Rebel Rhythm
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Rebel Rhythm


Band Latin Funk


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"Latin-jazz-funk band Rebel Rhythm gracing U of Guelph once more"

Latin-jazz-funk band Rebel Rhythm gracing U of Guelph once more
The Ontarion – March 3, 2011


The swaying Latin vocals and Afro-Cuban percussions take you away to the sandy beaches of Cuba. The jazz infusion of trumpets and piano then place you in a small and dimly lit café in New York City. The funk rhythm bops along to the beat of a nightclub in Toronto.

Put these international sounds together and you have the Latin-jazz-funk influenced band, Rebel Rhythm from Toronto.

As part of the University of Guelph’s ten show series of the Thursday at Noon Concert Series sponsored by the School of Fine Arts and Music and the College of Arts, Rebel Rhythm will be performing this Thursday in the MacKinnon Building.

Rebel Rhythm’s origins began when front man and pianist, Amadeo Ventura and his brother, congo player, Ernesto Ventura, formed their first Latin band over 15 years ago and this was where they met the current members of their band. However, it would not be until 2007 that Rebel Rhythm would be formed.

“We all worked on various projects [when our first band started] and soon we got too busy with these other projects to keep up with that band,” said Ventura. “Then around four years ago I started writing some new compositions and decided to get the musicians that I thought would best fit the sound I was looking for. I started working with my brother and Luisito Orbegoso and that was the birth of Rebel Rhythm.”

Besides Ventura and his brother Ernesto, the band now comprises of Orbegoso on vocals, Mario Del Monte on percussion and Jesse Turton on bass.

Their unique sound contributes to a wealth of irresistible beats and rhythms, making the listener tap their feet and sway their shoulders to the music. One of their songs, Sonrisas, seems to transcend time with its 1970s influenced funk, whereas Antillano creates a jazzy upbeat sound.

“I can honestly say that it is these music styles that chose us and not the other way around,” said Ventura. “Our musical influences are very diverse and I’ve always seen us as a genre-defying band. We grew up listening to soul, funk, rock and jazz just as much as Latin music. Latin, jazz and funk is the best way to describe our sound and these are sounds that come out naturally when performing.”

Ventura also commented that the band members have known each other for so long that little preparation is needed before performing live shows. Instead of relying on copious amounts of rehearsal time, he said, “during a performance we are communicating through music and understand where a band member wants to take a song.”

The band also enjoys collaborations and improvising to create a unique experience. The focus is on ensuring “no two performances are the same” and keeping their music “fresh and enjoyable.”

While the band originally comes from Toronto, Ventura and Turton currently reside in Guelph.

“We have played in Guelph on various occasions and always have a great time,” said Ventura. “I’m actually in the process of having an Afro-funk night at Van Gogh’s Ear on Wednesdays starting March 23. Guelph is a vibrant musical city that needs more accessible venues for musicians, and artists in general, to showcase their talents.”

Nuestra Musica, Rebel Rhythm’s first album, was released over a year ago and can be found on iTunes and Amazon, and select songs are available on their MySpace for listening. The band is working on a new album and Ventura commented that, “the biggest challenge for our latest album has been creating a sound that is cohesive and yet incorporates the styles of music that we love to play.”

- Ontarion

"The Party Starts Late In The Barrio"

The Party Starts Late In The Barrio

DJ eLman, host of the popular CIUT alternative radio program Dos Mundos, has of late been producing or collaborating on the city’s most exciting Latin music parties. On a steamy Thursday night, Supermarket was the scene of such a party. The occasion was the release of Rebel Rhythm’s debut recording Nuestra Musica.
The party started on the political vibe with eLman’s fellow Colombian Ruben “Bennie” Esguerra waxing a lyrical conga/spoken word tip; hard-hitting salvos about corruption and injustice, positivity and hope in their native country over shadowy beats from eLman and El Machetero. Around 10:30 it was looking like a slow night, but gradually the dance floor filled up to a tasty selection of pan-Latin grooves. Rebel Rhythm took the stage right around midnight, and from the first hit it was pure ear candy.

