Los De Abajo
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Los De Abajo

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"Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival 2007"

Los De Abajo, a Mexican outfit combining incendiary ska, punk and reggae, put on an amazing show right before Franti and Spearhead. This is a band I would seek out just to see again, as the energy was electric.

The one and only Los De Abajo!

They came from Mexico, and I'm sure many who were there to witness their amazing high-energy act wanted them to stay. They blend political and social commentary with incredible blends of reggae, ska, punk, Latin, calypso, and whatever else you can imagine to create a musical performance unlike any other. It would not surprise me if people downtown were grooving to the distant sound of this great act.

One of my absolute favourite acts of the festival, and my most photographed.
- Canadian press


"Mexican explosion"

A rousing ska revival is always welcome and this was surely the global party of the year. The finest moment came when this energetic band from Mexico City decided it was time for a little British revivalism. As they launched, in Spanish, into the old Fun Boy Three hit The Lunatics Have Taken Over the Asylum, a delighted Neville Staples came on to remind them how the original had sounded 23 years ago. He was joined by Temple of Sound singer Neil Sparkes and guitarist Count Dubulah, who produced the latest and best of the band's albums, LDA v The Lunatics, and suggested they record the song. By the time they had finished, everyone was pogo dancing.

This was a cheerful reminder that ska lives on in Mexico and of how the band have progressed. The 10-piece band started at full tilt and continued at much the same pace for nearly two hours. They mixed hip-hop and ragga, Mexican and other Latin styles. A three-piece brass section was matched against percussion, sampling and more traditional instruments. As well-known Zapatista supporters, they included a burst of politics - a band member appeared in a George Bush mask, only to be ejected from the stage by other masked musicians hurling insults. This band has to be experienced live.
- The Guardian


"Winners in Americas Category"

Politics and music don't always mix well. Artists often wrongly assume that a passionate belief in something is enough to get a message across, to the detriment of their music. Happily, Mexico City residents Los de Abajo seem to have struck a good balance between entertainment and education with theirs.

Their name means "those from below" and represents a statement of solidarity with the oppressed people of the world. The group started out as a Latin ska four-piece in 1992, but as their number grew to include eight musicians, so their sound evolved to embrace a much wider array of pop and traditional styles such as rock, salsa, reggae, ska, cumbia, son jarocho and banda sinaloense. This reflects their democratic approach to creativity.

When they first took their demo tapes to Mexican record companies, their music was considered insufficiently commercial to warrant release, so they decided to do that independently. Then, David Byrne's Luaka Bop label took an interest and put up the money for them to record their international debut, which got a U.K. release in 1999.

The follow-up, Cybertropic Chilango Power, came out earlier this year and shows a considerable maturing in their approach. That was in no small part down to the influence of Spanish producers Macaco, who obviously shared with them an appreciation of Manu Chao's music, and contributed significantly to the process of writing songs in the studio.

Despite growing success, Los de Abajo haven't deserted their political commitments and still play benefits for the infamous Zapatista movement, which is fighting to bring a degree of self-determination to the people of Chiapas in southern Mexico. And as for their musical evolution, they are increasingly looking to their Mexican roots for inspiration, as a joint appearance with son jarocho specialists Los Cojolites at this year's WOMAD festival in Reading demonstrated.
- BBC radio 3


"Reaparece Los de Abajo en concierto"

Tras un par de meses de descanso, en los que planearon su proxima produccion discografica, Los de Abajo se reincorporan a sus actividades el 10 de febrero, con el concierto "Super Skandalazo de amistad y amor".

En entrevista, Javier Zúñiga y Heliot Mendiola expresaron su satisfacción de iniciar en este año el magno concierto en Ecatepec, Estado de México, en el que alternarán con bandas como Baby Kaos y Nana Pancha, entre otros.

"Estamos contentos de volver a esta plaza donde el publico siempre nos recibe con agrado", señalo Javier Zuñiga, percusionista de la agrupacion, quien resalto que preparan su nuevo material discografico.

