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Pistolera: Taking Life by the Teeth

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CD release parties abound here in New York, and my favorites are those for the self-released artist's efforts. Pistolera's latest CD, "El Desierto y la Ciudad" has been garnering praise from the press, and they are a busy and industrious band. I first encountered Pistolera years ago, through their righteous video "Cazador" about the contradictions in our immigration policies and attitudes, and so was intrigued to see and hear their latest sounds. The party was at the East Village club Drom; throw into the pot the most excellent local band Nation Beat as an opener, and I was definitely going to attend!



Pistolera's leader and main composer Sandra Velasquez has created a melange culled from her musical memories growing up in San Diego and her singer-songwriter sensibilities. So although the lyrics are in Spanish, and there is an accordion in there, these are not corridos, and the accordion is not diatonic, nor is it playing conjunto riffs. It's very much its own animal, and I like that it does not fit easily into categories.

Velasquez's' lyrics are full of positive energy; they speak of empowerment and life spirit. Such a song is "Vieja" presented here as they performed it at Drom (apologies for the room's boomy sound). It's a cumbia, the propulsive Colombian beat that is wildly popular in Mexico and it is about living life to the fullest. Here is the translation:

One day I will be an old woman. I will have few years to live.
My skin will have more wrinkles. My hair will have more gray.
But I will be able to say that I lived.
One day I will be an old woman. There will be few years left for me to live.
My children will have grown. The house will be empty.
But I will be able to say that I lived.
Look how time passes. Look at everything you've done.
I have a long list of things I still want to do.
I want to take advantage and enjoy all of life until the very end.

The high octane evening featured Sandra Velasquez on vocals and guitar, Maria Elena on accordion, Sean Dixon (sitting in for Inca B. Satz) on bass, Sebastian Guerrero on drums, and the formidable Mark Tewarson on lead guitar.

The song "Vieja" is from their previous CD,"En Este Camino" which can be purchased or listened to here.
For their latest CD, "El Desierto y la Ciudad" click here.

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