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Banda Salvatierra: Asi Es La Vida

Banda Salvatierra: Asi Es La Vida

Release Date:2005

By Dennis Rozanski | Posted 6/15/2005

On paper, at least, the whole banda movement can be neatly summarized as the modern explosion of Mexico’s dirt-old brass band tradition into a craze with enough drawing power to pack stadiums down Mazatlan—and Los Angeles—way. No part of that common categorization could ever prepare you for the synaptic assault that is its reality in the flesh. From note one—make that blast one—Asi Es La Vida makes for quite the sonic experience. For what it’s worth, conjure up the bizarro sound of a Mexican Charles Mingus-shanghaied marching band. That is, Banda Salvatierra is huge, quirky, angular, pumped, and completely unstoppable—just what you’d expect from a small army equipped with trumpets, trombones, tuba, and, apparently, a lot of caffeine.

It’s not as though their vocalist needs any additional firing up, discharging Spanish lyrics straight into a 13-piece wall of sound. Combined, they hit like a heat wave on “Ya No Me Busques Mas,” “Aquel Amor,” and even the title track that rides more of a garden-variety Latin groove. Everyone’s gulping for oxygen while internally making breakaways, running end-arounds, and playing conceptual tug of war with melody parts. Instrumental breaks become chances for doing imitations of a Sherman tank, bullying ahead with kamikaze heads-down thrust. And then there’s that rogue tuba—a genetic marker for banda—stampeding around, spouting out bass blurts, and providing that extra “oomph” factor.

“La Gran Mujer” is the closest thing here approximating a recuperative moment of quiet repose. But, even then, it contains insanely danceable lapses. A siesta is, obviously, not in this band’s vocabulary. In spite of all the kinetic energy that’s wildly surging through here, the party must, ultimately, crash land back down to earth in a steaming heap of adrenaline, sweat, and spent brass. For Banda Salvatierra, that’s just how life is.

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