El musico dijo que desde hace unos meses seleccionan los temas, pues planean grabar el proyecto en mayo, para que este listo a mediados de año, pero aun no saben si habra algún invitado especial.

"Hasta el momento desconocemos muchos detalles, debido a que nos encontramos en un proceso de seleccion, aunque el productor del proyecto sera quien tome la decision", señalo Zuñiga, al revelar que este album estara cargado de fusiones musicales.

El percusionista indico que a ellos los conocen por el genero del ska, aunque "nosotros hemos trabajado en la fusion de ritmos con el proposito de ofrecer innovacion a nuestros seguidores.

Heliot Mendiola, trombonista, reitero que se encuentran entusiasmados por los logros alcanzados, ya que su trabajo ha llegado a paises de Europa, Asia, Australia, America del norte y America Latina.

Sobre una separacion de la agrupacion, el musico desmintio tal aseveracion: "Nos va bien y estamos contentos con lo que hacemos, por lo que no hemos pensado en esa posibilidad de la desintegracion, aunque desde hace varios meses algunos compañeros emprendieron su camino con otros proyectos".

Destaco que la banda creada en 1982 sigue adelante en busca de fusiones y comparte su ya conocido repertorio musical.

- Notimex


"Partying With Politics"

Currently one of the hottest live bands out there, Los De Abajo are poised to take UK apart this summer with appearances at top festivals like Womad and Cambridge. (…)

I’ve flown in from nearby Cuba to spend Easter weekend with them in Mexico City. The band, who have a reputation of being in the top list of live bands playing the world, are about to start a long tour taking them from Canada to Holland, Finland to the UK, singing material from their 2005 album LDA v The Lunatics (Real World). Its title track is a fabulous Latin flavoured, Spanish – language version of The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum, the old Fun Boy Three hit from back in 1982. I’m high, as Mexico is such a sharp contrast from the tense daily life of anyone in Cuba trying to work rather than be on holiday. From the minute my plane has touched down in Mexico the atmosphere has been, well, downright Mexican: friendly, welcoming, bustling with street vendors and the smell of delicious food everywhere. With 8 million plus inhabitants this is one of the biggest cities on earth yet it seems to function, and being Easter and the country hugely Catholic the feel is not so much big on religion as big on family, with families young and old thronging the streets together. Everyone it seems is on holiday.
- Froots


"The Mexican Underdogs"

Think Mexican music and many people still conjure up stereotype images of serenading mariachi bands with oversized sombreros and handlebar moustaches. But these days México City is a full -on metrópolis, teeming with young musicians who were raised on a mixed diet of rock, salsa, reggae, punk, ska and cumbia.

Out of this musical melange in 1992 came Los de Abajo (The underdogs, or literally “those from below”) Made up of former university students, weary of their government’s entrenched corruption and taking inspiration from revolutionary spirit of Cuba, Nicaragua and home – grown Zapatista movement, the band forged an individualistic sound, playing any political events as well as parties. “The context on which we developed was this” says drummer and founding member Yocupitzio Arellano, “injustice, neglect for the poor, and lack of avenues for free expression. We learned that the only way to survive was to do it by ourselves, through our people and our own roots, forgetting about glamour and making our way as musicians.”

If combining activism with dancing succeeded in gaining the band a steadily growing audience within México, then sending a demo tape to David Byrne brought them to the attention of the rest of the world. The former Talking Head was so impressed with what he saw and heard when he checked them out on their home turf that he immediately signed them to his own Luaka Bop label and introduced them to Spanish producer Macaco. The resulting Cybertropic Chilango Power was one of the big surprises worldwide for 2002, a truly exciting mixture of Afro – Latin rhythms, brilliant brass and righteous resistance.

