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A Tough Sell 

Wednesday, Apr 8 2009
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You’re unlikely to find Andrea Echeverri and Hector Buitrago, the duo behind folk-rock group Aterciopelados (“The Velvety Ones”), selling out stateside stadiums or shilling for syrupy sodas anytime soon — unlike, say, hip-shakin’ pop diva Shakira or melodic rockero Juanes. Despite sharing critical recognition (including a pair of Latin Grammy nominations) and similar origins (the rock en español genre) with two of Latin music’s biggest stars, Aterciopelados maintain a down-to-earth sincerity coupled with a profound dose of social consciousness — backed by action and advocacy on a local and global level. This sensibility permeates the musical waters of Río, their latest album, in ways both sublime and serious. A simple composition based on a traditional-sounding waltz transforms, by the song’s end, to an ethereal, dreamlike meditation that closes with khoomei, or Tuvan throat singing. This chantlike motif — evocative of pre-Columbian and indigenous ritual — reappears elsewhere in the album, layered alongside Andean instrumentation and electric guitars. It’s just one of many tunes marrying environmental awareness with an accessible yet experimental approach to songwriting.
Fri., April 10, 9 p.m., 2009

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Alejandro Perez

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