Ya Está
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Ya Está

Band Latin World

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Jun
20
Ya Está @ Camaradas

New York, New York, USA

New York, New York, USA

May
09
Ya Está @ Camaradas, el Barrio

New York, New York, USA

New York, New York, USA

Apr
18
Ya Está @ DROM

New York, New York, USA

New York, New York, USA

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Music

Press


"...imagine Jimi Hendrix jamming with the Buena Vista Social Club" - Ed Morales


"...infectious percussive assaults...that thump to a downtown funk undercurrent" - Enrique Lavin


"Vargas offers a homegrown version of Latin Alternatuive Music: Cuban son goes up against funk, soul and Bebop" - K. Leander Williams


“(Ya Está) ... supply enough funk & fire to set their sound apart” - Michelle Herrera-Mulligan


BRYAN VARGAS & YA ESTA! present the exotica of their AFRO LATINO SOUL (Mofongo 102) on a varied program (United/ Obatala/ No Me Llores/ Guerreros Africanos/ La Communidad/ As Warm As the Sun/ Vamanos Pal Monte/ Lagrimas Negras/ El Sonido. 57:41) that moves from hot to cool to simmering and back again. Like King Sunny Ade with his African Beats, Vargas conducts the band with his guitar, giving the tunes a lean ferocity that cuts through the gentlest moods (“As Warm As the Sun”) as well as the most blazing, even whipping out the wah-wah pedal for “Guerreros Africanos.” Matt Hilgenberg provides a second lead voice with his excellent trumpet work, and the percussionists come through with some beautifully-imagined parts, especially on “Obatala.” Latin music fans should approach with welcome arms, and the curious (e.g., Santana fans who go for the more“authentic” stuff) may invest wisely. - Larry Nai - Afro Latino Soul Review


Bryan Vargas & ¡ya Está!
Afro Latino Soul
CD (Mofongo Music 102), Released 2004;
Editor's Pick:
Nice little New York record, featuring Vargas on guitar, and produced by Arturo O'Farrill. Vargas is a montunero, and on all the tracks, from "Vamonos Pal Monte" to "No Me Llores," his groove drives the band. Matt Hilgenberg on trumpet is a find; he's an articulate, precise soloist who knows his way around the Cuban trumpet language. The project has something in common with Ribot's Postizo Cubanos, a New York feel, a little wildness in the grooves, but it seems more literate also. Recommended. (Peter Watrous, 2004-08-11)
- Editor's Pick


Bryan Vargas &  Ya Esta  -- Afro Latino Soul   Mofongo Music, 2004

A real cooker of a Latin set from this up and coming New York combo -- a heck of a group, with a sound that reminds us of our favorite Latin albums of the 60s and 70s! The group's fronted by guitarist Bryan Vargas, and features a highly percussive lineup that includes some great work on congas, clave, chekere, and bongo -- alongside additional trumpet work from Matt Hilgenberg, and some rolling basslines that really propel the tunes nicely! Overall, the approach is quite similar to the "new traditional" mode used by some of the New York groups in the mid 70s -- especially those of the early Mericana/Salsoul crowd -- and the classic sound of the album is made even more so by some great production from Arturo O'Farrill! Titles include "United", "Obatala", "No Me Llores", "Guerreros Africanos", "Vamanos Pal Monte", and "El Sonido". - Afro Latino Soul Review


Top 10 World Music 2004 - WBEZ Chicago, IL

Top 10 World Music 2004 - WNYU New York, NY

Top 10 World Music 2004 - WFMU Jersey City, NJ

Top 10 Latin Jazz 2004 - WGMC Rochester, NY

Finalist - Best Latin CD - Independent Music Awards 2004 - various radio stations


Sonidos Latinos

With all the talk about the varieties of salsa playing and dancing, the continual encroachment of reggaetón, bachata and a streamlined version of norteño cumbia hitting out West, it's hard to say what time it is for Latin music these days.

But if you believe great music begins at the popular level, then you should listen to Bryan Vargas & Ya Está, a local Latin groove collective that thinks it's time for "Afro-Latino Soul Music." That’s the title of the group's spanking-new album, whose Blue Note-inspired cover suggests that a little history lesson is needed to create the future of Latin music.

When BV&YE playa place like S.O.B.'s (212-243-4940), where they're holding a record-release party Monday night, you can sense right away that this is a new Latin thing. First of all, there's composer-leader Vargas on guitar, and the last time you've seen anything like a mambo guitar hero outside of Santana was in some grainy, lost '50s footage of Arsenio Rodríguez.

BV&YE feature a guitar-driven, guaracha, mambo, R&B-ish Eddie Palmieri and a bolero-like "Lágrimas Negras." But when they launch into the Fela-inspired Afro-beat grooves of "Guerreros Africanos," you realize they have roots in many recent New York musical moments. That's because various members have played with Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, José Alberto, bomba revivalists Viento de Agua and Yerbabuena, and Latin alternative pioneers King Chango.

"Ya Está is not a band that formed overnight. Rather, it's a collective of individuals who gravitated toward each other due to common musical passions," said Vargas. "We're big oh Fania-era salsa and Ray Barretto-acid-era boogaloo, Mongo Santamaria circa '71. We're trying to reach back to a time before the pop element seeped in and the music was real funky and real gritty, when the groove was still king."

Like the bands of that era, BV&YE work songs primarily in a descarga, or extended. jam, formula. Their debut album is basically a recorded version of one of their shows.

Their three-years-plus of gigging in New York clubs and the college circuit has resulted in a strong rhythm section" of Ernesto Abreu and Jorge Vásquez on percussion, Matt Baranello on drums and Toshi Someya on bass.