Their music brings together an amazing range of sounds and styles, contrasts and personalities. The foundation is a balance between the accessible, jazz/funk/house piano licks from Salvadorean bandleader Amadeo Ventura; fused with a frenetic mix of classic salsa dura vocals and Afro-Latin chanting from rhythmic genius Luis Orbegoso. Watching the Peruvian-born Orbegoso perform is always incredibly inspiring; this man robbed of sight able to so commandingly and instinctively drive the band from different angles.
It was a simultaneous continuum through the past, present and future of Latin, jazz, funk and house music; with influences from essentials such as Eddie Palmieri, Tower of Power, Sidestepper and Bio Ritmo. Cuban maestro Mario Del Monte, better known in “La Habana Norte” as a percussionist, was clearly savouring getting back to his original passion, the trumpet, with such a funky new crew. Timbalero Ernesto Ventura laid down a crackling clave heartbeat, more of that salsa dura swing vibe in tandem with Orbegoso’s vocals. Bassist Jesse Turton was pure pocket, rounding out the rhythm on the bottom end.
Having seen Grupo Fantasma a week earlier, the Austin-based powerhouse was a natural reference for this thrilling new sound of Rebel Rhythm — that same mix of so many different Latin elements, such incredibly tight and rhythmically propulsive musicianship delivered with the hooky simplicity that makes norteamericano-style funk so much fun. Toronto should consider it fortunate that Rebel Rhythm is our music.

Rebel Rhythm
Amadeo Ventura – leader, keyboards
Luis Orbegoso – vocals, drums, percussion
Ernesto Ventura – congas, timbales and percussion
Jesse Turton – bass
with guests
Mario “Mayito” Del Monte – trumpet
Ruben Esguerra – percussion
Mario Rivas – percussion

- The Live Music Report

"Soul, Funk and World Review - Rebel Rhythm"

Adding to the already growing movement of new and exciting Latin music coming from this side of the border, Guelph-based band Rebel Rhythm make their startling debut with Nuestra Musica. Formed by brothers Amadeo and Ernesto Ventura after finishing with the very popular Mambo Urbano parties that first combined the DJ/live Latin funk vibe in Toronto in the mid- to late ’90s, Rebel Rhythm pick up where they left off, this time inviting powerhouse Latin music player Luis Obregoso to lead on vocals and percussion. Nuestra Musica follows the trail once blazed by the likes of Ray Barreto and Mongo Santamaria with an inspired mix of original material that doesn’t shy away from using modern electronics to create a Latin music project like you’ve never heard before. Tracks like “Sonrisas” bubble with Latin house-inspired funk and “Antillano” is a serious Afro-Latin roots-flavoured track that is strictly for the dancers. Definitely inspired by classic grooves, but grounded on contemporary dance floor aesthetics, this exciting debut album sparks with enough energy to get any party started. Rebel Rhythm stand as a shining testament to the variety and depth of our homegrown talent and Nuestra Musica is surely the tip of what promises to be a very big iceberg. (Firegrooves)
- Exclaim Magazine


There are few better ways to combat a Canadian winter than with some intoxicating Latin grooves, and Guelph’s Rebel Rhythm are the area’s finest practitioners. The ensemble has been honing its sound for the past several years, drawing upon the wealth of experience of its members, many whom have been playing this music their entire lives.

The band’s latest album, Nuestra Musica, is certainly a testament to that, with its seamless blend of traditional and modern styles. Keyboardist Amadeo Ventura is the driving force behind Rebel Rhythm and says that, as the group’s name suggests, their intent has never been to limit themselves musically.

“As long as it’s funky, we’re happy.” Ventura says. “Latin and fink just go hand-in-hand really well. This year was really good for us. Our album was received really well and we played a lot of festivals. It’s gotten to the point where people are calling us now, instead of us constantly hustling. That’s a good feel feeling.”

