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Banda MS On How Their Snoop Dogg Collaboration Is Introducing Banda Music To New Audiences

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Banda MS On How Their Snoop Dogg Collaboration Is Introducing Banda Music To New Audiences

The Mexican regional band tells the Recording Academy about their "Que Maldicion" collaboration and what it means for regional music

GRAMMYs/May 12, 2020 - 09:34 am

When Banda MS came across a video on Instagram in which a subdued Snoop Dogg offers their song "Tengo Que Colgar"—a track about painfully walking away from a dishonest relationship—as solace to Dodger fans after a major loss took the Los Angeles baseball team out of the world series in 2016, they weren’t sure it was real. After all, it’s not every day a gangsta rap legend reveals he’s got love for a Mexican regional band from Mazatlan, Sinaloa, even if they are one of Mexico’s most successful and trailblazing (Banda MS were top ten on Billboard’s 50 top charting Latin artists along with J Balvin, Shakira and Bad Bunny in 2018, a year considered major for Latin music worldwide). While popular among Latinos in the U.S., banda music hasn’t produced any general market co-signs like reggaetón has, so Snoop Dogg being a fan was a bit surprising. "We laughed thinking it was a meme,” Oswaldo Silvas, one of the two band vocalists, recalls.

But the video wasn’t an internet concoction—it was real. By now, anyone religiously following the "Gin N Juice" rapper on social media knows he’s a fan of both Latin music and artists—he even has a collab with Ozuna on his 2019 album I Wanna Thank Me. More specifically, though, he is a Mexican regional music enthusiast, having uploaded videos of himself lip-syncing songs by artists like the late Jenni Rivera, who, like Snoop, is an alum of Long Beach Polytechnic High School in California.

Snoop’s defeated sports moment, in which he chose a banda song to cap a disappointing season, is reflective of the black and brown cultural exchanges that happen in Los Angeles, and was exciting for the almost 20-piece wind-and-percussion band, which was founded by Sergio Lizárraga in 2003. When a collaboration with Snoop organically came together years later, the band, who pride themselves on having a distinct musical style that only continues to expand banda music, knew they couldn't lose their essence. As a result, "Que Maldicion," which has over two million plays on YouTube, is a perfect mix of banda music and Snoop's G-Funk.

The Recording Academy recently spoke with band vocalists Oswaldo Silvas and Alan Ramirez—who admit they were a little nervous about how fans would react to the single—from Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico. They told us more about how the collab came about, how they hope a song like this can take banda music to new audiences without compromising their touch, being recognized by the city of Los Angeles, their stylistic vision and more.

The interview has been edited and translated from Spanish to English.

How did this collaboration come about?

Oswaldo Silvas: This arose, I think about two, three years ago, when Snoop Dogg uploaded a video to his Instagram of him listening to Banda MS' music. That took everyone by surprise. We laughed thinking it was a meme, but no, he confirmed with another video that he really liked Banda MS' music. He's also said in interviews many times that he likes regional Mexican music. That really caught our attention. Time passed, we never forced anything. It feels good to say the collaboration wasn't forced. We were patient until the right time came. More than two years went by before we got in contact and were able to truly make a collaboration happen. Banda MS made the song; it was written by Omar Tarazón and arranged by Pavel Ocampo [and then] the song was sent to Snoop Dogg and he contributed his part, the rap part.

A lot of people may find the song's theme relatable now in quarantine because it's about missing someone. What is the inspiration behind this song? Is it based on personal experience?

Oswaldo Silvas: Many of Banda MS' songs are about love or heartbreak. The song, as I mentioned, was written by Omar Tarazón, who has written for Banda MS many times. I don't know what his inspiration was, but it rings a bell now as we're missing so many things right now. There are a lot of people who are missing someone special during these moments that we are in lockdown. After all, the song was made in the Banda MS style, in Tarazón's style, and I think a lot of people are enjoying it, the numbers speak for themselves. We were still very nervous [the day it launched], nervous about how people were going to react to it, how the fans were going to take it, how all the critics were going to take it and thank God, [while] there have been divided opinions, most people love the song and we are very grateful for that.

The song is a good balance of Banda MS and Snoop Dogg's style, respectively. How did you achieve that balance?

