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Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1994 | SELF

Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 1994
Band Latin Latin




"The Power of We"

That’s what Nosotros is about, band members and their community of fans agree: family, love, the good fight. The themes are woven into the Spanish lyrics of the band’s songs, riding the driving horn sections and imbuing the intoxicating dance-step rhythms with meaning. They reflect la vida of the band itself, a 20-year saga that spans five studio albums and nearly a thousand gigs along their way to becoming one of the most prominent musical acts in the state.

Although their story contains enough lucha to compel most bands to give up, Nosotros’ devotion to their music, one another, and their audience has seen them through—a fitting show of unity for a band whose name, in Spanish, means “we” or “us.”

In an age when music careers are launched from laptops, the band’s origin story has a vintage vibe: In 1994, just out of college, Randy Sanchez started jamming with a guy he knew from a local music store in Las Cruces, Jeff Watkins. The duo became a trio, with John Lucero, and came out with their first album, Palomo (1996). It received good reviews and sold well.

Just as the band began to earn recognition, however, Watkins passed away. (It was a “Robin Williams thing,” Sanchez says, a shadow settling over his features.) In the days after Watkins’ demise, Sanchez had a decision to make: let the tragedy pull the band under, or keep his friend’s musical legacy alive. He chose to persevere.

“I didn’t want life to hold us back,” he says.

The group added Shane Derk on guitar and Felipe Ruibal, whose lead vocals marked the band’s first large sonic shift. The sound grew again when Nosotros joined forces with another Las Cruces band, folding in David Diaz on vocals and sax, and Dennis Jasso on drums.

It was a winning combination: For their third, self-titled album, the group took home album of the year from the New Mexico Music Awards. It was the first of seven NMMA awards they’ve received to date, in a field crowded with acts like Son Como Son, Manzanares, and Sol Fire.

“Nosotros has been the leader in Latin music over the last 20 years,” says Jose Antonio Ponce, producer of the NMMAs. That the band has been able to establish itself globally, he says, “speaks highly of their artistic ability and technical talent.”

Nosotros draws from nearly every realm of Latin music—and, beyond, from rock and jazz—but Ponce hears in their music the distinctly regional undertones of plaintive cantos and boisterous norteño, genres popular in New Mexico and northern Mexico.

Sanchez agrees. “Norteño and cantos were blaring out of car stereos and at parties we went to when we were growing up, even in Las Cruces, although those sounds are more associated with northern New Mexico,” he says. “Those sounds are part of who we are and what we do.”

From southern New Mexico roots, Nosotros grew to reflect a larger swath of the I-25 corridor when the members migrated in 2000 to Albuquerque. There they grew closer by living and playing together, forming bonds that were put to the test in 2009, when they lost a second band member, David Diaz, who died due to illness.

Once again, the band decided it had no choice but to push through. “This is our business. We had a full schedule of shows, and we can’t really stop—we’ve worked for so long, it would have been a waste—so we just roll with the punches,” says Sanchez. “I can’t say in 20 years that I haven’t questioned what I’m doing, but when positive shows come, we use that light to stoke us and keep us going.”

That work ethic is apparent in the band’s schedule: Nosotros plays a steady two gigs a week, three during the summer. They’re a draw at dance clubs and on the festival circuit, attracting a wide range of fans, from twenty-something women in little black dresses to middle-aged construction workers. That broad popularity earned Nosotros the headliner spot at the burning of Zozobra in 2013 and 2014, where attendees danced away their gloom to the band’s salsa, bachata, merengue, and rumba. When the group played the Santa Fe Bandstand summer concert series, a record crowd packed the Plaza. In recent years, Nosotros have appeared at the Telluride Jazz Festival and the San Jose Jazz Summerfest—events that welcomed the band’s improvisational sound, though it’s hardly traditional jazz.

Today, Nosotros is grooving to its boldest sound yet, thanks to a diverse eight-man lineup. Sanchez is the only original member, followed in seniority by Derk and Jasso. Carlos Fontana, the lead singer, imports the influence of his Costa Rican roots. Manuel Ramirez is a trained jazz saxophonist. David Weeks plays trumpet, Gilbert Uribe is on bass, and Ricky Carrido rounds out the percussion section. Felipe Ruibal, the former lead singer, joins for occasional gigs. As familia goes, it’s a big one.

Nosotros hopes to capture this full-bodied sound on their planned sixth studio album. “We want everyone to feel like he owned the album,” says Jasso. But they don’t just want the band members to be part of the process; they want their fans to join in, too, via the crowdfunding site Indiegogo. “We want [donors] to feel like they are honorary band members,” says Sanchez. “I want this album to be a testament to the people of New Mexico who have helped us—for it to be produced by John Doe in Roswell, who gave $5.”

The band is building the new record around the song “Aquí y Allá” (“Here and There”), which also appears as a bonus track on their 20th-anniversary CD, XX. Over the past two decades, Nosotros may have been here and there, but it remains a proud reflection of its members. It’s still about familia, amor, la lucha—and a really good dance party. - New Mexico Magazine

"Nosotros, 20 Years Strong – The Music, The Myth, and the Men Behind It"

ABQ-Live sat down with the group NOSOTROS, to get an inside look at what it means to be a musical powerhouse in New Mexico.

Seldom would you hear of a 20 year relationship that still stands strong. Any band with nine members and a genre defined by multiple styles finds it hard to create such strong chemistry. However, Latin music fans in Albuquerque need not search far to find Nosotros, a group that gels so well together that they “make you dance regardless of how well of a dancer you are,” according to bassist, Gilbert Uribe. After 20 years, the band shows no signs of slowing down, and recent performances on the road prove that the bands’ popularity continues to grow. ABQ-Live sat down with the group for an interview and found the secret to the bands’ success, as well as what defines their Latin sound.

Formed in 1993 by Randy Sanchez in Las Cruces, New Mexico, the group started with only three members. In 2000, Nosotros joined together with Quantum Blue, forming the core of the band with drummer Dennis Jasso. Sanchez has since kept the group together as performers have come and gone, and the current lineup consists of nine members. Sanchez says, “We have evolved throughout the years. We were a smaller group, and we have added instrumentation through friendships and networking.” All current members of the group have strong musical backgrounds and have been in the music scene for a long time. Jasso says, “We all study, practice and understand music in some way, shape or form. As a group we communicate and connect with our sound.”

Manny Ramirez, the saxophonist, studied his instrument by taking classes in jazz and classical music; he auditioned then tied in with the band in 2008. Ricky Carrido, the conga player, joined the group after moving to Albuquerque. He teaches classes on conga technique and played with Baracutanga, a local Brazilian music group. Gilbert Uribe, bassist, linked in the lineup after being a sound engineer for the group. Shane Derk, guitarist, joined after being featured on the band’s second album, and after the tragic passing of former guitar player Jeff Watkins. David Weeks plays trumpet and first started sitting in with the group in 2012. Carlos Fontana, a Costa Rican native, provides the Spanish vocals alongside Felipe Ruibal.

The sound of Nosotros is in the elements of salsa, cumbia, flamenco, rock and jazz. Because of the multitude of sounds, it is best to describe the emotion when the group performs and their connection with the audience. Sanchez explains, “We have a strong feeling of where we are and what we need to do in a moment; we all share the extrasensory perception (ESP), and it is felt in the pit of the soul.” Nonetheless, the power of Latin music has such a strong appeal, and the band has proven that the genre will never die. When asked how the band keeps salsa and latin music timeless, Jasso says, “It’s the rhythm, the groove and the energy that brings people together. Latin music is accessible, making it contagious and that adds to our appeal.”

After 20 years, Nosotros still plays for large audiences. Their longevity is best described by their ability to evolve and still play with great energy and excitement. Ramirez says their success comes from having “great patience and dedication to the band and loving what they do.” Recently, they played at the burning of the Zozobra, the San Jose Jazz Festival and the Telluride Jazz Festival, which the band says was their most memorable show. Sanchez says, “Jazz festivals are the best— the range of sound is open and welcoming. Different styles are represented, which is what jazz is all about.” These large festivals have been associated with many big names in music, such as the Wailers, Roy Hargrove and Victor Wooten. This adds to the excitement of performing live, and the band members enjoy the company. Uribe says, “To be honored with opportunities to cross paths with those that have inspired us is a blessing and it makes you feel good.”

