Los Super Seven
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Peruvian singer Susana Baca is best known for creating beautifully fragile music that reflects the culture and history of her homeland. Baca blends poetry and Peruvian folk songs to weave together a diverse combination of grooves - from African and Indian to Brazilian and Cuban - which are delivered in a soulful voice that invokes comparisons to Cesaria Evora and Celia Cruz. The New York Times wrote, “Although the African-Peruvian tradition may have created Ms. Baca, her cool, distinct voice, as beautiful as any working in pop, has strength to create its own tradition.” Growing up in an impoverished suburb of Lima, Baca was encouraged by her mother and father, a dancer and musician respectively, to pursue a career in music. In school she formed an experimental singing group which led to grants from Peru’s Institute of Modern Art and the National Institute of Peruvian Culture. As Susana Baca gained more exposure, David Byrne signed her to his Luaka Bop label for which she has recorded two albums. Beyond her performance as a singer, dancer, and storyteller, Baca has worked on ambitious side projects that include the foundation of the Instituto Negrocontinuo (Institute of the Black Continuum) in Lima and co-authoring a book with her husband on Afro-Peruvian music and culture, “The Cultural Importance for Black Peruvians”. More recently, Susana Baca has triumphed with 2000’s critically praised release, Eco de Sombras, her most successful album to date. With special guests John Medeski, Tom Waits, Marc Ribot (on guitar) and Greg Cohen (on bass), Baca combines the modern sensibilities of these artists with stories of slave life and the struggles of Peruvian peasants. Baca joins Los Super Seven’s ‘Canto’ to sing vocals on “Drumi Drumi Mobila.”
DAVID HIDALGO & CESAR ROSAS
Founding members of the Grammy Award winning band Los Lobos, David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas also maintain prolific careers working on side projects.
David Hidalgo’s projects include Houndog (duo of Mike Halby, from Canned Heat and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, and Hidalgo), the experimental and avant-garde Latin Playboys (with Lobos’ Louie Perez, producer Mitchell Froom and Tchad Blake) and Los Super Seven. Hidalgo penned two of the three original songs written specifically for this album, “Calle Dieciséis” which is about a man reflecting on his childhoos and “Teresa,” an offering to Saint Teresa.
Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Cesar Rosas is best known for his blues based fiery guitar playing and gritty vocals. Rosas, who was born in Mexico, was instrumental in the completion of the first Los Super Seven record. He contributed lead vocals to the traditional Mexican folk song, “Un Beso Al Viento” which his family would listen to during his childhood. In 1999, Rosas released an original album, Soul Disguise, his debut as a solo artist. For ‘Canto,’ Rosas penned the third original song written specifically for this album, “Campesino” which is about generations of farm workers in Southern California.
Raul Malo has tackled vast musical ground as the lead singer and songwriter for his Grammy™ Award winning group, The Mavericks, and now adds two songs with the group Los Super Seven to his versatile resume. On stage and record, Malo commands the spotlight with his lively personality and a sultry voice reminiscent of Roy Orbison. Malo has been singing and playing instruments since childhood, inspired by artists like Elvis, Frank Sinatra, and Led Zeppelin. The unique fusion of country, rock ‘n’ roll, blues, ballads and Latin/mambo (stemming from Malo’s Miami upbringing and Cuban heritage) in Malo’s music is a testament to the influence of the wide range of sounds that he has experienced. The Maverick’s have been recording together since 1990, have contributed songs to several feature films including Hope Floats and The Horse Whisperer, have been recognized several times with top honors by the Country Music Association and have taken home a Grammy Award in 1995 for Best Country Performance. For Los Super Seven’s ‘Canto,’ Malo lends his distinguished voice to the beautiful ballad and first track “Siboney” and the upbeat “Me Voy Pa’Pueblo.”
