Stop me if you've heard this one before. A Peruvian, two Cubans, an Argentine, a kid from Bean Town and a guy from the Heartland walk into a bar. Okay, it's not actually a joke, but you've got to admit there's crazy potential right there in the setup.
Instead of comedic value, this recipe actually yielded something much more entertaining -- a Latin reggae fusion group called Araka. The Peruvian in question is bassist/vocalist Bruno Mendez. The Cubans, vocalist Vivian Fernandez and guitarist Mikey Campillo. The Argentine is drummer Numa Fernandez, the Bostonian is trombonist Greg Genova and the guy from the undisclosed locale of the Midwest is Chris Richards on trumpet.
The band cites influences ranging from Sublime to Hector Lavoe, Hendrix to Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, and KRS1 to Willie Colon. It's not just a laundry list of performers they dig. You can actually hear diverse and far-reaching influences converging at this one central point now known as Araka, as blistering guitar licks meet laid back reggae grooves before taking off on flight in a hopped up skankfest worthy of the most severely tweaked then going to some swinging salsa. It's all there, somehow colliding in perfect harmony.
Check them out for yourself at Bougie's tomorrow, and enjoy the Red Stripe special while you're there. Hooray $4 beer!
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Araka performs at Bougainvillea's Old Florida Tavern (7221 SW 58th Ave) on Tuesday, September 9 at 9pm. No cover at the Boug's people.