While most shows on the road go well, some come with turbulence. Carrido recalls a riot at a gig in Austin. “It was during a break in our set, and I remember Randy running with his guitar on his back, and I saw terror in his eyes! He ran into a club with a whole bunch of people running behind him with tear gas everywhere and cops running around.” Such madness on the road is better complemented by a positive crowd and a successful crew. Derk says, “The crowd brings a lot to the table, but for me, what really helps is a great staff and good sound technicians that make for a great show.” Good support is also key to the success of any band when life on the road becomes exhausting. Jasso says, “We support each other through thick and thin. We are a dedicated bunch, even though there are times in which we roll on a spare tire; but we always push through.

Nosotros has released five studio albums, including a new compilation CD featuring their best tracks and a new single titled “Aquí y Allá.” Sanchez describes the single as “a new step in the evolution of Nosotros.” The band is currently working on their sixth studio album, and they are looking to extend their fan base beyond the state of New Mexico. Carrido says, “Hopefully, with this new album we are working on we can win a Grammy. This band has been working for 20 years and we can push towards that.” The band also shares the dream of touring the world, but before this venture begins, Derk says,” I would love to sell out the Pan American Center in Las Cruces in our hometown. I have seen many great acts play there since I was a kid.” When asked about groups that Nosotros would like to play with, Sanchez says, “A collaboration with Los Lobos would be a trip.” Other names mentioned include groups like Mana, Grupo Fantasma, Marc Anthony, and Los Pericos. Such big aspirations are promising for a group that has already been together for 20 years, but they show no signs of slowing down.

The band’s secret to such great teamwork and cohesiveness can be best described in their advice for young musicians. Jasso suggests, “Have fun and be humble; the easier you are to work with the longer you will last.” And Sanchez advises, “Do not take criticisms to heart and keep practicing your instrument. You have to think like a team in which everyone’s different tasks and parts must be done well.” Carrido, being a music instructor, says it best by stating, “The more you know, the less you know, and that keeps you humble.”

Nosotros is set to perform their 20-year anniversary show in Las Cruces at the Rio Grande Theatre. They can be seen every Friday in November at the Thunder Road Steak House and Cantina inside the Route 66 Casino. - ABQ Live

"Twenty years strong: Nosotros celebrates a milestone"

Twenty years. This is the milestone Latin band Nosotros is celebrating this year.

“We’ve been through a lot,” says Randy Sanchez. “There have been plenty of peaks and valleys for us. And we’re happy to still be around.”

Sanchez is the guitarist and does some vocals for the band. It also consists of Dennis Jasso, Shane Derk, Carlos Fontana, Felipe Ruibal, Gilbert Uribe, David Weeks and Ricky Carrido.

While the band is celebrating its 20th year, it also is releasing a compilation album simply called, “XX.” Sanchez says the album contains 17 tracks, one of which is brand new.

Formed in Las Cruces, Nosotros has been through various incarnations over the years. The majority of the current lineup has been solid for about six to seven years, Sanchez says.

“We’re now at a point where the rhythm section has like ESP,” he says. “They know exactly where each person is going and it all works out. That’s the bonus to having bonded so well.”

Sanchez says the compilation spans the band’s entire catalog.

“There’s a difference in how we recorded all of the albums,” he says. “The early ones were done in Las Cruces and the recent ones have been done in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.”

Sanchez has grown as a musician over the course of the two decades.

“When we first started playing, I just liked to jam,” he says. “I’ve picked up a lot of advice and use it to my advantage. The band has now become a vehicle for us to get all of our music out.”

Sanchez says he thinks a new album will be out sometime next year.

“We’re raising the funds right now,” he says. “We’ve reached a really good place in our career.” - Albuquerque Journal

"The Latin Blends of Nosotros"

Eighteen jazz groups will play the Telluride Jazz Festival this weekend, filling the mountain air with the sound of saxophones, trumpets, trombones, keyboards and more. One band, though, brings a Latin kick that will temporarily transport audiences out of the mountains and into the heart of New Mexico.
Nosotros, an acclaimed band out of the Albuquerque/Santa Fe area, plays a Jazz After Dark set at Fly Me to the Moon Saloon on Friday 10 p.m., and takes the main stage Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
Nosotros began as a guitar trio in 1994 in Las Cruces, N.M. Today, only one member of the original group remains: Randy Sanchez, now playing the Cuban Tres (guitar-like instrument) and singing vocals. In addition to Sanchez, Nosotros’ current lineup includes: Carlos Fontana on percussion and lead vocals, Shane Derk on guitar, Felipe Ruibal on guitar, Nauel Ramirez on sax, vocals, and percussion, Russell Scharf on trumpet and percussion, Gil Uribe on bass, and Dennis Jasso on drums, vocals and percussion.
Jasso said the group came together naturally.
“The scene there in Las Cruces is kind of small so we all sort of knew each other,” he said.
Although Nosotros will be playing at the Jazz Festival, the band’s range is much more than jazz. Nosotros borrows from the colorful elements of Latin, flamenco, salsa and rock. The variety of influences derived from the band members makes it possible to blend all these includences.
“Everybody in the band comes from such a different background … there’s a little bit of everything in there,” Jasso said. “A lot of guys were raised on heavy metal … some guys were raised on jazz …what results is just kind of this mix of genres.”
Also making the Nosotros band members unique are their diverse musical skills. Although Uribe plays bass for the band, he also plays guitar, keyboard and percussion. He DJs as well. Derk, who plays guitar for the band, plays piano as well.
This combination of skill and diversity has brought Nosotros success.
In 2002, the band caught the ear of Chris Trujillo, who produced their award-winning third album, “Nosotros.”
While the band is appreciative of awards, commercial acclaim is not their primary focus. “We try not to put too much emphasis on it,” says Jasso.
So, what does Nosotros emphasize? It’s about the camaraderie of the bandmates, according to Jasso. “That’s the great thing about being in a band like Nosotros … it’s definitely an extension of our own family,” said Jasso.
Perhaps that is why the name of the band is “Nosotros,” Spanish for “we.”
Come listen to a show in the mountains that will take you away to New Mexico and leave you with tunes of jazz, latin and much more in your head. For information about the Jazz Festival and this exciting and innovative band, visit - Telluride Daily Planet

"Nosotros: Muy caliente!"