All that clave-busting energy allows Vargas and trumpeter Matt Hilgenberg to 'soar on their funk and jazz-inspired solos. Vargas' mesmerizing wah-wah work, particularly his solo on "Vamanos Pal Monte" is an unexpected delight, adding a fresh sound without devolving into imitation Santana.

"It's not rock with a Latin flavor, but rather a newer kind of Latin music," Vargas said. "What I'm trying to do is to take elements that aren't as associated with Afro-Cuban music, and incorporate them into my guitar -playing."So you may hear elements from R&B, alternative rock, and even country music. My all-time favorite player is probably Curtis Mayfield, who could play his butt off but really was all about complementing the song, using the guitar as a way to deepen its message.” - NY Newsday - Ed Morales


Discography

Ya Está - Afro Latino Soul, 2004
Ya Está - Live Bootleg, 2001
Muevete Compilation 2002
Teatro Sí Compilation 2003

Photos

Bio

For the past three years, Bryan Vargas & Ya Está have been at the forefront of modern music in New York City. Hitting you hard like a hurricane, they invoke the spirits with the rumble of drums and the screams of electric guitars. Playing what 27 year old bandleader Bryan Vargas describes as "Afro Latino Soul Music,” you can forget the pop stars, this is the REAL latin music revolution.

Born in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn (and a current Fort Greene resident) Vargas had led a life in music, despite his relative youth. Playing guitar since age 12, Vargas soaked up the sounds of the city. A regular attendee of outdoor concerts, and a rabid CD collector, exposure to multiple music styles formed a unique world view. “I started to see different styles as different sides of the same coin. Jazz, Soul, Salsa, Hip-Hop, Afrobeat, it’s all music of the African Diaspora,” Vargas explains. “As I began my professional career, all of this music played a part in the discovery of my own sound.” After graduating from NYU in 1997, Vargas naturally gravitated towards the Latin rhythms of his Puerto Rican ancestry. “It’s not just what I like, it’s who I am. Anyone can dig a sound or a rhythm. It’s another thing for it to be a natural part of you.”

Often compared to the ferocious party music of Ozomatli, Ya Está is known more as a live band than anything else. Turning smoky clubs into dancehalls, their exhilarating performances are required listening for New York’s diehard live music fans. Audience participation is a requirement at their concerts. Even the most stoic listener will find themselves singing, clapping and most certainly dancing to Ya Está’s polyrhythmic stew. They are the musical heirs to the legacy of greats like Mongo Santamaria, Willie Bobo & the Fania All-Stars. They are the stateside counterparts to Latin American textural experimenters like Café Tacuba & Caetano Veloso. Imagine Jimi Hendrix jamming with the Buena Vista Social Club, and you may start to get the idea.

Since their inception, Ya Está have been invited to perform at some of the most important stages, festivals & events in the NYC area. Celebrate Brooklyn, CMJ Music Marathon, the Texaco New York Jazz Festival, AIDS Walk 2002 & Newark Symphony Hall are just some of the venues that have called upon Ya Está to bring their unique sound and vibe into the mix. New York’s hippest clubs like SOBs, Tonic & The Knitting Factory feature the band on a regular basis, often asking them to be the opening act for superstar touring acts. The band has shared the stage with salsa legends Oscar D’Leon & Johnny Pacheco, Cuban masters like Vocal Sampling & Juan Carlos Formell, jazz greats like Leon Parker & Jane Bunnett, and local NYC stars like Antibalas, Topaz, and The Screaming Headless Torsos. "We’re like rice & beans,” Vargas jokes, “we go well with anything.”

The band has also developed a nice following doing local the college circuit.Vassar College, Seton Hall, Drew, Columbia & NYU are just some of the schools that regularly invite the band to play, sometimes year after year.

Vargas & co. recently hit the studio with legendary Latin jazz pianist Arturo O’Farrill. Son of the great mambo arranger Chico O’Farrill, Arturo has recently been named the head of Lincoln Center’s new Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra. O’Farrill took time off from Lincoln Center (and his own busy career) to produce this project for Ya Está.“Arturo had just built a studio in the basement of his Brooklyn home. He was itching to test it out on someone, so he offered to produce our record,” Vargas explains. “I’ve known Artie since college. He was an old teacher of mine, and we’ve remained friends since. This was a perfect match for us.”

The end result is “Afro Latino Soul,” Ya Está’s debut studio release. A stunning listen, the CD takes the listener on a sonic journey through the past, present & future of Latin music. Beginning with “United,” an upbeat descarga anthem, and quickly seguing into the reverential “Obatalá” the
rhythmic assault hardly lets up. The funky “Guerreros Africanos” makes you want to shimmy, while the Nuyorican standard “Vamanos Pal Monte” mambos its way out of the stereo.The band is joined on this CD by 2 special guests, first O’Farrill himself steps out from behind the mixing board to join the band on piano for Arsenio Rodriguez’“No Me Llores.” Then guest vocalist Sandra García Rivera joins them to sing coro on “Lágrimas Negras.” The disc ends with the band’s theme song “El Sonido (de Ya Está)” wildly summing up the proceedings.

In addition to Vargas’ fiery guitar and soulful vocals, the band’s lineup features some of the best young musicians hitting the New York scene right now. Featuring: Bostonian Matt Hilgenberg on trumpet and vocals; Cuban-Dominican Ernesto Abreu on congas, percussion & vocals; Japanese Toshi Someya on bass; Boricua percussionist Jorge “Georgie” Vázquez on bongó, campana & vocals; and Italian-American Matt Baranello on the drum