14 August 2006

Monday's mp3: Death of a Cowboy

Quetzal - Latin musical groupThe band Quetzal can be a little elusive if you're looking on the Web. They've got a name that's shared by a number of other organizations, including ones involved in music, and their website (quetzalmusic.org) seems to be dormant. But don't let that dissuade you from finding out more about them.

At the heart of Quetzal are Martha Gonzales (vocals) and Quetzal Flores (bajo sexto, cuatro, jarana). Their previous album, Worksongs, was produced by Steve Berlin.

One reviewer labeled Quetzal a "Chicano rock group." Others describe them as a "risk-taking Mexican-American band" or "Latin American pop for the serious listener" or "the heirs of Los Lobos." You may be getting the idea that eclectic is a word that would describe this band. Eclectic and relevant, as their songs (in both English and Spanish) are inevitably about the real world around them. Not as hard-driving as Ozomatli, or as folky as Lila Downs, they'll nonetheless appeal to fans of those groups. And fans of other Latin rock/folk/alternative bands.

If you're wondering about the album's title, here's the skinny from Flores.


I'm looking at 514 years of cross-colonialization, and I'm looking at the word cowboy as that process. One could blatantly interpret that as 'Oh, that's about George Bush.' But it has so many definitions: war-mongering, greed, lack of education. The list keeps going on and on.

I'm eager to hear the full album and I'll let you know when it's available, probably with a review in this space. In the meantime, the band has graciously provided this advance track to SoundRoots. Enjoy.

[mp3] Quetzal: "Migra"
from the forthcoming album Die Cowboy Die
Other Quetzal albums: Sing the Real | Worksongs
Read an interview with Gonzales & Flores
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