The band Nosotros is muy caliente, and it is local Nuevo Mexico. To find out the story behind the music, I meet with Nosotros members Randy Sanchez (guitar and tres) and Dennis Jasso (drums and vocals) in their Santa Fe sound studio. It’s tucked in one of my favorite parts of town, on a side street off Baca. This is an old-time neighborhood with modest houses tucked in together, and there’s a creative vibe in the air from the grass-roots arts scene. Dennis leads me down a pathway though a garden gate, and we wend through a little courtyard until we get to the studio, a soundproof room within a room. We settle into the comfortable space, and listening to Randy and Dennis, I know that they come from their corazones. Right away there is a feeling of nosotros—Spanish for “we” and one of those deceptively simple yet powerful words. Skip the pretense, skip the hype. We hang out, we talk. Randy is one of the original founders of the band. “In 1994 it started off as a guitar trio,” he says. “From there we started adding on. A percussionist came in, a bass player … and vocals. We were local musicians jamming in Las Cruces and made the move here in 2000.” (This is also when Dennis joined the band.) Randy, whose words flow like notes, adds, “Moving up here put us in a different realm. It’s not a weekend thing, it’s what we love to do and we’re making it go.” For these guys, Nosotros is a day job, and in the world of doing your own creative thing, this alone is a significant achievement. Huge, actually. “We upped our game a little bit moving here,” says Dennis. “The level of musicians we started meeting inspired us to do better. The timing was good, people here wanted something new and we appeared out of the blue.” Dennis explains that the band was well-established and -practiced at this point, adding, “This area welcomed us.” Latin culture is very diverse, and, it follows, so is its music. I ask if Nosotros plays a particular genre, and both Randy and Dennis are quick to say no. Their music is a fusion—not as in jazz fusion, but as in many influences being brought together, Latin and otherwise. Dennis grew up with music all around him. “My parents are both musicians, so I was raised in a musical household,” he says. “But for me it was not a conscious decision. I would come home from school and play the drums, like going outside and throwing a ball for a lot of kids.” Dennis moves his hands as though he were holding drum sticks. He is soft spoken, and I am sure that his singing voice has melted some hearts. “In my teenage years, I really wanted to start playing the drums [professionally]. I studied music in college and thought, ‘Man, if I can just pay my rent and put food in my stomach, I’ll be happy.’ Luckily, Nosotros provided that for us.” Randy started by playing tuba in sixth grade. “I played in the school band and did pretty well with it,” he says. “Then a friend of mine got a guitar, and I thought that was cool and wanted to get one. So I started playing guitar and got into Latin and flamenco.” From tuba to guitar is quite a leap. Nonetheless, I can picture a younger Randy dwarfed by a tuba. (You’ve got to hand it to any junior high kid willing to tackle one of those things.) When the band moved north, Randy took some classes in guitar at what was then called the College of Santa Fe. “But I am pretty much self-taught,” he says. “I also play tres, a variation of guitar from Cuba.” As musicians, Randy and Dennis—and by extension the entire band—are all about listening and taking cues from many types of music. “It keeps changing,” says Randy, “and that’s what’s cool about it as you’re going for things that might not work.” He ponders this. “And that’s cool (we laugh), but there’s something that we’ll hit with.” Dennis adds, “As musicians it’s important to be well-rounded, to listen to everything. I could get as much inspiration from Pearl Jam as Beethoven.” “It has to be about the groove,” Randy says. “That’s what I listen for.” When asked about the challenges of the music scene, Dennis replies, “The biggest one is the business part, how to market yourself as a band. We’re naturally artists.” (Dennis, Randy and I understand this all too well—it’s a right brain/left brain thing—and the three of us laugh.) “And we need to study and practice,” Dennis continues. “Nosotros functions much as a family. You love your family members, but it can be tough at times.” Then his face lights up. “We’ve been extremely fortunate: we’ve somehow managed to find the right people, we’re really close.” On the challenges, Randy adds, “You got to make some money, but what we love is music, just getting into it.” Now, after nineteen years of challenge and change, he says, “We see the fruit of it coming around. We’ve played some amazing gigs recently, and we got an album coming out.” Dennis has written a lot of new material, both music and lyrics, but, as he is quick to point out, “It’s a collaborative effort,” with band members giving input during the development of the songs. We talk about “Mama Tierra,” one of Dennis’ efforts. He says, “For every song it’s a little bit different, but lyrics are usually the last thing. I have the music and a melody and the lyrics come. You really have to go on instinct.” We listen to the song. The melody unfolds in an easy rolling rhythm, and it’s sung in Spanish. Here’s an excerpt from the lyrics: Yo quiero vivir en tu luz Yo quiero morir en tus brazos Yo quiero ser uno con mi alma Eso es paz I want to live in your light I want to die in your arms I want to be one with my soul That is peace No more beautiful words have been spoken, or sung, about Mother Earth. Dennis reflects further on songwriting, “As soon as you start thinking about it, it’s really difficult. It comes when you’re not thinking about it, when you’re driving your car, and subconsciously the melody and lyric comes together. It is instinctual, and it is a little bit of pushing—working and working it.” He continues, “Our CD’s are original music. We’re working on our sixth album.” The band’s recordings have been under different labels. The current one is by Alma Productions, and, like previous releases, it will be available at their shows, via their website, and online at Amazon and CD Baby. On reaching their audience, Dennis says, “Social media has made a lot possible. It’s not about hanging up flyers around town anymore, it’s about Facebook and Twitter and having a YouTube channel.” Nosotros would like to take its performances to larger venues and festivals. But, says Randy, “You don’t need to be a rock star to be successful. We’re not big-time, but you can find a niche to be in and make a living doing what you love. I want people to know of us and respect what we’re doing musically, and I want to play for people who are appreciative of our music. That’s success for me.” One of my favorite bumper stickers reads: “Beer. Helping White boys dance since 1864.” That one pretty well has me pegged. We Nordics are good at herding reindeer and taking saunas. But dancing? Not unless it’s around the maypole—and fortunately we only have to do that once a year. However, as I sit in a chair and listen to the eight or so songs on Nosotros’ website, pretty soon my foot starts tapping. First time this has happened in two years. And then my legs move, and then I can’t sit in the chair any more. Suddenly, I jump up and dance around the house. There’s no telling what would happen if I had a beer in me! Nosotros definitely has a groove. by Gordon Bunker For information about the band, including upcoming performances and CD’s, go to Along with Randy and Dennis, the band’s current lineup includes Carlos Fontana (vocals), Felipe Ruibal (vocals), Shane Derk (guitar), Gilbert Uribe (bass), Manuel Ramirez (alto and tenor sax), David Weeks (trumpet) and Cristobal “Cha Chi” Romero (congas, vocals). - Local Flavor - Santa Fe, NM

"Nosotros plays at WNMU over weekend"

Western New Mexico University brought Latin dance band Nosotros to Silver City this past Friday.
In addition to Nosotros playing at Old James Stadium that evening, local group The Illusion Band performed prior to Nosotros’ performance.
In an interview with the Silver City Daily Press, Nosotros band members talked about their history in New Mexico.
According to one of the band’s founders, Randy Sanchez, they started as a flamenco quartet around 20 years ago in Las Cruces and released their first album in 1996. Since then the band has grown from four people to its current lineup of around 10 people.
Since then the band has produced five albums with a sixth on the way. According to bass player Gilbert Uribe, the band is always “trying to push the envelope’ with its style of music.
“We constantly try to progress our songs and writing and stuff; our last 20th anniversary CD you can hear the transition of the band from when it started in Las Cruces as a flamenco quartet to what it is now,’ Uribe said.
Sanchez said it is very hard to define exactly what the band’s style is because it draws from so many influences from funk and soul to rock ’n’ roll.
Dennis Jasso said there is a certain style of music that New Mexico bands produce — that style is Latin.
“In the spectrum of a night you’ll hear us play something that’s really jazzy to something that’s really danceable to something that’s rock so it’s just safer to call ourselves Latin so we’re not put into a box,’ Jasso said.
Although Nosotros is their primary job, many of the band members said they work as music teachers, give private music lessons, and work in recording studios to supplement their time.
Nosotros has been described as having a cult following.
“We haven’t seen any sacrifices yet,’ Sanchez said. “We’ve been around this area for 20 years now and in the state, and a lot of people have heard about us in one way or another. We definitely have a good fanbase who has supported us over the years.’
Friday was the first time Nosotros played in Silver City, and members said they loved doing venues like the one on Friday because it brings the community together.
The band consists of Sanchez, Jasso on the drums, Uribe on the bass, Shane Derk on the guitar, singer Carlos Fontana, Manny Ramirez on the saxophone, Ricky Carrido playing the congas, trumpeter David Weeks and Felipe Ruibal singing as well. Michale Trujillo was a special guest percussionist and the band members invited Paul Naranjo, the trombonist from The Illusion Band, to play with them during the show.
In addition to the two bands playing, there was a small car show inside Old James Stadium and WNMU President Joseph Shepard did social media’s popular ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to raise funds and awareness for the disease. - Silver City Daily Press

"Latin rock to salsa, Nosotros moves you"

Dennis Jasso wants to clarify something: Nosotros may play Latin rock, but it also serves up enough of a beat to keep salsa dancers happy.

“We have a lot of rock energy so it’s definitely not for salsa purists but it works. People can still do their salsa steps,” said Jasso, the band’s drummer.

And Nosotros throws in some jazz in its music presentations. Jasso said that’s because band members play a lot of extended solos and improvisations.

Given that potpourri of styles, Nosotros doesn’t like to be pigeonholed.

Nosotros is currently in the studio recording its next album, scheduled for release in early 2014.

“The band is always looking for something new. This recording is exploring a lot of different hybrids of Latin music. We’ve always been Latin rock but we’re taking that a little bit further, bringing in stuff that we were listening to when we were growing up,” Jasso said.

Jasso himself is the recording engineer in his home studio in Santa Fe and is co-producing the CD with former New Mexico jazz bassist Luis Guerra.

“Luis is a good friend and he’s living in LA now. He seemed like an obvious choice,” he said. “He’s known the band for a really long time and we thought we wanted someone with an outside set of ears to hear us, refine the sound.”

So far, Nosotros has done some “scratch tracking,” meaning preliminary recording and arranging songs that aren’t ready for the final CD.

“We’ve been able to hear it back over and over again. We are getting the arrangement, the melodies and the parts down,” Jasso said.

“Luis has given us feedback on these. He’s liking what he’s hearing. And Luis is bringing some of his own (compositions) to the project.”

Nosotros truly is a New Mexico band. It started out in Las Cruces. At present, four of its members live in Santa Fe and five in Albuquerque.

The Santa Fe residents are Jasso, string player Randy Sanchez, trumpeter David Weeks and one of the lead vocalists, Carlos Fontana.

