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“I am mixed and it’s a blessing.”
The essence of Mezclado is found in the first words spoken by Grammy winner, José Galeano in his solo debut release while momentarily stepping outside of Grupo Fantasma, where he resides as a percussionist and front man.
This group of songs reflects upon Galeano’s personal and musical journey from his early childhood in Nicaragua, to time spent in San Francisco during the 1970’s with his uncle Chepito (timbale player for Santana) to having the privilege to play with Prince over a few years in this millennium.
“El Gue Gue”, the first song on the album is a simple call to dance and the layered percussion that pulsates throughout the tune reminds the listener just how natural dancing is. In fact, the opportunity to dance is a constant in Mezclado.
Listening to the six songs unfold it is readily apparent that rhythm is most definitely the prime mover as Galeano easily mixes multiple percussive flavors to create an EP filled with exuberance and musicianship.
Another constant throughout Mezclado is a reverent appreciation for the diversity of influences that have brought José to where he is today. The fusion of Afro-Latin-Roots Rock heard throughout the record transcends stylistic borders while acknowledging the historical significance of the rich musical traditions it rests upon.
While “Cafe con Leche” allows the listener to experience rhythms and melodies that were stamped upon José as a young boy in Nicaragua, “Speak Up” was very much written as a reflection of the current times in the U.S.
Perhaps the bridge between these two times and places are “Humo” and “Good Friends” both of which could have as easily been written in the 1970’s as today.
Galeano has found a way to create a unique fusion of musical cultures that is both forward looking and backwards reaching, birthed from the incessant rhythms embedded inside the music.
Mezclado is a personal journey filled with pride but absent of pretense, and a reflection of an artist who has used his gift as a musician to express a strong yet positive message full of gratitude.