New Video by Uruguayan Band “Ovejas Eléctricas”: “Ser Astronauta Hoy”

ovejas electricas pueblo de fantasmas

A band defying the tradition which dictates that groups with the word “electric” in their names shall perish when they’re young (see “Electric Flag” for a good example), “Ovejas Eléctricas” [Electric Sheep] up the ante with the release of a new promotional video.

It revolves around the song “Ser Astronauta Hoy” [To Be A Spaceman Today], and it has been extracted from their album “Pueblo de Fantasmas” [Ghost Town], which you can download for free on their own site.

A Spanish-language album which sounds noticeably English, “Pueblo de Fantasmas” is made up of ten songs – the CD was actually started as an EP that got expanded along the way, becoming a full work on its own right. At least half the numbers are A-side quality – the physical opener “Larga Distancia” [Long Distance] with its clinging guitars and defeatist lyrics that still speak of fulfillment, the broody, Radiohead-esque “Un Pie En La Tierra” [One Foot In The Earth], “Entre Máquinas” [Between Machines] with vocals and melodies that soar as much as the lyrics demand… My personal favorite is “El Sol y Otras Mentiras” [The Sun and Other Lies], mainly on strength of the lyrics, which recapitulate the one conversation I had with the band in person not so long ago, and their stance as regards the contemporary music scene. And the seesawing fade (from minute 3:50 onwards) is also a good example of the attention they pay to detail when crafting their songs.

ovejas electricas uruguay Continue reading

“My Place” by Contraste (Video)

Tapa Contraste

Uruguayan punk rockers Contraste have just released their first official music video. It’s set to the music of “My Place”, their new promotional cut.

Contraste is made up of Bruno Espino (Vocals), Adrián Fontaiña (guitars), Koki (bass) and Germán Bonet (drums). A slightly different lineup of the band had released an eponymous demo on 2010 (free download), and “My Place” signals a change of pace, as it’s only suitable – the song is entirely in English. Continue reading

An Interview with SJ FEMALE: the Uruguayan Super Junior Cover Group

Last week I had the chance to interview Angela and Melisa, two young sisters from the City of Carmelo that created SJ FEMALE – a group that covers songs by their favorite K-Pop outfit, Super Junior. As you know, I’m, a big fan of manga and anime, so it was easy for me to sympathize with what they were doing – essaying such a genre in a country like Uruguay (where you really can’t look or act differently) is a bold move. And it can also be highly frustrating. Yet, their answers were so full of optimism and hope that I was moved beyond belief when the interview came to an end.

sj female

Who created SJ FEMALE?

SJ FEMALE was founded by Angela Cuello (group leader, artistic name “Lee Kutaka Tiaoca”) and Melisa Cuello (artistic name Rinku).

Where did the idea to make this group come from? Who are your idols, and the people you look up to?

The idea to make this group came from a dream.
Our leader (Angela Cuello) had a fondness for singing, from a very early age. She loved K-Pop, and she was also keen on dancing. On a summer’s day, she set down on paper the idea she had for a group; she wanted to create a cover group of her favorite band, SUPER JUNIOR. She always knew she would not be getting a monetary gain from this. So, she focused on the dream of realizing musical talent while defending interculture and fighting discrimination, she created an international cover group. She gathered girls from all over the world, and chose the voices that could convey the intended message.

Originally, the group was named “RSSSJFO” (Really Summer Song SJ FEMALE Project), and she added her older sister (Melisa Cuello) to the project.  She also invited other friends of her that had a fondness for that music and culture. Angela gathered the singers, classified them, and arranged everything in a way that ensured there was a singer for each member of the original group (SJ).

The group recorded many covers, and when we learned that Super Junior was coming to Argentina on the 23rd of April, we shot a video that was seen all around the world. It came with an English translation, and it revolved around their loved for the band, and how much they lamented not having the money to see their idols perform live.
It was highly frustrating, not being able to go to Buenos Aires when living so close (in Carmelo). Yet, we shed tears of emotion when seeing our idols on TV. It was a short interview, but it was great seeing some recognition come their way in such a foreign territory.

When the summer ended, the group changed shape.  The line-up changed, and so did the name – it became just “SJFEMALE”. The new named signaled that we were moving forward, and went from being just a “project” to an official covers group.

Originally, we recorded on a PC, with nothing but a standard mike that really saturated the sound. Eventually, we struck a deal with a recording studio, and had access to its facilities in exchange for some mentions on our own radio show (see below).

Our idols are Super Junior. They are a K-Pop band, they come from South Korea, and on the whole there are 15 members (including the ones from the Chinese unit). They are Leeteuk (the leader, currently serving conscription), Kangin, Eunhyuk, Kibum (who is into acting), Ryeowook, Siwon, Sungmin, HeeChul (who rejoined the group after serving conscription), Kyuhyun, Hangeng (who’s no longer in the band, but we want to mention him) and Shindong.
SJ was started on the 6th of November, 2005. The band originally had just 12 members, and their first single was entitled “Twins”. Their first line-up included 11 guys from Korea, and 1 member from China. Continue reading

Biafran Lion to Release his New Album, “The Return of the Lion”

biafran lion 1

Born in Las Vegas, Biafran Lion is a reggae/hip-hop musician who currently resides in Uruguay. His history with the music of our country goes a long way back, actually, as he first visited Uruguay in the early 90s, and he lent his musicianship to bands such as La Abuela Coca and Kongo Bongo.

He has released more than half a dozen albums, and his next record is coming in November. It’s titled “The Return of The Lion”, and it’s an album that’s meant to enliven the summer up, while also carrying the social commentary that characterizes his best music.