The Albuquerque residents are saxophonist Manuel Ramirez, conga player Cha Chi Romero, bassist Gilbert Uribe, lead guitarist Shane Derk and Felipe Ruibal, the other lead vocalist. - Albuquerque Journal

"Nosotros Plays AMoCA"

Do you like rock, Latin or jazz music? How about heavy metal, R&B, salsa or flamenco? If you are a fan of any of those genres, you owe it to yourself to check out New Mexico’s own Nosotros.

While many bands might be called original, genre busting, and difficult to classify, Nosotros clearly earned all of those titles by explor- ing each individual band member’s musical back- ground and reinterpeting it through a full Latin band.

According to Dennis Jasso, Nosotros drummer, “All of us come from a back- ground where Latin music isn’t our main influence or what we were brought up on.”

Jasso’s roots are from rock drumming, and while he was primarily influenced by bands like Led Zepplin and Rush, it does not stop him from laying into a Latin groove that is appropriate for the Nosotros sound. “I had a huge respect for the com- plexity of Latin rhythm, I wanted to show my appreci- ation of the music by learn- ing the traditional rhythms, but being who I am, I didn’t want to be such a stickler to the rules. I feel like I hit the drums like a rock drummer. I feel the energy that I put into my playing is definitely the rock music,” Jasso said.

As for the other influences of the band, Jasso contin- ued, “Our bass player grew up on R&B. You can totally hear it, but for some reason, he makes it fit into a Latin groove. David Diaz was re- ally into jazz, but because we were in Las Cruces, we were always in touch with the Latin music, and it is al- most unexplainable how it all came about that we were all playing Latin music,”

For the heavy metal guys, the speed helped them cross over. For me, it was the groove and the feel of Latin, and the feeling that made you want to get up and dance. We have all found a way to bring our influences in to the Latin beat, and that is one of the unique things about Nosotros, because we are able to call ourselves a Latin band, but you can’t put a label on us past that. We’ve been called Latin- rock, we’ve been called salsa, we’ve been called Latin-jazz, we’ve been called flamenco, but ultimately it is hard to put a label on it.”

This makes the band a lit- tle more versatile than most because they end up with fans and gigs outside of the Latin music realm, like the Teluride Jazz Festival. Ac- cording to Jasso, “We can squeeze into other genres, because although it is a jazz festival, somehow we end up fitting in with it.”

However, it wasn’t always like this, and as many Nosotros fans can tell you, following the band is more like watching an evolution of sound while the members explore different genres and bring them back into the Latin world.

Nosotros has been one of my favorite bands since they started in 1994, yet they are the only Latin band that has music that I feel speaks to me. To understand that, let me go through the band’s history from the viewpoint of a fan.

Back in the mid-90s I was in El Paso at a heavy metal concert featuring the aggre- sive music of Embalmed. It was at that show where someone told me that if I liked this sort of sound, that I should check out Nosotros. I was doubtful, but later on, I saw their self-produced cassette sitting next to the Embalmed EP at Hubbard’s music and decided to give it a listen.

While normally I didn’t get into that sort of music be- cause, by then, I was under the impression that Latin music consisted of accor- dians and tubas played by a house band at a wedding. The music of Nosotros was vastly different.

At the time, Nosotros was a guitar trio playing fla- menco music. However, this wasn’t what I, or any of my peers were used to, because while it was Latin music at its core, it had the sensibility and vocabulary of much of the heavy music that was well represented in the un- derground scene.

anges, shredding guitar licks and phrasing that I was used to hearing in thrash metal, but adapted and interpreted in a Latin style. The music reached out as if to say, “I understand what it is about metal music that connects with your emotions, and I’m going to give you more of it.”

I wasn’t alone. Nosotros act in Las Cruces, and ended up putting out two al- bums, “Palomo” and “Pico.” If you like heavy metal, I can’t recommend “Palomo” enough. It is, at its core, a great showcase of heavy metal chops in a Latin music format.

Over the course of the early years of the band, they played lots of live shows and started evolving as a band. 1999 was a big turning point for the band. It was then that Nosotros guitarist Jeff Watkins passed away.

“Around that time, or just before Jeff passed away, they added Felipe Ruibal. And I think that was the biggest change, because Nosotros started off as an in- strumental guitar trio, and what Felipe brought to the group was vocals. And that was the beginning of the ew chapter of Nosotros,” said Jasso.

“A little bit after the band lost Jeff, is when it started to go through changes. The first change was the addition of Shane Derk who is still with the band now. He took the place of Jeff, if that is even possible…”

“...David Diaz started sit- ting with the band and jumping into more gigs with his saxaphone. He had a jazz trio called Quantum Jazz, and the bass player and myself were part of Quantum Jazz. As David started playing more and more with Nosotros, he be- came more and more part of the band, and started put- ting in his own influence. One of the things he talked the guys into was bringing myself and Justin, the bass player at the time, into Nosotros. That kind of brought Nosotros into a more full band with drums, bass, horns, guitars and vo- cals.”

From the fans’ point of view it was almost as if every new interaction of Nosotros had a new level of complex- ity and emotional connection with the listeners, and they would take these musical and emotional cues from the musical backgrounds of the new members of the band. So, while Diaz was playing Latin music with Nosotros, his emotional connection with his audience came from the world of jazz. Along with this came new phrasing, ideas and ultimately fresh and new music.

Every time they added another layer of musical style, they got more fans. By 2001 they were selling out their shows and decided to relo- cate from Las Cruces to Al- buquerque. They put out a self-titled album in 2004, and “Llena La Alma” in 2008. As if to continue the tradition, each of these al- bums has been musical growth for not only the band, but to those who have followed the band over the years.

In April of 2009, Diaz passed away. The music continues with what Jasso calls, “The Generations of Nosotros” on the new album “Ver El Sol.” “The opening track is unique in that David Diaz, who passed away a few years ago, wrote the opening track. We had done a very rough recording of it three or four years ago, and we were able to salvage his vocal track and his saxaphone track. We dropped it in with the three generations of singers. Nosotros has had three singers, and all three singers are on this opening track along with Dave’s saxaphone playing, and so it is somewhat of a tribute to the history of Nosotros. It is really great, and it is nice to hear Dave’s voice. And hear him with the new line-up. A couple of the guys that are in the band now have never played with Dave and didn’t really know him. So, it was great to hear what he would sound like with the present band,” said Jasso.

For new fans, the newest tion of musical styles that make you want to dance and connects with your emo- tions. For fans that have fol- lowed them through the years, you can still hear the speed metal flourishes on the Cuban tres that give Nosotros the sound that feels like home. Jasso and the rest of the band are grateful to their fans and said, “It is amazing how many people have followed Nosotros for that long, and it is really great. It is that kind of support that has kept the band going for as long as it has.”

Nosotros will be playing the Xcellent Music Series at the Anderson Museum on July27at7p.m.Thisisa free concert with Pecos Fla- vors Winery serving. They will also be playing the Teluride Jazz Festival on the first weekend of August. For more information on Nosotros, to hear their music, or to find out their complete show schedule, visit - Vision Magazine

"The Rio Grande Theatre Welcomes Back Hometown Heroes Of Latin Rock"

June 29th, 2011
Las Cruces, NM – The Rio Grande Theatre will once again be the host for the return of hometown heroes, Nosotros, when they swing back through town to celebrate the release of their new, eagerly-awaited EP entitled Ver El Sol.

Award-winning ensemble, Nosotros, began as a local guitar trio in 1994, but has since added members, relocated to Albuquerque and racked up the awards, cementing their reputation as a Latin music powerhouse. Seamlessly combining Latin rhythms with the elements of Flamenco, Jazz, Salsa and Rock to create an unmistakably original sound, Nosotros will bring their progressive, uniquely Southwestern style back to the Rio Grande Theatre stage on July 8, 2011. - Las Cruces, NM Convention and Visitor's Bureua

"Nosotros returns to their heritage"

The Rio Grande Theatre will once again host the return of hometown heroes, Nosotros, when they swing back through town to celebrate the release of their new, eagerly awaited EP, “Ver El Sol.” The group will perform at 8 p.m. Friday, July 8, at the theater, 211 N. Main St.
Award-winning ensemble Nosotros began as a local guitar trio in 1994, but has since added members, relocated to Albuquerque and racked up the awards, cementing their reputation as a Latin music powerhouse. Seamlessly combining Latin rhythms with the elements of flamenco, jazz, salsa and rock to create an unmistakably original sound, Nosotros will bring their progressive, uniquely Southwestern style back to the Rio Grande Theatre stage. - The Las Cruces Bulletin

"Salsa? Sure, but there’s so much more than that"

The band Nosotros is greater than any one of its several transformations.