RUBEN RAMOS “El Gato Negro”
Ruben Ramos, highly regarded as both performer and bandleader of the critically acclaimed band Ruben and the Texas Revolution, is truly at the forefront of the Tejano music genre. A native of Sugarland, Texas and born into a family musical legacy which began over 80 years ago, Ramos has become a pioneer in the genre known for its traditional Mexican roots infused with the big-band sound of the 1940s and heavily influenced by blues and rock. Nicknamed “El Gato Negro” (The Black Cat), Ramos thrives on the power of live music, eschewing the trend by many bands to substitute synthesizers and keyboards. His performances are also punctuated by sheer presentation. Rather than don the usual Tejano uniform of jeans and starched shirts, Ramos prefers the stylish look of a tailored suit. “People work hard all week. . . If they can spend their money on a great concert, then I can dress for them,” says Ramos. “I owe Tejano fans that respect.” His achievements include being inducted into the Pura Vida Hall of Fame and the Tejano Music Hall of Fame, as well as receiving multiple Tejano Music Awards with his band The Texas Revolution, not to mention earning a Grammy Award for Best Mexican American Performance with Los Super Seven’s self-titled CD at the 1999 Grammy Awards. Ramos’ vocals can be heard on the playful track “Compay Gato” on Los Super Seven’s ‘Canto’.
A reowned studio and live keyboardist, arranger, and percussionist specializing in the Afro-Cuban style, Alberto Salas brings a master’s ability to his work, infusing today’s pop, rock, R&B, hip-hop and jazz with authentic Latin American sounds. His work can be heard on several Grammy award nominated and winning recordings including the multiple Grammy winner ‘Supernatural’ by Carlos Santana, several albums by gospel singer Andrae Crouch, and Alex Acuna’s 2000 Grammy nominated album ‘Acuarela de Tambores’. Salas has also recorded with Strunz & Farrah, Los Lobos, Ozomatli, and with Jackson Browne and Joan Baez on a tribute record to Pete Seeger. His television and film credits include the motion picture Dance with Me, with Chayanne and Vanessa Williams, as well as appearances on the First Annual Latin Grammy Awards with Santana and Mana and The Tonight Show. Alberto Salas lends his talents to Los Super Seven’s ‘Canto’ as principle arranger and keyboardist.
Rick Trevino grew up in Austin,TX in a Mexican-American family. Trevino began playing classical piano at the age of seven, and by the time he was a teenager, during the 80’s, he was playing in bands in Austin. When Rick Trevino arrived in Nashville in 1992, he was a young man who was still trying to define who he was artistically and personally. Trevino was signed by Steve Buckingham at Sony Nashville and, under Buckingham’s guidance, enjoyed an enviable string of chart successes, including six Top Ten hits (three of which were #1) and a gold album. Throughout that five year stretch, Trevino had evolved quite a bit. His earlier hit material reflected his youthfulness, but he was starting to realize that he needed to more fully express the things that made him who he was as an adult. A key element in that evolution was Rick’s realization that he had to come to terms with his Mexican heritage. Beginning in the mid-90’s, Trevino started exploring the roots music of his Mexican culture and began to separate his personal family issues from the richness that his culture had to offer. The turning point happened in 1998, when he got involved with Los Super Seven. It immersed Trevino in roots of his Latin culture and he realized that the distance between great Latin music and country wasn’t that far apart. “At that moment the Super Seven album was recorded, I embraced my Latin heritage and I realized that I wanted to make sure that my Latin heritage was apparent in my music. The more that I get into discovering Latin music, I find that the Mexican style can be incorporated very well with traditional country music,” says Trevino. “It is important for my Latin American heritage to be an essential part of my country music.”
Caetano Veloso’s songs have redefined Brazilian popular music. And Veloso’s novel style of weaving psychedelic rock into Brazilian pop is characterized by brave, audacious, and politically-defiant lyrics and melodies which were unlike anything Brazilians had ever heard at the time. Influenced by North American artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Chuck Berry in addition to the Spanish-American, Caribbean, and African rhythms of the tango, rumba, and bossa nova, Veloso became a pioneer in the tropicalismo movement. He was persecuted for his anti-government sentiments by members of the Brazilian military dictatorship and after having been imprisoned, was forced into exile in 1968 until 1972. In the 80s, he became increasingly celebrated outside of Brazil while touring in Africa, Paris, and Israel. He made his American debut in 1983 for three sold-out shows at the Public Theater in New York. Now in his late fifties, Veloso, often described as the ‘Bob Dylan of Brazil,’ is a true veteran of popular Brazilian songs having recorded 44 solo albums. Veloso won a Best MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira) Album Grammy for Livro, at the Latin Grammy Awards in 2000 in addition to being nominated for Best Album of the Year (Livro) and Producer of the Year for three different albums (Livro, Omaggio A Federico E Giulette, and Jao Gilberto’s Jo ao Voz e Violao). Veloso delivers truly breathtaking performances for Los Super Seven’s ‘Canto’ singing his own ballads “Baby” and “Qualquem Coisa.”
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