En Español: A Musical Melting Pot, Mavericks Style
RAUL MALO: VOCALS, GUITAR
PAUL DEAKIN: DRUMS
JERRY DALE MCFADDEN: KEYBOARDS, VOCALS
EDDIE PEREZ: LEAD GUITAR, VOCALS
On August 21, The Mavericks officially launched that adventure with the debut of their first-ever, all-Spanish album, released on the band’s own Mono Mundo label. Entitled simply En Español, it is produced by Malo and the band’s long-time collaborator Niko Bolas (Neil Young, Prince, Sheryl Crow). The line-up includes Malo’s fellow Miamian and charter bandmember, Paul Deakin on drums and vibraphone, as well as veteran Jerry Dale McFadden, who joined in 1993. Eddie Perez, a Mexican American guitarist from Los Angeles, is the band’s youngest and newest member, becoming a Maverick in 2003. Like the band’s entire body of music, this one album cannot be boxed into a single category. The songs are as diverse as Latin America itself, and as cohesive as the ideal of the American melting pot. To season this rich musical paella, The Mavericks add their signature country/rock/Tex-Mex flavors and a refreshing spontaneity to the mix.
En Español flips the band’s usual fusion formula, which adds a striking assortment of genres – salsa, ska, norteño, mariachi, and much more – to its sturdy rock/country base. Now, the foundation is solidly Latin with streaks of irreverent rock and twangy guitars running through it, all branded with the unmistakable Mavericks style.
“This album, to me, celebrates all those cultures that are so beautiful and so vibrant,” says Malo, who was part of the diverse ensemble known as Los Super Seven in the early 2000s. “I’m proud of this record for that. I think it’s a very inclusive record. Because this story is not just my story, it’s the story of a lot of Latinos.”
The inspiration for this labor of love is rooted in the immigrant experience of the band’s founder. He was christened Raúl Francisco Martínez-Malo Jr., the son of Cuban exiles who was born and raised in the stimulating immigrant environment of Miami’s Little Havana.
His parents, Raul Sr. and Norma, both came to the United States in the early 60s, fleeing Fidel Castro’s communist revolution. They met after arriving in Miami, got married and bought a home in the shadow of the old Orange Bowl, west of downtown. The hub of the growing clan was the abode of Malo’s maternal grandfather, who himself had immigrated from Spain to Cuba, later bringing his family to Florida.
As Malo entered adolescence in the 1970s, the Latin music industry was flourishing in the United States. Pop and folk music from many countries flooded Latin communities. Recordings from many countries were distributed domestically by major labels, sold in neighborhood discotecas, and broadcast on television and radio via a booming network of Spanish-language media.
Malo’s musical milieu was a mind-expanding cultural mashup. At home, there was a family piano to play at family gatherings, and his grandfather regaled guests with his “beautiful baritone,” Malo recalls. And there was a stream of music always in the air. Songs by Cuba’s venerable Omara Portuondo, Mexico’s romantic Trio Los Panchos, and brash mariachi superstar Vicente Fernandez. But his father also loved Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline, while his mother exposed him to the refined art of opera and classical music.
The budding musician soaked in the sounds, unlike many first-generation teenagers who reject their parents’ music as corny or old-fashioned.
“I was never one of those kids who were like, ‘Ah, I hate that music,’” says Malo. “I liked it all, and I would take it all in. To me, it was just part of the vocabulary, part of the DNA.”
Courtesy of TheMavericksBand.com. Read the full article here.