It started out as a guitar trio in Las Cruces in 1994, playing music in the styles of John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia, said Randy Sanchez, a founding member.

When lead vocalist Carlos Fontana joined the group about five years ago he brought an interest in salsa. Then came players who took the band into jazz and flamenco.

Nosotros has also grown in numbers. It has seven musicians.
The band is performing tonight at the Albuquerque Museum’s amphitheater as part of the New Mexico Jazz Workshop’s Salsa Under the Stars series.

Sanchez said Nosotros shouldn’t be categorized as a “salsa” band.
“Salsa is a heavy influence, but we are trying to get out of the label of being just a salsa band,” he said. “We also do cumbias from Colombia. We cover some Juanes tunes. All of the influences affect the original material that we write.”

The concert program will have half Nosotros originals and half covers, said Sanchez, who plays the Cuban tres and sings backup vocals. The tres is a Cuban stringed instrument that’s in the guitar family.

“I was originally into rock music,” Sanchez said. “I had moved to Santa Fe in 1993 and studied flamenco guitar. That got me interested in listening to Latin music such as the Buena Vista Social Club.”
From guitar, he explored the cuatro, a lutelike instrument from Puerto Rico, and from there took up the tres.
“I’m pretty much the one who plays the tres on the scene in New Mexico,” he said.

Sanchez said he and some of the band members live in Santa Fe and a few live in Albuquerque.

Nosotros plays concerts in both cities. Every Thursday night it is at Corazón in Santa Fe and about once a month it plays at The Cooperage in Albuquerque, he said.

This summer it will be giving a special Father’s Day performance June 19 at the Farmers Market Pavilion at The Railyard in Santa Fe.
“We’re continuing to develop the sound of what we do now,” Sanchez said.

Cutline – Nosotros will perform tonight in the Salsa Under the Stars series at the Albuquerque Museum. - Albuquerque Journal

"Quotes from different newspaper, newsletter, and entertainment section articles"

““It really says a lot about a band when they play on the same day as Victor Wooten and Roy Hargove and the crowd can't stop talking about Nosotros' set." Paul Machado, Executive Producer Telluride Jazz Festival

““The kind of CD I would put on at a party and the energy would never drop!” Felix Contreras, Alt. Latino

"Come listen to a show in the mountains that will take you away to New Mexico and leave you with tunes of jazz, latin and much more in your head." Elena Keltner, Telluride Daily Planet (Aug 03, 2012)

"The sound of Nosotros is not to be explained; it is to be felt in the pit of nuestras almas (our souls)!" M.E. Schenck, Hyperactive Music Magazine

"Santa Fe imports Nosotros, playing brilliantly mixed classics from Spain with contemporary music from Nuevo Mexico." Leigh Weimers, San Jose Mercury News

"Nosotros' music made me feel like the band's energy and the energy of the world- would never run out, and that life would always be good." Robert Nott, The New Mexican

"The band's great blend of Latin-infused music and animated performance is one that is rare..." Patricia Garcia, The Pulse, Las Cruces Sun News

"Showcasing Traditional Latin Music with a bold new sound...The fast paced music became an instant hit with fans, keeping Nosotros among the most popular latino bands in the southwest." Juan Suarez, New Mexico Magazine

"New Mexico has a reputation for exporting its green chile and southwest style to the masses, so people in other states can get a taste of New Mexico flavor. But what do other states know about New Mexico Music? A lot more now, thanks to the salsa/Latino/jazz-inspired Nosotros." Adrian Gomez, Las Cruces Sun News

"Transcending time and space has never been easy- ask a Buddhist. Then again, ask any dedicated Nosotros fan and they will tell you that Albuquerque's most original Latin ensemble does just that." Todd Eric Lovato, Transmission Magazine

"Listening to Nosotros, you hear the ancient white-hot gypsy flamenco guitars of Spain, James Brown funk, salsa and polyrhythmic Cuban beats layered with original Latin jazz." John Knoll, The New Mexican

"Nosotros has earned a reputation as one of the hardest working bands in the region. This is best evidenced during the summer season, a time when the band has been known to perform as many as seven shows a week (sometimes two shows a day)." Todd Lovato, Local IQ

"If you’re itching to hit the dance floor and shake it all out to salsa, a good place to start is to find where Nosotros has their latest gig."
Kira Luna, University of New Mexico's Latin American and Iberian Multidisciplinary Opinion Newsletter - Various

"Nosotros Returns with Special Guests Nuevo Sol"

he local music scene has slowly matured over time to create a sound that is true to its Border roots. Heavily influenced by Latin rhythms, but holding firm to traditional American sounds, the result is a progressive style that is uniquely Southwestern. Two of the frontrunners of this evolving form are local-favorites-turned-rising-stars, Nosotros, and relative newcomers on the scene, Nuevo Sol. Both will take the Rio Grande Theatre stage on September 12, 2009.

Award-winning ensemble, Nosotros, began as a local guitar trio in 1994, but has since added members, relocated to Albuquerque and racked up the awards, cementing their reputation as a Latin music powerhouse. Seamlessly combining Latin rhythms with the elements of Flamenco, Jazz, Salsa and Rock to create an unmistakably original sound, Nosotros recently released their fourth album, entitled “Llena La Alma,” with Grammy Award-winning Engineer, Doug Geist.

Nuevo Sol–made up of members from such diverse local acts as Rio, Zia’s Soul, Del Rey, Live Bait and Liquid Cheese–takes the best of Latin, Jazz, Reggae and Rock, then transforms them into a powerful, energetic performance with a style all their own. The result is a progressive, cutting-edge sound that reflects the rich cultural styles of the region and takes Southwestern music to all new levels.

The Rio Grande Theatre is located at 211 N. Downtown Mall, in Las Cruces. Doors open at 7pm and the performance begins at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased via the website at For more information contact Rio Grande Theatre Manager, David Salcido, at (575) 523-6403.
- Las Cruces, NM Convention and Visitor's Bureua

"Artist of The Month, January 2008" - Indigenous Internet Chamber of Commerce

"The Latin Lingo of Nosotros"

N.M.-bred Latin music phenomenon Nosotros left Las Cruces a decade ago to cast a wider net. Mission accomplished.

By Todd Eric Lovato
Earning a living as a musician in New Mexico is a full-time hustle, particularly if your name is Randy Sanchez, the unassuming, bespectacled leader of Latin powerhouse Nosotros. For more than 15 years, Sanchez has worked tirelessly to spread the music of Nosotros, a highly kinetic blend of pan-Latino fare that incorporates Latin jazz, cumbia, merengue, bachata and traditional salsa.

Nosotros has earned a reputation as one of the hardest working bands in the region. This is best evidenced during the summer season, a time when the band has been known to perform as many as seven shows a week (sometimes two shows a day). Since relocating from Las Cruces to Albuquerque in 2000, the band has steadily maintained its position as one of New Mexico's most consistently popular live music draws. Along with Sanchez, a talented guitarist and tresero (the name given to a player of the Cuban tres, a guitar-like instrument with three sets of double strings), Nosotros is made up of a rich talent base that includes Dennis Jasso (drums/percussion/vocals), Shane Derk (guitar), Carlos Fontana (lead vocals/percussion), Gil Uribe (bass), Manuel Ramirez-Ruiz (saxophone/vocals) and Russell Scharf (trumpet, percussion). Nosotros has been instrumental in introducing the state's vibrant Latin music scene to new and wider audiences. This effort has been bolstered by a significant number of masters of the montuno genre of Cuban music, including Son Como Son, Ivon Ulibarri Y Cafe Mocha, Felipe Ruibal's Quemozo and Calle 66, as well as a number of popular local nightclub DJs.

After chatting with Sanchez at length, it became clear to this writer that the measured focus of Nosotros is to make music that electrifies Albuquerque's transitory music scene. This, along with the band's aggressive performance schedule, has recently been furthered with the establishment of Latin Underground, a regularly scheduled celebration of Latin dance and music held in the basement of the Albuquerque Hilton. The biweekly event features a diverse mix of live bands and DJs performing a wide range of music styles based in the Latin realm, both contemporary and traditional.

The December 19 installment of Latin Underground includes scheduled sets by DJ Soulcialite, cumbia rock group Agua Bendita and Latin fusion band Cinco Cero Cino, the latter of which is a side project made up of members from Nosotros and Quemozo.

