en sus rostros. De eso se trata, mis amigos.
- Eric Gonzalez
- Oasis Salsero

"“Five Flower”, The Aztec god of music and dance."

As crisp and eye opening as a cold east coast winter wind, Grupo Fiesta, breezes its way into southern California this weekend for a series of three Los Angeles area concerts. The sextet, which mixes raw traditional Latino sounds with pop and rock influences, reaches this side of the country to play shows at Santa Monica’s Temple Bar, Espresso Mi Cultura in Hollywood, and Self-Help Graphics in East L.A. January 30, 31, and February 1, respectively.

The group’s leader, Cecilia Villar, a Lebanese/Ecuadorian immigrant, recently chatted with La Prensa San Diego as she and her band mates excitedly prepared for their first westward jaunt, almost as excited about experiencing California’s well-known Latino music scene as they are escaping the continuing cold weather of the eastern U.S.

“California has always intrigued us because of the great Latin alternative scene we’ve heard about over the years. We can’t wait to bring our music to a brand new audience. It’s all about more people hearing the music and this is a huge opportunity for us to make that happen. It inspires us to see people grooving to our sound.”

The talented, experienced, and diverse individuals making up Grupo Fiesta seem to personify the eclectic sonic elements they mold into a refreshing and upbeat, and inviting blend. It is a sound that Villar says is derived from her vision when forming the band. “The sound is based on the marriage of two very strong roots of mine. I grew up influenced by very traditional Afro-Cuban music like Orquesta Aragon and great Rock and Pop music like Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones. Those influences make up the ‘Fiesta’ musical journey we want to take you on.”

While the infectious grooves the band delivers live with charisma and outright raw energy have won many fans over regardless of ethnicity, culture, or even musical taste, Villar is careful not to let that accessibility be perceived as a contrived sales gimmick. “We have been told by many that we are the ultimate ‘crossover’ band but, I want to make it clear that although this may be the case, it’s due to an organic process and not by intentional design. I am an immigrant raised in the US with strong ties to my Latino roots. I write songs whose lyrics freely flow between English and Spanish and whose music combines traditional Latin grooves, rock drums and electric guitar.”

Band manager, Paula Romano, has always held on to her belief the band would be accepted by music fans of various cultures. This would seem to be true merely by looking at the types of shows and venues Grupo Fiesta has played. “So far, In New York City, we’ve performed and have been well-received in traditional Latin shows with bands like Yomo Toro and Jose Feliciano, at Latin Alternative shows with bands like Los Amigos Invisibles, and in straight-ahead NYC rock clubs to a non-Latino audiences at clubs like CBGB’s, Elbow Room, and Luna Lounge.”

If Villar hasn’t already impressed readers and fans with her insightful and honest commentary, her words describing her musical project most surely will. “Grupo Fiesta is about expanding minds, hearts and ears to a new sound that may include musical elements that are completely foreign to you, but then again, those are introduced to you via either a beat, instrumentation or a language that you already love. Also, I want people to hear what we have to say. Some songs are about unrequited or lost love and others about one’s homeland and the tortures of war.we want the Grupo Fiesta family to continue to grow.”

If the band’s self-titled debut CD is any indication of what the band is capable of in a live setting, it is quite possible, Cecilia Villar and the rest of Grupo Fiesta will increase their following with their talent and artistic and personal integrity.
By Francisco Ciriza
- La Prensa San Diego


Self-titled CD, Grupo Fiesta
(Paraiso Sonico/DLN - 2003)

"Listen, Learn and Groove v.3"
(Female Musician - 2003)

Radio Airplay:
Grupo Fiesta has charted in the top 20 of the CMJ radio charts both in the New World and Latin Alternative genres.
They are also in rotation on DMX Radio.

Video Airplay:
Grupo Fiesta's debut video, "Todo Para Ti" in rotation on MTV Español and HTV.


Feeling a bit camera shy


With the melting pot of New York City as their barrio, Grupo Fiesta emerged on the scene in 1995. The diverse roots of its members are reflected in the irresistible mix of sounds that surfaces in their music.

As bandleader, Cecilia Eljuri Villar sees Grupo Fiesta as a vivid reflection of her background: The sultry, sexy, raw sounds of traditional Afro-Latin grooves mixed with powerful electric guitar licks. Growing up in a Hispanic household that reveled in music, dance, art and theater, Cecilia listened to Cuban son with her father, rocked to Led Zeppelin with her older siblings, and used her mother’s musical genes when picking up the electric guitar at age 14. Half Lebanese and born in Ecuador, Cecilia draws you in with her songs about the power of love, hope and dreams, and then blows you away with her searing electric guitar.

Brothers Dan and Charlie Roth lay down driving and hypnotic grooves on drums and bass. Classically trained in Habana, Alex Fernanadez Fox lures you in with traditional Cuban tres montunos. With Ray Turull playing fiery congas, bongos and timbales, the contagious fusion of Grupo Fiesta is complete and can often be heard echoing down the hall ways of the infamous Eighth Avenue Music Building.

Dan Grigsby, a seasoned producer/engineer in the mainstream pop and rock world, produced Grupo Fiesta's self-titled debut album.

Driven by dance rock, the album starts with the rumba-tinged “Caliente,” reflecting the spirit of being Latino in New York City (The music is in my heart / The rhythms and the tales of my generation / We feel the heat). “Dígame” is about the timeless and playful theme of wanting to be loved. “Sueño” is a patriotic yearning for one's homeland, melding rock with bolero. “Todo Para Ti” exposes the troubles inherent in a one night stand, building from tropical sounds to an explosive rock climax. “Truenos Distantes” is a thunderous cha-cha tale of war on the road from innocence to reality (We have come to ignore the vibration that we felt before / The reflex isn’t there anymore / We can hear the sound / The distant sound of war). “No Te Quiero” firmly declares a state of emotional independence. While “Cierro Mis Ojos” is a desperate story about distrust and disillusionment (It’s not with bad intention / It’s something in your eyes / Got to look away / I see your disguise). And closing is “Que Claro Es,” which speaks to the power of hope and fulfillment of dreams, also known as the cumbia de Nuevo York.

"... a sound that electrifies Latin styles...This is rock/dance music at its best."
- BILLBOARD Magazine

"Grupo Fiesta is the kind of band that can help redefine what Latin pop means in this country."
- CMJ New Music Report

“The highlight of the evening was a performance by Fiesta, a quintet that mixes power pop with Latin music… Cecilia Villar played big wah-wah guitar lines. Driven by the keyboards and percussion, the rest of the band spiced the music with hot Santana-flavored samba that set the jampacked room ablaze.”
- New York Times

"Grupo Fiesta will have you losing your inhibitions and loving their sound as you can't help but get up and dance con Fiesta."
- Greenwich Village Gazette

For further information:
Paula Romano, PMR Music
tel. 347.668.9652 fax. 212.246.5191