Oral Fuentes
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Oral Fuentes

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada | AFM

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada | AFM
Band World Reggae


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Saskatchewan Jazz Festival"

Saturday: Getting down to the roots

"Oral Fuentes is a larger funk/reggae collaboration that, unlike Friday's shows,is heavy on fresh material and interactive jams. It's one of the few times all week I see a decent number of people dancing and the only performance I witness that gets calls for an encore."
by Mark Sabbatini
posted July 12/2005 - All About Jazz

"Oral Fixation"

" People have a hard time staying in their seats at an Oral Fuentes Band concert. When I first saw the band, their set started out slow and mellow. Then, slowly the band started to pick up the tempo: the bass got a little quicker and the horns a little brassier. The audience was no longer content to just sit and sway in their chairs. Suddenly, the soft, warm lights at McNally Robinson's Prairie Ink cafe blurred into a sunset and the large plastic shrub in the middle of the room slowly grew into a palm tree. The sounds of the Caribbean surrounded the audience. It was about this point that people started to get up from their tables to go dance in a small area in front of the band....."
by Jeremy Warren
June 9/2005
- Planet S Magazine

"Long Day's Night Music Festival"

Oral Fuentes Reggae Band provided some entertaining Belizean Reggae music on Saturday night, getting the audience out of their seats and onto the dance floor.
"I've been to a lot of their shows, and they played one of the best shows that I've ever seen," added Jay Adolf, who was at the festival selling hair wraps and handmade jewelry. "They filled the dance floor, and cleared tables."
"There was an overwhelming response to the music on Saturday night. The dance floor was just packed," said Shaun Gowan of Blenders Entertainment; "we had a record crowd. It was a very successful evening."
by Jessi Gowan
June 24/2006 - Swift Current Press

"Cultural roots run deep"

Cultural roots run deep
Oral Fuentes band deliver funky reggae

Jeanette Stewart
The StarPhoenix

Thursday, June 28, 2007

- - -

Oral Fuentes and his reggae band occupy a lonely vista in Saskatoon's cold northern rock scene.

After several years together, Fuentes and his band have created their first full-length album to capture this unique reggae sound -- an anomaly in a city thriving with blues and rock groups.

The album showcases Fuentes' "funky reggae," a term coined when a magazine writer from the U.S. tried to categorize his music but couldn't. The name stuck, and Fuentes now uses it to describe his sound, a blend of reggae, Caribbean and Latin beats and Brukdown, a style brought from Fuentes' native Belize.

Those cultural roots spread through his music. It's impossible to deny the catchy, sunny feeling of a sound that dares you to try not to dance. This energy and excitement is part of what Fuentes has tried to capture with the album.

"Whatever instrument you play . . . you have to have fun," he said. "If you stop having fun, then you have to pack your bags."

The bags certainly aren't packed, although it's been a long process to put the CD together. More than a year ago Fuentes was approached by Ross Nykiforuk to see if he wanted to make an album. Nykiforuk, who made his musical imprint as a member of the Northern Pikes, recorded the album at his Cosmic Pad Studios.

The fact that Nykiforuk -- a rock musician -- produced the album speaks about the collaboration that happens in Saskatoon.

Several of the Oral Fuentes band members came to the band with experience playing other styles of music. Bass player Andrew Miller is a heavy rocker and trombone player Mike Kereiff comes from a jazz fusion background.

"We just work with each other, and they take their talent and try to compliment it with the Caribbean talent," Fuentes said.

The Oral Fuentes reggae band plays Latin-Caribbean parties several times a year for hundreds of guests.

Community and cultural connections are important for Fuentes, who arrived in Saskatoon in 1992 after completing performance arts school in Ontario. He came for a girl and although she left, he stayed. He's married now and has travelled all over the world, but always comes back to Saskatoon.

"It's very similar to Belize here when it's warm," he said during a sunny morning interview outside the Broadway Roastery. Fuentes, dressed in a crisp white shirt with beaded necklaces and dark shades, greets many of the passersby by name.

Fuentes says he believes strongly in spreading both the culture of his own upbringing and supporting the one that exists in the city.