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You can listen to Biafran Lion’s music on his Soundcloud profile, and these two are the cuts I keep coming back to:

An Interview With MiXTi FORi

mixti fori

(This interview was originally posted in Spanish on No Quiero Ser Normal. To read  the original post, follow this link)

Who are the members of MiXTi FORi? And how long have you been playing together?

MiXTi FORi was started in the year 2000 by Marcos Da Silva (guitars, vocals) and its ranks have shifted a lot until arriving at its current lineup:, with Diego Nacimiento (drums and vocals) and Julio Montero (bass and backing vocals).
The band has released many EPs independently, it has been featured on several local and international compilations and it has also issued a LP titled “Incapaz de Amplificarse” in the year 2011, both online and as a physical CD. Continue reading

“Extrañándote” by Nadia Costa (Live at the Sala Zitarrosa)

nadia costa sala zitarrosa

Nadia Costa was one of the two artists that performed at the Sala Zitarrosa when I presented my newest book, “Ayer La Lluvia” [Yesterday The Rain].

The book is made up of short stories and a novella that deal with different types of love. So, her music was a perfect match for such a title – all of her compositions are nothing but studies on the vagaries of love and affection.

She opened up the show that night and had her live debut as a solo artist on the prized Sala Zitarrosa, a venue reserved for the highest-ranking of performers only.

This is an excerpt from her live performance. The song is titled “Extrañándote” [Missing You], and it’s one of the compositions of hers that cut the deepest. For me, it works in parallel with “Lejos De Ti” [Far Away From You], a scorching ballad that is highly-likely to be her next single.

The clip was shot by Habemus, a new audiovisual team. The music itself was recorded live by producer/composer Nelson “Cable” Silvera, and our great friend Joaquín Vinci lent us a hand, and gave the sound a little more sheen overall.

“Mirame” by Nicolás Sánchez (Music Video)

nicolas sanchez cooltivarte

After fronting a rock & roll band called Suburbio for more than 6 years, Uruguayan musician Nicolás Sánchez decided to go solo last year. When he asked me for a review to promote his first single (“Lejos”) [Far Away], little did I know he was actually going to be performing the day I released my first book of prose, “Ayer La Lluvia” [Yesterday The Rain].

“Mirame” [Look At Me] is a song included on his first solo album, “Temporales” ¨[Storms] – an album you can download for free here.

mirame nicolas sanchez

The song is very important to me, if only because it came to define my feelings in the aftermath of writing the book – a time in which lots of people started coming and going from my life.

We shot this clip in order to open up the main event for “Ayer La Lluvia”, held on the 24th of July at the Sala Zitarrosa (one of the most revered venues in Uruguay).
That night, both Nicolás Sánchez and pop musician Nadia Costa played full sets. Their songs actually embody aspects of the book in close detail, so they ended up reenacting the story of “Ayer La Lluvia” onstage in an amazingly accurate way.

The clip itself was directed by Agustín Fagetti Methol, and edited by Félix Pérez. Model Angela Tassano and Nicolás Sánchez himself did the acting. And the female voice you can hear throughout is that of Uruguayan singer-songwriter Laura Chinelli.

“Limbo” by Majorette (Music Video)

majorette banda uruguay

This is the first video clip by Majorette, an ascending band from the city of San José.
The song is titled “Limbo”, and you can find it on their first EP, an eponymous work that can be freely donwloaded here.
The members of Majorette are Martín Curbelo (vocalas and bass), Mathías Briccola (guitar), Andréz Pérez (piano, sequencers and backing vocals) and Ismael Geribón (drums).

The video for “Limbo” was directed by Elisa Barbosa, and edited by Ismael Geribón. It was shot on Capurro (San José).

I’ll do my best to review the band’s EP soon. I have had it for a long time already, and every song has been clearly labored at with patience and a lot of dedication. If “Limbo” sounds like your cup of tea, then you can’t go wrong with the remaining songs on offer. Get their EP here at zero cost, or tune into their soundcloud profile.

majorette EP

An Interview With Bananas, a Young Uruguayan Band

NoQuieroSerNormal is a superb new blog where you can read about up-and-coming Uruguayan artists. It’s run by Gabriel Skrilec. And from now on, you’ll be able to read the interviews posted there on MusicKO, duly translated into English. The first one I’m translating is the one Gabriel conducted with Bananas, a band that has recently come together. Click here to read the original post (in Spanish).


bananas uruguay
Who are the members of “Bananas”, and how long have you been around?

Bananas are Rodrigo Curbelo on guitar and vocals, Pablo Martín on bass and backing vocals, Nicolás Bello on drums, and Rodrigo Hurtado on synths and keyboards. The band was formally started on late September/early October 2012, although a previous line-up did exist (Rodrigo Hurtado was not involved back then).


Continue reading

Los Oxford (Uruguayan Independent Artist)

Los Oxford

A band whose members have really interesting musical backgrounds, Los Oxford grouped together in 2003. I became aware of their existence a long time ago, as one of their members got in touch with me and requested a review when I wrote about another Uruguayan band, Soundays.  And I have always meant to write about them.
And now, the moment has come like sudden rain. Some things are just meant to be…
I have always meant to marry Colbie Caillat, for example. But that’s yet to materialize.
I mean, I know it’s within my reach. It’s meant to be. Just the other day I came across this pearl of wisdom on Facebook, and it renewed all these hopes which were starting to falter:


And if you need any more proof… Elvis Costello married Diana Krall!!! What else is there to say? C’mon!

Elvis Costello Diana Krall

OK, that’s the inanity out of the way for today…

The story of Los Oxfords goes a bit like this:

The band was started in 2003, in Montevideo (Uruguay). Continue reading