It is the hope of Sanchez that this unique live music event will grow to be a boon to the local Latin music scene. Luckily, when it comes to music, often what is best for the audience is best for the musician.

Despite his busy schedule, Sanchez recently sat down with Local iQ to discuss the state of the local Latin music scene, how the recession has affected his working relationship with some local night clubs and the potential impact that can result from an event such as Latin Underground.
Local iQ: How has the response been to Latin Underground so far?

Randy Sanchez: It’s been really great. We've had more than 150 people show up and a packed dance floor all night. I’m really looking forward to where Latin Underground is headed. I can see, in the future, bringing in all types of crazy acts from different countries and different parts of the U.S.

iQ: What spurred the idea to start the event?
RS: [Nosotros] is just trying to give people what we’ve heard them asking for: a consistent night where people can dance to Latin salsa. These [events feature] a mixture of live bands and DJs, so it's the best of both worlds for fans of the music because it’s a non-stop party. We’re also trying to mix in some new progressive stuff into the night and introduce people to some new styles.

Photo by Wes Naman
iQ: New styles ... like what?
RS: I think what we’re doing with Latin Underground is a pretty accurate reflection of what's going on right now in Latin music as a whole. There's more of a mix now than ever. It's not just cumbia, bachata, salsa or more traditional styles; there’s hip-hop, reggaeton and electronic music all rolled up into one. These [songs] aren't the traditional '70s and '80s salsa songs.

iQ: And the thread that ties it all together?
RS: Latin music. It’s been the same approach we’ve used with Nosotros since we started in 1994.

iQ: Tell me more about Cinco Cero Cinco.
RS: When we decided to form Latin Underground, we thought we’d develop a new band around the event. Let’s take it into some new areas. We merged some members of Nosotros and Quemoso. Cinco Cero Cinco is even 'bigger,' with congas, timbales ... two vocalists. It’s a little more on the salsa tip.

iQ: Nosotros has been playing fewer gigs than usual. What’s the deal?
RS: Well, this is a slower season in general, but we've had our ups and downs with venues and with some people who we’ve done a lot of work for. We don't need pats on the back, but maybe just a little more respect for our hard work.

iQ: What do you mean? Is the economic slump affecting your business?
RS: For sure. In the bar scene, we generally get paid consistently and we play at venues on a weekly basis, but more bars and restaurants started to have a hard time with dinner crowds and started to cut costs. Entertainment is usually the first thing to go. In my opinion, that's the wrong way to go. Being a big band, we may charge a little more [compensation] than the average band, but we do heavy promoting for our shows and take a lot of care in getting people to [attend] the shows.

iQ: Are you seeing this same economic impact affect fellow local bands, and how is it affecting the strength of the Latin music scene in New Mexico?
RS: Bands have a harder time forming or staying together because professional musicians are trying to hustle, they start playing in multiple bands and doing more gigs, all for less pay. This doesn’t lend itself to the quality of the bands. It gets hard for bands to create a really solid act when everyone is so thinly spread.

iQ: But when times are tough, you find a way to adapt, you find a way to continue doing what you love, no? On that note, are all the guys in Nosotros musicians by trade?
RS: Yes. We all work in music. If it’s not performing, we teach music lessons or work in side projects. Alma Productions is also working on more music compilations, things like that. I’ve been [working in the music industry] for the last five or six years — just straight up music.

iQ: You’ve made it clear that it’s important to you that your musicians get paid fairly for their services.
RS: A successful show and a vibrant music scene should also be beneficial to the performers. I want the bands to get paid well at these gigs. Sometimes these guys walk out of a night of hard work with 15, 20 bucks. I see that as unacceptable. I want the musicians to feel like they are taken care of, that they are valued. If the musicians feel like they are [performing] at their peak, they can give it back to the crowd. And that’s what the crowd wants to see; they feed into it. Everybody feeds off each other.

iQ: This mutually beneficial relationship is at the heart of every successful music scene.
RS: That’s what I’m really working on with Latin Underground — to develop and expand the Latin music scene in New Mexico. Latin music is hot; people love it. And when bands, DJs and music venues come together to put on a really great show, people will come out and everyone is happy.

iQ: Can you characterize your leadership style?
RS: Soft, behind the scenes, I guess. When you’re a leader of a band that’s been around for so long, I just go into that supportive mode. I don't like being very hardcore and aggressive with people. People have their own ideas about how things go and music doesn’t always click right away, so you’ve got to be patient. In the end, y - LOCAL IQ, Albuquerque's Biweekly Alternative Arts & Entertainment Magazine

"R E V I E W O F N O S O T R O S"

If you’re itching to hit the dance floor and shake it all
out to salsa, a good place to start is to find where
Nosotros has their latest gig. This Latin band serves
up live tunes in various venues around Albuquerque
and Santa Fe all throughout the week. I recently sat
down with the lead singer of Nosotros, Carlos
Fontana, to get a behind-the-scenes look at the current Latin dance scene in the area. Fontana, a native of
Costa Rica who now makes his home in Santa Fe,
gave some background information on the group,
shared his musical inspirations, and let us in on the
best places to cut a rug. –Kira Luna - Latin American and Iberian Multidisciplinary Opinion Newsletter, The University of New Mexico

"Nosotros Releases Nosotros"

Showcasing traditional Latin music with a bold new sound, Nosotros, an Albuquerque-based band, recently released its third album titled Nosotros. The fast-paced music became an instant hit with fans, keeping Nosotros among the most popular Latino bands in the Southwest.

Nosotros, which means “us” in Spanish, cut two previous albums- Palomo and Pico.

Members of the band are Felipe Ruibal, vocals; original member Randy Sanchez and Shane Derk on guitars; Dave Diaz, vocals, saxophone and flute, along with credits for writing and arranging on the new album; Justin McLauchlin on Bass; Dennis Jasso on Drums; and Chris Trujillo, who produced the latest album, on percussion.

Trujillo brings the experience of playing with top acts such as Tom Petty, Rod Stewart, Diana Ross and the Black Crowes. “This is different though, it’s a family thing,” Trujillo says. “I’m not just a hired gun.”

All band members agree that the latest album is the new sound and face they have been striving for. “We did not settle with this album, this is Nosotros,” Ruibal says.

“This album will take us to the next level,” Jasso adds.

The New Mexico-bred music of Nosotros is available at Hastings or can be ordered from its Web site. For show times, information, and music visit
- New Mexico Magazine

"Latin Bands Dominate N.M Music Awards"

Local Latin music bands Nosotros and Son Como Son each took home three awards in the 17th annual New Mexico Music Industry Awards ceremony, with Todd Lovato from the funky Felonious Groove Foundation winning two.

The 10 year-old band Nosotros, which led the nominations with 14 in 10 different categories, earned the highest honor Sunday night – Best Album – for their third record, “Nosotros.”

The three-hour casual awards ceremony – think New Mexico’s Grammy’s – was stretched across two Albuquerque Convention Center Ballrooms and included live music by New Mexico bands.

The winners included some of the obvious audience favorites, such as Nosotros, and some surprises.

Madi Soto, winner of Best Musical Production for R&B, not only was surprised by her award but the quality of the night’s performances by the New Mexico bands and artists.

“After seeing this talent and the high quality of music tonight – I didn’t know this existed,” Soto said.

But the awards were no surprise for Nosotros, at least from the perspective of the audience, which included a large block of cheering fans.

“It’s all of our hard work. It’s all represented in this one award right here,” said founder Randy Sanchez. Nosotros also won Best Production for Traditional Hispanic and Best Producer.

The judging is done is two rounds. Artists first submit recordings in 30 different categories. Local music industry professionals narrow each category down to five or six finalists, then a panel of national judges chooses the winners in each. This year’s national judges included folk rocker Josh Ritter, country band Rascal Flatts and Latin rock guitarist Sergio Valin.

While the ceremony highlighted the best music New Mexico has to offer, the sentiment from artists and organizers was a broader: support local music.

“It’s fantastic,” said Sanchez about the ceremony. “We need this to be happening all the time because we’ve got some the best musicians here in New Mexico.” - Albuquerque Tribune

"Nosotros Takes Album of the Year Honors at Awards"

Salsa/Latin jazz/Rock group Nosotros won Album of the Year at the 2004 New Mexico Music Industry Awards, the state’s version of the Grammy’s.

The seven-member Albuquerque band received nominations in 10 categories, more than any other act, and won in three. It’s self- titled 2003 album won Best Album and Best Producer, and its song “Cinco Sentidos” won Best Traditional Hispanic song.