Realistically, it was only a matter of time before audiences started taking notice of Rebel Rhythm. With Ventura and his percussionist brother Ernesto originally hailing from El Salvador, and other members of the group coming from Peru and Cuba, the calibre of musicianship is high, and the mix of personalities is unique. In fact, as Ventura explains, the origin of the band can be traced back to the music program at Humber College.

“My brother and I formed our first Latin Jazz band about 10 years ago an that’s when we first came into contact with a lot of these guys,” Ventura says. “We’d all work on our own projects after that. Then around two years ago I started writing some new compositions and decided to get the best musicians I knew to play them. Things have gradually built from there until this year when we put our CD out.”

While it’s always hard to gauge the market in Canada for Latin music, it’s clear that all it takes is one taste of Rebel Rhythm to become instantly hooked. Ventura agrees that playing live has been the band’s strength to this point. “There will always be audiences for salsa and funk, but we’ve always seen ourselves as a genre-defying group. So when we play, we can recognize the people who are hesitant at first to get into what we’re doing, but once they get dancing, it always becomes a party.”

The band is up for the challenge of ushering in the New Year, after being asked by the Guelph Jazz Festival to be a part of its celebration, which will also serve as a fundraiser for next year’s event. By then, Ventura hopes the next Rebel Rhythm album, currently in production, will be available.

“We’re going to do a mix of stiff for this show, but mainly we want to keep things as funky as we can,” he says. “I mean, I grew up loving James Brown and Marvin Gaye and reggae, so all of that just seems to come out naturally.”
- Nightlife - Guelph Mercury

"Guelph Jazz festival E-news"

This is a band that always leaves them wanting more - Rebel Rhythm serves up their Afro-Cuban, electronic dance, and instrumental groove music with a spicy side of full-tilt ensemble drumming. It's energetic, fast and fun. Just be sure to bring your dancing shoes for this fiery six-piece band. - Guelph Jazz Festival

"New Latin Funk"

Rebel Rhythm is a new Latin funk band releasing their first disc at Supermarket this Thursday (July 10th). Its no-nonsense production is the best I've heard on any Latin funk disc from Canada in a long while - maybe ever.

by David Dacks -


Nuestra Musica (Our Music) Indie LP
Tracks that receive frequent radio play from this CD are:
Sonrisas, Antillano and The Return of El Watusi

Currently working on second CD titled Vida (Life)
Thanks to the support of the Ontario Arts Council



Burning Latin and Funk beats sizzle as they are embraced by cool Jazz harmonies just as flowing lava does when it meets the ocean. Nothing describes Rebel Rhythm’s music better. This Toronto/Guelph, Canada based band thrives on genre-defying innovation both in the recording studio and on the stage. The band’s performances never fail to erupt into hot percussion jams that lead audiences into sweat-drenched dance frenzies. Jazzy Keyboard harmonies provide relief like a cool breeze while smooth vocals and trumpet lines complete the euphoria.

Rebel Rhythm’s music is an amazing amalgamation of styles, personalities and contrasts. Through their music listeners get to experience the past and future of Latin and funk music. The influences of Eddie Palmieri, Miles Davis, Masters at Work and Tower of Power resonate in a unique and unforgettable manner. ``The foundation is a balance between the accessible, jazz/funk/house piano licks from Salvadorian bandleader Amadeo Ventura; fused with a frenetic mix of classic salsa dura vocals and Afro-Latin chanting from rhythmic genius Luis Orbegoso." (The Live Music Report July 2008). Ernesto Ventura completes the founding trio with his brilliant and soulful conga playing which is deeply rooted in Afro-Cuban traditions that go back in time to Africa. Rebel Rhythm also features regular guests Cuban maestro trumpeter and percussionist Mario Del Monte and Bassist Jesse Turton.