La Pelanga is La Pelanga and La Peña 2nd Generation are super excited to host straight from Los Angeles,CHICANO BATMAN. Saturday, March 1 come celebrate the release of their 2nd album, Cycles of Existential Rhyme, on El Relleno Records live from the NEW La Peña Lounge in Berkeley, California. (LPs and CDs available at the show.)
Our favorite superheros have produced another one of a kind record filled with killer psychedelic latin soul to save the day. Check out Wednesday Morning and She Lives On My Block to see just what we’re talking about and why we are so excited to welcome them back to the Bay.
This show sold out last time so be sure to get your tickets early!
Arjuna and Jacobo host the 3rd episode of Pelanga en La Sala with special guest Adam Dunbar from Discos Alma. (note: episode #2 tragically perished with a faulty hard drive) Join the three as they explore the vibrant and often overlooked music of Panama with a few other Caribbean gems mixed in.
Please excuse our recent absence from this space. We’ve been doing some remodeling and maintenance, but we’re back now! We’re still very excited to continue sharing more music and culture. In fact, last week we got together and recorded our very first Pelangacast live from our LP clubhouse! The concept is not to have the typical radio “programmed show,” but instead to invite you into our cozy wall-to-wall collection of culture on vinyl as we share stories and discoveries from our musical addictions.
Below is our first episode with more to come soon. Have a listen, and let us know what you think.
Advice – I. C. Rock
Ce La Vie – Les Difficiles De Pétion-Ville
Ah Ah Oh No – La Protesta (ft. Joe Arroyo)
El Preso – Louis Towers [NOTE: This unlabeled record was in a Grupo Kuwait sleeve, but it’s actually Louis Towers]
(Where Were You) Last Night – Sumy
Banana Juana – Ralph Robles
Guami Guami – Sir Victor Uwaifo and his Melody Maestros
La Pelanga is incredibly excited to team up with the blue tux-shirted crusaders Chicano Batman from Los Angeles in an intimate affair at La Peña on Saturday, September 29. La Pelanga’s passion for connecting rare sounds from Africa, Latin America, and the Carribean in order to celebrate our communities goes hand in hand with Chicano Batman’s liberating music of Chicano tropicalismo and East Bay’s institution for arts and culture, La Peña. Come be a part of this convergence of soulful musical expression and beautiful people this Saturday at La Peña, 3105 Shattuck Ave, in Berkeley.
10 PM – 2 AM / Ten Bucks / All Ages (Click on poster above to RSVP)
It’s crackin’ this summer for many of our compañeros here at La Pelanga! Just a week after futboling, singing, dancing, and breaking bread with Las Cafeteras on their recent trip to the bay for all the Copa Communidad festivities, the good homie Bardo rolled by the house to update me on the latest Chicano Batman project – Joven Navegante.
After a hiatus filled with their individual travels and musical wonderings, these four Chicano soul brothers will be reuniting in their hometown of Los Angeles later this month to promote the recent release of their new four track EP Joven Navegante through a series of live shows and the filming of a music video for the EP’s title track.
While at times their new recordings are reminiscent of their first full length self titled LP, as a whole Joven Navegante offers an even more exploratory effort, layering drunken wah wah guitar with psychedelic organ vamps, bouncing reggae bass licks, exceptional drumming throughout, and of course Bardo’s inspired vocals. Some true ear candy for the auditory freak and a perfect fit for any car trip to the sun! Check the EP’s title track below.
To satiate the vinyl cravings of folks like myself Chicano Batman has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help raise funds for a proper 10″ vinyl pressing. Take a moment to watch their Kickstarter video and hear about what they’ve been up to. Real talk – they have some of best gifts I’ve seen on Kickstarter. To my folks in Southern California – pledge $250 and have Chicano Batman come thru for a pop-up beach party con music and fresh fruit!
This past Saturday was filled with lots of excitement—those of you who were waving Mexican flags up and down Mission Street in San Francisco or partying in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena know what I’m talking about. After the final, a portion of La Pelanga crew carried on the great night with Joe Bataan, the king of Latin soul who performed at Yoshi’s SF.
Best known for his anthem Ordinary Guy, Joe Bataan is by all means a man of the people. Each time I’ve seen him he is more than happy to greet you before and after his shows, take pictures and sign records. In fact on this particular trip out to San Francisco he did separate meet and greets at the Bayanihan Community Center (Filipino community center in S.F.) and Milk bar. Even in his senior years the man still has juice, which is no surprise considering he once was a leader of a Puerto Rican gang in East Harlem—and he’s not even Puerto Rican. He had the half Latino, half Filipino crowd up on their feet dancing and soul clapping the whole night. His success of merging of R&B with Boogaloo, Mambo and Salsa in my opinion would never be possible without his voice. At first listen it sounds flat, somewhat scratchy and well ordinary, but if you continue to listen you’ll find his voice is one of kind. It’s full of that down to earth soul, that just sinks into you and comforts you like smelling your mom’s favorite dish. One of the early songs he performed was Ordinary Guy-Afro Filipino, (his 3rd version of Ordinary Guy) and you’ll get just what I mean from the opening “Ahhhh….”.
His music was always progressing and breaking new ground starting with boogaloo in the 1960s and going all the way to disco-hip hop (it’s argued that he wrote the very first rap song, Rap-O-Clapo). But it’s really his classic ballads that those out here on the West Coast latched onto. What some call oldies, his ballads are still played out of every classic Impala and essential to any good low-rider mix-tape. Personally for me, this music strikes a deep chord. Songs like I Wish You Love from Saint Latin’s Day Massacre, which he also performed, fall into that special category for my sweetie and I. We’re not alone of course. His music has played at countless weddings, (I’m sure our fellow pelanguero, DJ Smokestack will have Joe Bataan playing at his wedding next Saturday), and it will definitely be playing at mine one day.
The one unfortunate thing about seeing Joe Bataan now is that he no longer performs with the same incredible Puerto Rican bands that he did from his days on the Fania label. It was common with these Latin Soul records to have songs both in English and Spanish which helped create appeal to a wider audience. Though Joe Bataan would occasionally sing in Spanish he would also have guest salseros or members of his band handle Spanish vocals. For example on this same Saint Latin’s Day Massacre album we get an incredible bailable like Charangaringa. Sadly it’s these songs that we no longer get to hear live, but to be honest I wasn’t disappointed. The man is still extra-ordinary.