“We see you moving in your chairs, “Nosotros vocalist Felipe Ruibal told the crowd during the band’s performance at Sunday’s awards ceremony at the Albuquerque Convention Center. “Move the chairs and tables and get up and dance.”

Santa Fe folk singer Jaime Michaels’ “Lavender Moon: took home the honors for Best Song. “Nosotros’ set was so strong I rooting for them,” Michaels said when he accepted the prize.

Awards were handed out in 31 categories at the 17th annual awards ceremony, which honors music made in New Mexico. Unlike the Grammy’s, most of the categories honored a single song rather than an entire album.
- Albuquerque Journal

"Nosotros Getting Some Recognition"

New Mexico has a reputation for exporting its green chile and southwest style to the masses, so people in other states can get a taste of New Mexico flavor. But what do other states know about New Mexico music? A lot more now, thanks to the salsa/Latino/jazz-inspired Nosotros.

The seven-member band recently played a show in Chicago to showcase the New Mexico music scene. The performance was in conjunction with the New Mexico Partnership Program, which was started by Governor Richardson to market New Mexico as a destination.

“Governor Richardson asked us to perform out here,” said member Randy Sanchez, while on Navy Pier in Chicago. “This is a cool opportunity for us because we get to introduce our sound to a different audience.”

Sanchez said with the performance, Nosotros is being marketed as just one of the many facets of New Mexico music.

“We’ve been able to perform and show our stuff,” he said. “Plus we’ve been able to stay an extra day and experience a city we’ve never been to.”

The selection was a surprise for the band, Sanchez said. He said the members Shane Derk, Felipe Ruibal, David Diaz, Dennis Jasso, Justin McLauchlin, Chris Trujillo and himself were all excited about the opportunity.

“We’ve played for the governor before,” he said. “And we’ve seen him at many of our shows, but we never expected this.”

And the show in Chicago was only the beginning. The band is in town for a performance at El Patio at 9:30pm today. The shows in the coming two days are preparation for the 17th Annual New Mexico Music Industry Awards on Sunday.

Nosotros is nominated for a record setting 14 times. The New Mexico Music Industry Awards are an annual song contest for original productions recorded and mixed primarily in New Mexico between the start of the calendar year and the entry deadline.

Tom Mitchell, Committee member of NMMIA, said the judging took a lot longer this year. He said there were 470 entrants, which were put into 30 categories.

“Each category was scaled down to the top five,” he said. “The top five were then sent out to a professional in the music industry.”

Mitchell said it’s not uncommon for an actual national group to judge this contest.

“For example, a touring country group will judge the country category,” he said. “It’s a great way to get exposure for New Mexico music.”

Mitchell said an awards banquet is held in the spring where awards for each category are presented in a Grammy style ceremony.

“From what we’re told, no one in the history has been nominated more times,” Sanchez said. “We feel that we could bring home some of the awards.”

Sanchez joked that in some categories, the band was nominated multiple times. “We hope at least win those ones,” he said. “We’re also shooting for ‘Album of the Year’ but we have a lot of good competition.”

Sanchez said the recognition that has fallen on the band is overwhelming. He said the notoriety makes them feel good because they love making music.

“That’s always been first for us,” he said. “We pride ourselves on the sound of Nosotros and what we bring to the music scene.”

Sanchez said the band still has to pick which songs they will perform at the banquet on Sunday. He said it’ll be a song that is nominated for an award.

“The good thing is that we only have to do a couple songs,” he said. “We don’t have to stay up on stage and get tired. We can focus all of our energy into those songs and give the audience a couple of good tunes.”

Nosotros will perform at 9:30pm today at El Patio in Mesilla. The awards banquet will be held in Albuquerque on Sunday. - Las Cruces Sun News

"Nosotros reaches out to everyone, everywhere"

The girl behind the counter at Flying Star new them. So did a guy in the parking lot and several others at the Northeast Heights café.

Maybe it was the Nosotros band shirt, with its heart and scroll that tipped them off. Maybe their faces were familiar from the band’s regular Friday night gig at the Hilton Albuquerque or the long-running commercial Nosotros did for the New Mexico Lottery.

Whatever it is, they’re local stars – and they don’t seem to know it. But Shane Derk and Dennis Jasso, both in the band, just smile and invite everybody to their next show.

“A lot of it,” said Derk, “is our legwork. We do a lot of our own publicity and just going out and talking about it.

And it’s worked.

These guys are living the musician’s dream life – and they love it. All six full-time members have quit their day job and only play and teach music.

“We just get paid for setting up,” Jasso said. “The performance is fun.”

Nosotros has carved out a niche for itself playing Fridays at the Albuquerque Hilton and its reputation as a fun salsa band has spread from the party like atmosphere, full of dancing, to Santa Fe and around the state.

The band first played the hotel several years ago to a crowd of about 20, but now 200 plus people pack the bar at the Hilton on most Fridays to hear it.

The band’s music is a mix of rock, jazz and jam, all with Latin beats, and it’s evident on the band’s newest CD “Llena La Alma,” which the band will be releasing tonight at the Hilton.

“The goal was making something we wanted to just listen to,” Jasso said.

Though the band is billed most nights as a salsa group, Nosotros is more than that.

“Everybody just calls it salsa. It’s an eclectic rhythm of flamenco, rock, salsa, and cumbia,” Derk said.

“We have rock, jazz, improv, or we can jam for 20 minutes if we wanted,” Jasso said. “We’re all that close.”

With few exceptions, all of the band’s songs are in Spanish.

“There’s certain things that have to be considered when you make a Latin record,” Jasso said.

It’s not just sounds, it’s beats like the right clave patterns, the right chord progressions, and the right sabor to make people dance.

The band has fun and mixes it up on “Llena La Alma.” The song “Mamacita,” for example, could be a James Brown number, if he’d recruited Ponco Sanchez to be in the band. In others like “Voltee La Taza,” you think of the jungles of South America, with flute and a shaking beat.

Some are reminiscent of mariachi numbers, and others have steady familiar Latin beats.

Since the band began, the two said, it seemed destined for success. As a three-man guitar ensemble in Las Cruces in the ‘90’s, Nosotros attracted a hearty following.

In 2001, it relocated to Albuquerque for a larger audience, and better paying gigs.

“I got tired of doing junky restaurant jobs,” Derk said.

Officially, there are six members in the band but there often are more at the shows when extra guitarists and horn players or percussionists are added.

If you see the band at a wedding or corporate gig, it may be a stripped down Nosotros, or a filled out band, depending on what works.

But now the goal is to take that same local fame and take it to a nationwide audience with the new record.

“The sky’s the limit,” Jasso said.
- Albuquerque Journal - Venue

"Soul of the Southwest"

When Nosotros drummer and backup vocalist Dennis Jasso said the New Mexican salsa/Latin group has “grown leaps and bounds” from their self-titled album in 2004, consider the following.

• The New Mexico Music Industry awarded Nosotros with Album of the Year, Producer of the Year, and Best Traditional Hispanic Song in 2004
• The Weekly Alibi named Nosotros “Best Band in Albuquerque” in 2005
• The New Mexico Music Commission named Nosotros the Artist of the Month in December 2005 and the New Mexico Musicians Fund named bestowed the title “Male Entertainers of the Year” upon the band in early 2006.

“It’s a natural progression and we’ve stepped it up several notches,” said Jasso of Nosotros’ fourth album, “Llena La Alma,” which will be available at the CD-release party Friday at El Patio.

The album incorporates the upbeat, salsa tunes and heartfelt lyrics sung in Spanish that Nosotros fans have come to expect with some new, more modern sounds.

“There’s electric guitar all over the CD,” Jasso said. Evident in the band’s first single, “Hermosa,” guitarist Shane Derk handles the electric guitar like Picasso controls a paintbrush, the end result being a masterpiece. Other standout songs on the album featuring the electric guitar are “No Me Digas” and “Siempre Siguimos.”

Nosotros also features Randy Sanchez on flamenco guitar and Cuban tres, Justin McLauchlin on backup vocal and bass and Chris Trujillo on percussion. David Diaz, who plays flute and saxophone, also take over as lead vocalist after sharing singing duties with Felipe Roybal on the last album.

“When Felipe left, we had to work hard to get back on our feet. We knew our next album was going to have a much different sound, but it’s one that we’re proud of,” Jasso said. “This is our trophy at the end of the road.”

He said the electric guitar first made its way into Nosotros’ repertoire when the band got together to work on “Hermosa.”

