Saul Rayo & Kitchen of the World
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Saul Rayo & Kitchen of the World

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The best kept secret in music


"Saul Rayo's Music"

I have nothing but respect for Saul Rayos music.
- John Hammond

"Estatic Frenzy"

The Band was nothing short of incredible bringing the crowd to an ecstatic frenzy.

- Richard T. The Beat

"Outstanding Performances"

...after last week's outstanding performances, it's safe to say, that no genre is off limits for Rayo's pipes.
- Carol Feinmann

"Primordial Music"

Working with musicians like Saul Rayo is truly the best - For Saul Rayo music is still primordial, like a child discovering something for the very first time in their life...there's the 'corporate music scene' and then there is the 'Saul Rayo music scene... - Craig Palmer

"Saul Rayo's Vision"

Saul Rayo dreams daily. And not just in Technicolor, but dreams reaching epic proportions.

His latest vision, which is the catalyst behind Friday's and Saturday's Cocina Del Mundo Orchestra gala performances at the Center for the Arts, has been brewing for years. The weekend performances include 23 percussionist, horn and string players of all ages and genres from different groups, including Rayo's own world music band Cocina Del Mundo, along with the classically oriented Music in the Mountains, Twin Cities Concert Association and Apollo Opera Orchestra. Many of the musicians have just met for the first time through this collaboration, which doubles as a benefit for the center.

"This is a first for me, it's a big deal; I've been building up to this since the mid- 1990s," Rayo said last week. "That's why I did the Paul Simon tribute in January. I wanted to make a splash and get people's attention, see if we could do something else."

Rayo did indeed catch the attention of Nevada County audiences last January. The Simon tribute was such a successful benefit - again for the Center for the Arts - that it sold out both nights. A third show was added hours after the first performance, which also sold out entirely through word-of-mouth without any advertising or media coverage.

"I work really, really hard. I don't do anything small or tiny. Most of the time I do gigs, I lose money. It's not about money, it's all about the music. It's a drive I can't help," Rayo said. "It's constantly changing. I never do the same thing twice. I got offered big bucks to do the Paul Simon tribute in Santa Rosa right after the show but I turned it down because I don't want to do it; that's over."

Rayo has happily switched gears with this orchestra, rehearsing new material for the past few months.

"I've always wanted to put together an orchestra because it's an emotionally moving thing. It's a feeling that we're all connected around a song; there's nothing like it," Rayo said.

Rayo's prior orchestras have featured cover songs. This time around, the new community orchestra will play Rayo's originals, which were scored for string by now local composer Craig Palmer.

From the 1970s to 2001, Palmer made his living in San Diego by composing production music or corporate industrial music, a term coined by music historians to describe Palmer's fully symphonic compositions used in television and radio productions (including "Energy" from "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous").

"Saul's music is music of the people, for young and old," Palmer said. "Working with musicians like Saul Rayo is truly the best. For Saul Rayo and people like him, none of the magic of music has been blurred by headiness or corporate influence. For Saul Rayo, music is still primordial, like a child discovering something for the very first time in their life. There is the 'Corporate Music Scene' and then there is the 'Saul Rayo Music Scene.'"

It's been thrilling for Rayo to hear his songs take on added dimensions.

"I sit there and play these songs by myself on guitar," he joked. "I can't stand all these songs bouncing around in my noggin. I can't stand it; I've wanted to hear it in full forever."

So how was hearing his bluesy world beat originals played during the string section's first rehearsal last week?

"That was a crackup. When the violins came in, I looked over at my bass player and we all had misty eyes," Rayo said. "It was so beautiful. The violin, the scores, are pretty amazing stuff. Ken Hardin (Twin Cities Concert Association conductor/artistic director and Music in the Mountains concert chorale conductor) is conducting the rehearsals. To have people of that caliber playing my music and liking it is quite exciting." - Pam Jung


Harrah's Television & Radio Commercial
Saul Rayo: Rhythm and Groove, 2000
Saul Rayo: Talking to the Dead, 2003
Saul Rayo & Cocina Del Mundo: Sauce from the Kitchen, 2005


Feeling a bit camera shy


Nicaraguan singer, songwriter, SAUL RAYO has over thirty years in the music industry writing songs for Warner Music, Nashville and collaborating with Russell Smith of the Amazing Rhythm Aces, Randy Travis, Roger Hodgson (Supertramp), John Hammond Jr., Joan Baez and Utah Phillips.

Rayo has shared the stage with Elvin Bishop, Leon Russell, Miriam Makeba, Steve Kimock, Leo Nocentelli, Particle, Hamsa Lila, John Fogerty, Taj Mahal, Melvin Seals, The Jerry Garcia Band, Fareed Haque Group and others.

Acclaimed for producing and arranging a variety of sell-out performances, Rayo best describes his original style as "Bukra Music" (back porch blues mixed with world beat.) The word "Bukra" literally meaning "of unknown origin" and Rayo definitely carves out a style uniquely his own. With the exception of producing his annual, consistently sold-out Tribute Shows, Rayo delivers 100% original music and more with his secret-sauce recipe ensemble, an eclectic combination of multi-national, multi-cultural and multi-talented musicians, singers and artists which make up his accompanying ensembles.

Rayo performs solo and in varying combinations with his kitchen in 3 piece, 4 piece, 8 piece and 12 piece acoustic, electric and vocal ensembles offering a diverse presence that makes each performance dynamic, fresh & unique.

The saucy Kitchen of the World is a colorful combustion of flavors blending African, Cuban, Latin American, Native American and Tribal music with back porch Blues, Funk, Soul, Folk, and Rock & Roll. The media best describes this serving as deliciously "Caliente!"

"A hard working band -A MUST SEE... Cocina Del Mundo's sound is contagious. They deliver with an invigorating stage presence and hypnotic groove -that consistently lights up our festivals and brings the people to their feet. Thank you Saul Rayo!"
CA MTM FESTIVALS 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006

Saul and the Kitchen has played at the California World Music Festival, the Whole Earth Festival in Davis, the Oregon Country Fair, the Trinity Tribal Stomp, the Monterey Strawberry Festival, the American River Confluence Festival, the California Music That Matters Festival, The Center for the Arts, Sacramento Capitol Marathon, Boulder Creek's Blue Sun, Rancho Nicasio, Constable Jack’s, The Winter Stage and are retained for performances, events, private parties and celebrations around the nation and Central America.