"There's a Saskatoon culture, there's a Saskatoon music scene and it's great," he said. "Some of the most talented people I've seen are right here. I don't know if it's the water, I don't know. It's amazing."

One thing Fuentes has been conscious about in creating his album is staying relevant to a local audience. Although he has enough material left over to record another three albums, he's made choices to not sing in the Creole language of his home country and to record songs a more mainstream audience would understand. Though he's produced the CD with this relevancy in mind, it still feels like a vacation to somewhere warm and sunny.

Lyrically, Fuentes tries to balance having fun with putting out a message. His songs range in subject matter from being a "one woman loving man," to poverty to telling historical stories about his home country.

The spiritual base of old reggae also provided an inspiration for much of the music. "These songs are about life and love and friendship," he said. "We need good healthy music."

The upcoming Jazz Festival performance will feature Fuentes' original songs as well as a number of local African, Caribbean and Latin dance troups. Local DJ Juan Valdez will also spin between sets.

© The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2007 - The StarPhoenix


New CD available now: Oral Culture
Buy locally in Saskatoon at CDPlus- (Midtown Plaza and Circle & 8th Mall)
Also at Vinyl Exchange on 2nd Avenue Downtown

Buy Online at CDbaby.com
AudioLunchbox and much more....




Oral Experience:

The SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival is always fun and well attended whenever Oral and the boys perform and get everyone moving to a mixture of world music and reggae. On one of these occasions a writer for “All About Jazz” Mark Sabbatini wrote:

"Oral Fuentes is a larger funk/reggae collaboration that, unlike Friday's shows, is heavy on fresh material and interactive jams. It's one of the few times all week I see a decent number of people dancing and the only performance I witness that gets calls for an encore."

It all started in the late ‘80s in his home country of Belize. Oral was involved with a multicultural band 'Caribbean Jam', playing for many local and countrywide events. ‘Caribbean Jam’ was instrumental in changing the face of gospel music in Belize by adding their own Belizean cultural songs and rhythm. For this unique sound Oral and the Band were awarded the “Best Roots Cultural Band”.

Oral Fuentes was influenced at an early age by Belizean musician Lord Rhaburn (member of Reggae Hall of fame), and later on by Pen Cayetano, the father of Punta Rock. Hearing Pen Cayetano’s Turtle Shell Band in the ‘80s in Dangriga -the home of the Garinagu Punta Rock, a worldwide sensation- Oral went on to write “Me Rock” and “A-Miche, Miche-nary”. Both of these songs and others have since been recorded by various artists and sang in churches and youth-camps throughout the world. Since then Oral has traveled intensively to Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Surinam, Guyana, USA, and the Caribbean.

Commencing his studies at the Academy of Performing Arts in Cambridge, Ontario in 1989, Oral traveled and wrote songs with 'The Warriors' rock band and 'Soul'd Out' a soul/blues band, both from the Academy. Their route took them many times to perform in New York and Nashville. Since moving to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1992, Oral teams up with musicians from Saskatoon, playing from the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival, Calgary International Reggae Festival, Southern Saskatchewan Solstice Festival, Regina Folk Festival, Ness Creek Music Festival, and many other festivals and cultural events. Oral has opened for Maceo Parker ( James Brown Band), Divine Brown, Ivana Santilli, Jason Wilson, African Guitar Summit, and Caraballo from Winnipeg, to name a few.

Oral first album “Oral Culture”, captures that sunny feeling that we all need.  It shares a thread of peace and love throughout the album. His video “ Whey Natty Dey” has also hit number one for over two weeks in Belize in late 2008, on Plus Television. 

Oral next album "Rise Up" is finish already, but will be release in the summer of next year. The album is a mixture of  Reggae and Oral's Caribbean Blend. 

Oral Fuentes musical styles include Reggae, Soca, Punta-Rock and Brukdown (both musical styles from Belize) with other Caribbean and Latin Rhythms. Oral writes and performs all original material.

Oral is excited to share at your event and to leave you with a cultural experience you will never forget.