“Once we saw what the electric guitar did to that tune, it was a natural progression, for the rest of the song and the rest of the album,” Jasso said.

Nosotros has been incorporating songs from “Llena La Alma” into its sets. At the Carbondale Mountain Fair in late July, the band received a “huge response” from the thousand fans in attendance after its set, Jasso said.

“Llena La Alma” (which translates to “Fill Your Soul”) was mixed by Grammy award-winning engineer Doug Geist. And is the first release from Las Cruces label Graphic Records.

The El Patio show will be the first of six release parties for Nosotros. On Sunday, the band will perform for the second time at the San Jose Jazz Festival in California. That performance will be followed by shows in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Durango, Colo., and Alamosa, Colo.

“The San Jose Jazz Festival is the biggest jazz festival in the world,” Jasso said. “We’re excited about that one.”

Success for Nosotros has been a long time in coming. The group formed in 1994 as a guitar trio. In 2001, the band combined with local jazz trio Quantum to bring a more authentic salsa/Latin feel to the group’s sound.

The band took off after that. Nosotros has played with a variety of world-renowned artists such as the Gipsy Kings, Etta James, Lisa Loeb, Robert Cray, Los Lonely Boys, and Tony Furtado in music festival around the country.

Now, the band has an ideal lineup of members who get along great, according to Jasso.

“This group of people has worked well cause we all grew up in this town,” he said, adding that Trujillo is the only member of the band not from Las Cruces.
- Las Cruces Sun News - Pulse

"Cruces sextet is hungry for more"

It’s easy to see how bands from Albuquerque, and bands in general, can fall into a niche and stay there. Like contented fish swimming in a sea of local talent, they keep their day jobs, practice on weekends and play the bars when they have a free night.

There’s nothing wrong with being a fat happy fish – but that’s not Nosotros. “We don’t have other day jobs, so we feel the sky’s the limit as far as what we can achieve,” says Nosotros drummer Dennis Jasso. “We’re able to dedicate all our time to music and see where it can take us.”

So far, Nosotros’ sonic gifts has resulted in four albums, a laundry list of gigs at every forum from national festivals to private gatherings and a spot on the roster of the Las Cruces – based Graphic Records. The band has also caught the ear of producer Chris Trujillo, who has worked with Tom Petty, and The Black Crowes and is now a percussionist for Nosotros. Grammy-Award-winner Doug Geist engineered their latest record, “Llena La Alma”.

Llena demonstrates the band’s willful expansion into other realms of music besides the traditional Southwestern style that’s been their calling card. “That style is something that’s very influenced by Mexican music and it’s a sound that we all grew up with and love,” Jasso says. “But at the same time, we’re trying to break out of that mold and create more of our own sound. All of us have different influences, from jazz to Led Zeppelin and the Beatles.”

“Hermosa,” the second track on Llena, is a prime example of the band’s efforts to branch out. It has a hip-swaying groove that pulsates with electric guitar energy and, at its climax, launches into a Santana-esque guitar solo that’s part Latin pop and part pure rock’n’roll.

Nosotros is committed to shopping Llena around to major labels and locally, interest in the band has steadily grown.

“We started playing Fridays at the Albuquerque Hilton in front of crowd of 20 or 30 people,” Jasso recalls. “Now, on any given Friday, you can see between 300 and 500 people at a Hilton Nosotros show.” Jasso says this may come as a surprise to the Downtown barflies who don’t venture past Central for their music fix. “I think people who mainly go to the bars may not realize that we appeal to a wide variety of people who are both young and old.”
- The Weekly Alibi


Nosotros XX: 20 Anniversary Compilation (2014)

Ver El Sol EP (2011)

Llena La Alma (2006) 

Nosotros (2004)

Pico (2000)

Palomo (1998)


Afro: Baile Music Compilation 2008

Nasty Cactus Music Compilation 2004

NM Showcase Compilation 2002 


Featured on NPR’s Alt Latino 2012
My 50 TV New Mexico CW 2012
The After After Party with Steven Michael Quezada 2011
Appearance in the feature film "Becoming Eduardo" 2009
New Mexico Southwest Sounds 2007
TV Commercial Featuring Nosotros - NM Powerball Lottery 2005
TV Commercial for Albuquerque Tri-Centennial 2005

TV Commercial featuring Nosotros as "Artist of the Month" by the NM Music Commission December 2005 TV Commercial for the Albuquerque Hilton's New Year's Eve Party featuring Nosotros December 2005


Best Latin Song - 2015 NM Music Awards

Best Hispanic Contemporary Song - 2012 MIC Award

Best Latin Singer - 2012 New Mexico Musician's Fund

Best Guitar - 2012 New Mexico Musician's Fund

Best Drums - 2012 New Mexico Musician's Fund

Best Horns - 2012 New Mexico Musician's Fund

2nd Place - 2011 Telluride Jazz Festival Band Contest

Guitar Duo of The Year - 2011 New Mexico Musician's Fund

Horn Duo of The Year - 2011 New Mexico Musician's Fund

Best of Burque 2010 - The Weekly Alibi's Annual Readers' Poll

Best of Burque 2008 - The Weekly Alibi's Annual Reader's Poll

Artist of the Month - January 2008 Indigenous Internet Chamber of Commerce Best Hispanic 

Contemporary Song - 2007 MIC Awards

Best Arrangement - 2007 MIC Awards

Best Engineer - 2007 MIC Awards

Winner - 2006 John Lennon Songwriting Contest

Semi-Finalist - 2006 International Songwriting Competition

Best of Santa Fe - 2006 Santa Fe Reporter Reader's Poll

Male Entertainers of the Year - 2006 NM Musicians Fund

Artist of the Month - December 2005 NM Music Commission

Best of Burque - 2005 Albuquerque Alibi Reader's Poll

Album of the Year - 2004 MIC Awards

Best Producer - 2004 MIC Awards

Best Traditional Hispanic Song - 2004 MIC Awards

Salsa/Tropical Song of the Year - 2004 NM Hispanic Music Awards



Nosotros seamlessly combines Latin rhythms with elements of Rock, Salsa, Jazz and Cumbia creating an original sound that is unmistakably Nosotros. But M.E. Schenck of Hyperactive Music Magazine may have interpreted their sound best by saying “Nosotros’ music is not to be explained, it is to be felt in the pit of our souls.”

The award-winning ensemble began as a guitar trio in 1994 and was based in the southern New Mexico town of Las Cruces. The band gained an almost immediate following. During this time Nosotros successfully self-produced two albums, “Palomo” and “Pico,” both of which received excellent reviews and sold very well.

By September 2001, Nosotros had grown into a 6-piece band and relocated to the Albuquerque/Santa Fe area, firmly establishing themselves as one of the most popular bands in New Mexico. In February 2002, Nosotros caught the ear of percussionist/producer Chris Trujillo. Trujillo is best known for his work with Tom Petty, The Black Crowes, Rod Stewart, Toto and Diana Ross. In November of 2003, Nosotros released their third album, “Nosotros,” produced by Trujillo. This self-titled album received numerous NM Music Awards including the highly coveted “Album of the Year and ”Producer of the Year” awards, cementing the group’s reputation as a Latin music powerhouse.

The band began broadening it’s audience by taking their show on road. They began touring the Southwest United States playing various venues and music festivals along side some of the biggest names in music.

In 2006, Nosotros released their fourth album, “Llena La Alma” with Grammy award winning engineer Doug Geist and again was recognized by the NM Music Awards with several awards. The song “Hermosa” was also named as a finalist in the prestigious John Lennon Song Writing Competition.

Nosotros contiued to gig, tour and write material and in 2011 released their 5th studio album, a self-produced EP titled “Ver El Sol”. Once again the NM Music Awards recoginzed their effors by giving them an award for the song “Viboras” and the song “Solo Un Dia” was featured on NPR’s Alt Latino.

In 2014, Nosotros celebrated 20 years as a band. To mark the milestone, Nosotros released an anthology CD simply titled. “XX” that featured a new single "Aqui y Alla" which in 2015, won a NM Music Award for "Best Latin Song".

Over the years Nosotros has changed and taken on a life of its own. Through all that has changed one thing remains the same, Nosotros is and always will be felt in the pit of your soul.

Nosotros features Felipe Ruibal (Lead Vocals), Carlos Fontana (Lead Vocals), Shane Derk (Guitar), Randy Sanchez (Tres, Guitar), Manuel Ramirez (Saxophones), David Weeks (Trumpet), Gilbert Uribe (Bass) Ricky Carrido (Congas) and Dennis Jasso. 

Band Members