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Pulso del Barrio

With a new-found interest in music technology, B-Side Player Paez (seated) has stripped his gig to three in Sonida de la Frontera.
With a new-found interest in music technology, B-Side Player Paez (seated) has stripped his gig to three in Sonida de la Frontera.

B-Side Players founder Karlos Paez makes it clear that he’s a benevolent bandleader. He’s still friends with his former B-Side bandmates. All 52 of them.

“We just had our 20th reunion at the Belly Up,” says Paez of his eight-piece Latin-flavored band that has released ten albums of funk, Afro-Cuban, soul, and reggae material. “We had, like, 25 ex-players get up and play with us.”

Paez says a handful left the band for common causes: partying or marriage. But most left, he tells the Reader, because they couldn’t deal with B-Side’s touring regimen. “For the past 15 years we’ve played, like, 150 shows a year throughout the U.S. and Mexico. Some guys can’t commit to that.”

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Paez flipped the script for his side project, Sonida de la Frontera. Instead of seven B-Side bandmates who use real instruments, he’s pared it down to just two. Turntablist DJ Unite, who is also part of the local reggae soundsystem Tribe of Kings, and hip-hop producer Mr. Henshaw from the First Power Crew. Onstage, Henshaw uses an MPC-2000 sampler that triggers pre-recorded loops and melodies. Traditional cumbia textures of accordion and güiro are still there, but they are synth-borne and drenched in bottom-heavy dance beats.

“We started as a recording project,” says singer/trumpet player Paez. “Now we’re performing.”

Paez admits many B-Side fans don’t share his taste for technology. “Some people look down on it, like it’s taking over. But I grew up with hip-hop and dub music. I have respect for people who use turntables and samples. To me they are just different types of instruments. The future will be a lot more of that type of music.”

Paez, who is known for his dreads and aviator glasses onstage, says the thriving cumbia club scene in San Diego and Tijuana has been key to marketing their first vinyl release, Cumbia Mundial.

Past Event

Sonida de la Frontera, Agua Dulce, more

  • Saturday, December 6, 2014, 5 p.m.
  • Bread & Salt, 1955 Julian Avenue, San Diego
  • Free

“There are regular cumbia nights at Live Wire, El Camino [Little Italy], Ken Club, and Casbah. There is a huge cumbia scene in TJ right now. There are a bunch of clubs at Revolución and La Sexta [Sixth Street] that have cumbia four nights a week. There is a huge underground cumbia scene in Chicago, and clubs are popping up in New York and L.A. We send our vinyl to the DJs. They don’t want MP3s.

He says that DJ club exposure has increased album sales. “That’s how reggae music got started, by the DJs in the clubs in Jamaica.”

Sonida de la Frontera appears with Agua Dulce, Cumbia Machin, and La Taibla on December 6 at Bread and Salt in Barrio Logan. The event is a launch party for a new internet radio station, Radio Pulso del Barrio. Admission is free.

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Events December 3-December 7, 2022
With a new-found interest in music technology, B-Side Player Paez (seated) has stripped his gig to three in Sonida de la Frontera.
With a new-found interest in music technology, B-Side Player Paez (seated) has stripped his gig to three in Sonida de la Frontera.

B-Side Players founder Karlos Paez makes it clear that he’s a benevolent bandleader. He’s still friends with his former B-Side bandmates. All 52 of them.

“We just had our 20th reunion at the Belly Up,” says Paez of his eight-piece Latin-flavored band that has released ten albums of funk, Afro-Cuban, soul, and reggae material. “We had, like, 25 ex-players get up and play with us.”

Paez says a handful left the band for common causes: partying or marriage. But most left, he tells the Reader, because they couldn’t deal with B-Side’s touring regimen. “For the past 15 years we’ve played, like, 150 shows a year throughout the U.S. and Mexico. Some guys can’t commit to that.”

Sponsored
Sponsored

Paez flipped the script for his side project, Sonida de la Frontera. Instead of seven B-Side bandmates who use real instruments, he’s pared it down to just two. Turntablist DJ Unite, who is also part of the local reggae soundsystem Tribe of Kings, and hip-hop producer Mr. Henshaw from the First Power Crew. Onstage, Henshaw uses an MPC-2000 sampler that triggers pre-recorded loops and melodies. Traditional cumbia textures of accordion and güiro are still there, but they are synth-borne and drenched in bottom-heavy dance beats.

“We started as a recording project,” says singer/trumpet player Paez. “Now we’re performing.”

Paez admits many B-Side fans don’t share his taste for technology. “Some people look down on it, like it’s taking over. But I grew up with hip-hop and dub music. I have respect for people who use turntables and samples. To me they are just different types of instruments. The future will be a lot more of that type of music.”

Paez, who is known for his dreads and aviator glasses onstage, says the thriving cumbia club scene in San Diego and Tijuana has been key to marketing their first vinyl release, Cumbia Mundial.

Past Event

Sonida de la Frontera, Agua Dulce, more

  • Saturday, December 6, 2014, 5 p.m.
  • Bread & Salt, 1955 Julian Avenue, San Diego
  • Free

“There are regular cumbia nights at Live Wire, El Camino [Little Italy], Ken Club, and Casbah. There is a huge cumbia scene in TJ right now. There are a bunch of clubs at Revolución and La Sexta [Sixth Street] that have cumbia four nights a week. There is a huge underground cumbia scene in Chicago, and clubs are popping up in New York and L.A. We send our vinyl to the DJs. They don’t want MP3s.

He says that DJ club exposure has increased album sales. “That’s how reggae music got started, by the DJs in the clubs in Jamaica.”

Sonida de la Frontera appears with Agua Dulce, Cumbia Machin, and La Taibla on December 6 at Bread and Salt in Barrio Logan. The event is a launch party for a new internet radio station, Radio Pulso del Barrio. Admission is free.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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