Buyepongo: It's too easy to fall down the rabbit hole of trying to pin a genre on the six-piece Los Angeles band
- Friday, August 3, 2018, 8 p.m.
3615 El Cajon Boulevard,
$10 - $12
Buyepongo is about as multi- everything as you can get: multi-lingual, multi-instrumental, multi-cultural, multi-genre. It boils down to the music and rhythms of Central America, but by way of Long Beach. Cool jazz meets merengue, funk, ska, Afrobeat, cumbia, and more. Buyepongo hints at performing any and all of those, but it’s too easy to fall down the rabbit hole of trying to pin a genre on the six-piece Los Angeles band.
Edgar Modesto started the group in 2008 with his brother Randy on bass. He’d just returned home to California after a backpacking adventure that took him through South and Central America. There, Modesto came face-to-face with Afro-Caribbean beats and melodies. And he already had a little musical melange in him. As a teen, he put away his grade-school violin in favor of the Dre-style mix tapes his pals made. Modesto’s is the generation for whom sampling was neither a novelty nor disregarded as a bona fide kind of music.
It follows that Buyepongo’s act is how that music plays out in the hands of musicians who likewise grew up plugged into hip-hop. Modesto even took band naming rights from a Wu Tang Clan song. He and his brother’s bandmates (Larry Harvey percussion, Angel Hernandez reeds, Jorge Vallejo guitar, and Kris Castro keys) filter Buyeponga’s cross-cultural origins into a mashup of the original Latin songbook that sounds both alien and familiar, and it’s a good time from the downbeat. Call it urban folk, but this is the new world music.