From playing on buses around Tijuana to winning Rockampeonato in 2012, Cañamo has evolved. They have opened for international acts such as Café Tacvba, Don McCarlos, Los Cafres, and Cultura Profetica. Together for more than ten years, Cañamo is the most recognized reggae band in Tijuana, but they have yet to record a CD with decent production. Cañamo has two demo CDs and an EP from 2011 with no major label backing; their legacy does not match their popularity.
Osvaldo and Elias tells the Reader about playing songs by Bob Marley, Manu Chao, Antidoping, and more while riding the bus. “We used to make decent money in a couple hours, we could make over 500 pesos in a short period of time in a good day. The goal was always to start the reggae band,” says Osvaldo who moved to Tijuana from Oaxaca when he was 20. He met Elias in college and little by little started to form the band. That’s how Cañamo started back in 2003, the same year that Osvaldo dreaded his hair. Today, those dreads almost reach the ground.
Cañamo plays traditional reggae, nothing too progressive/alternative added to the mix. Island vibes, improvisation, a touch of ska, and a frontman who knows how to reel in the crowd.
Despite the relaxed environment Cañamo projects, it hasn’t been smooth sailing for the band as they endure ever-changing lineups. Osvaldo as a lead guitarist/singer, Elias on bass, and Lalo on the accordion are the groups only constants. The brass and rhythm sections come and go.
But with more than 8000 Facebook likes and over 80,000 views of their Youtube video “Zona Norte” — a song that everyone in Tijuana relates to — Cañamo says they plan to face 2014 full power, with a new CD and several shows in their border city.