They’ve been called a Mexican version of Les Negresses Vertes, Madness, and The Pogues, but ultimately Los de Abajo are their own band. They’re the sonic equivalent of tequila, but with a purpose. - Sounds of the Planet (Womadelaide)


"The new Mexican style"

sic(Mexican accordion and brass-band styles) or Latin pop. At its best, said Josh Kun, a journalist who was one of the conference's organizers, it's music that is "entering into a global conversation, with global music that comes from a very local place:"

It also include music that has been developing across Latin America for decades, using Spanish or Portuguese lyrics in songs modeled on American and British rock, and taking seriously the idea of rock as rebellion. Lately it has also included ska, punk and hip-hop, all recombining with homegrown styles. By coincidence, Santana performed at Jones Beach during the weekend of the conference, a reminder that Latin rock is hardly a newfangled idea.

Los de Abajo, a Mexican band, performed at both Joe's Pub and Webster Hall on Thursday night (The Webster Hall was the 10th annual Latin-alternatives.) In their songs Los de Abajo praised the Zapatista movement and denounced corruption in songs that tossed together Salsa, Mexican banda (Brass band) music, Son Jarocho from Veracruz, Balkan brass-band music, rapping, ska and rock. "The history of the music is the mix between everything said Yocupitzio Arellano, the drummer of the band." - The New York Times


Discography

"LATIN SKA FORCE 2" 2012
WEB FREE RELEASE

1st Single "Virgen de la Merced"
produced by Paco Ayala (Molotov)
Aug 15th

2nd Single "Mienteme"
produced by Paco Ayala (Molotov)
Sep 1st

"ALICIA" 2011
Live recording for
ALICIA RECORDS

“ACTITUD CALLE” 2010
Produced by LDA and Sandy Hoover for
WRASSE RECORDS

“Los de Abajos V The Lunatics” 2006
produced by Temple of Sound for
REAL WORLD

“No Borraran” 2005
Produced by Hans Mues
INDEPENDENT

“Complete & Alive in L.A.” 2004
Live recording in the “Grand Performances” of Los Angeles for
KUFALA RECORDS

“Latin Ska Force” 2003
Produced by Yocupitzio Arellano and Pavel Sandoval for PPLOBO REKORDS

“Cyber Tropic Chilango Power” 2002
Produced by Macaco for
LUAKA BOP

“Los de Abajo” 1998
Produced by Greg Ladanyi and Hans Mues for
LUAKA BOP

Photos

Bio

Los de Abajo describe themselves as the first "punksalsa" band in the world. From college stages to main festivals around the globe, they begin to play in 1992 and there have something to say also.

In 1997 David Byrne from Talking Heads discover the band and sign them for his New York based label Luaka Bop, produced their first recording, simply called “Los de Abajo”. This launched the group into the world market.

Their second album, “Cyber Tropic Chilango Power” was marketed by the same label and was produced by the Chirusa brotherhood (Danny Macaco, Martin Fucks, and Carlos Jaramillo) from Barcelona, Spain.

They were winners of the BBC “Award for World Music, Americas Category” in 2002 and sold more than 50,000 copies of their third album Latin Ska Force the same year.

In 2004 they made a live album for Kufala Records in Los Angeles called “Complete & Alive in L.A.” wich was distributed only in USA.

Because of this they made another album in 2005 for the mexican market called "No Borraran".

Their 2006 release, "Los de Abajo Vs. the Lunatics", including a cover of Fun Boy Three’s "The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum", was recorded for Peter Gabriel’s "Real World" label. This album took them to Jules Holland’s TV show, where they were joined by Neville Staple (The Specials) and trombone player Dennis Rollins, both of them featured in the recording.

For over ten years, Los de Abajo have made people dance in more than 30 countries, have set foot in four continents, and have participated in prestigious festivals such as the Glastonbury Festival, the Paleo Festival, the Gurten Festival, the Roskilde Festival and WOMAD festival among others.

LOS DE ABAJO made their seventh album release. Produced by Sandy Hoover is ready to launch this may 2010 by Wrasse Records.

This 2010 Los de Abajo came with a new album under their arm, with explosive performances blend salsa, merengue, cumbia, punk, rap, reggae, and rock with their country's traditions of Son Jarocho and banda sinaloense. Combining Mexican musical roots with social activism, their big sound with brass, guitars and percussion creates the ultimate party!