Oswaldo Silvas: My colleague Pavel Ocampo, who was in charge of the arrangements, he and Sergio Lizárraga, achieved that balance without letting go or jumping over banda music's boundaries, respecting what banda music is. The importance of this collaboration is precisely that, that a world-famous artist, like Snoop Dogg, comes to sing on a Sinaloan banda's track. It's what is really impressive, because we could have done a collaboration with him and tried to rap, or something like that. I think that would not have given us the same result. Banda music's [stylistic] boundaries were respected. He did his thing with hip-hop, rap, and all that [together] achieved a balance. That is the beautiful thing, that is the artistic thing of this song, to manage to balance all that well and not go out to do something grotesque, or something that would make us uncomfortable, or something that made us look like we forgot about the banda genre. There was that balance.

Latin music, particularly reggaeton, is now attracting many big-name artists who work with English-language music. "Despacito" is an example. Now you come in with this mega song that is taking regional music to new places. I know when Sergio Lizárraga started the group, he wanted to evolve the band's style, but did you imagine anything on this level?

Oswaldo Silvas: No, we never imagined this. Believe us, a duet like this was never in our minds, never. If we've been open to collaborations, it's been with other genres of music like pop, but with both Mexican and Spanish-speaking artists. This collaboration with an artist of this caliber, we had never even imagined. It's something to celebrate. You mentioned "Despacito," how it transcended. I think it gives Latinos pride to see a song [in Spanish] achieve those [cross-cultural] fusions. Although our music doesn't fall under the genre, I can imagine people who are from Puerto Rico, the people who are Latino and who make reggaeton, how they felt listening to those collaborations.

In the same way, we'd think that banda music, banda musicians, the groups and the Mexican audience that likes banda music, that they would feel as proud. It is a great sense of pride for Banda MS too, to know we are doing things well and that we are representing Mexico in a way, we'll say, in a dignified way because it is what we try to do, to represent our music, to represent our Mexico in a dignified way.

Here in L.A., the song was played on Power 106, a hip-hop station, and KCRW, an NPR-affiliated station. That doesn't happen every day. What does reaching new audiences mean to you?

Oswaldo Silvas: Imagine how we feel knowing that and realizing how radio announcers are so important in the United States, who are not Spanish-speaking, are playing Banda MS' music because of this collaboration. We are very proud, we are very happy. Something I was going to tell you regarding this, I think this has to open a very important door. It has to open a door that will allow banda music to continue transcending, it is our purpose. Our dream is to take Banda MS' music very high, internationally, globally. The purpose of Banda MS is to make banda music, the banda genre, recognized and heard around the world; it is our purpose, and that it be done in this way because it is one thing to be heard and another thing to be liked. The purpose is that you like banda music.

You're from Mazatlán, Sinaloa in Mexico but a few months ago you received recognition from the city of Los Angeles for uniting the community. Tell me about your relationship with your audience in Los Angeles and in the United States.

Oswaldo Silvas: Los Angeles is definitely [home to] a huge Latino community. I'll confess that it was difficult for us to cross into Los Angeles. When we got to Los Angeles there was a music movement that had nothing to do with Banda MS; it was a time when corrido's new wave [was happening]. When Banda MS arrived in Los Angeles, we came with a song called "El Mechón." At first, it was difficult to [musically] cross into the Los Angeles area, [but] we are very pleased that today Los Angeles is one of the cities that has given us the greatest support. Across the United States, there is a lot of support for Banda MS, but Los Angeles gives us special affection. There are many people from Sinaloa, many other people, who like band music and when we are there it is always a success. We were last there at the Staples Center with two dates. It was something unmatched for us, invaluable to us, in our career. The Los Angeles crowd will always be invaluable to us.

What do you think helped you get a strong following there?

Oswaldo Silvas: I think we didn't do anything special. Not because at the time there was a new wave of music. Did we want to make music [with that sound]? No, not at all. We have always tried to conquer our audience with the essence that we have, with the essence of what Banda MS is. I think we have been very consistent, we have been very consistent. We have always tried not to change the essence of Banda MS, but we do mature, we do advance in our [own way], when it comes to Sinaloan music. I think that consistency has been the fundamental factor in being able to reach people's taste.

You have a 20 member band, how do you organize yourselves in the studio? Are there any rules?

Oswaldo Silvas: Let's put it this way, there are departments. We assign ourselves a certain number of people for each group. There is a group of people who are in charge of the musical stuff, who are in charge of the recordings, who are in charge of the selection. That group of people is a small group of people and decisions by them are respected. It is part of the order that we have in Banda MS.

There are people who take care of what the image of the band is, there are people who take care of the live shows, there are people who take care of the media. We have always respected each area that's why there can be order, we can all reach an agreement. We respect the group of people who choose the songs from the albums; all that. So this works.

Are you currently working on new music or other projects?

Oswaldo Silvas: Every day we are working on the recording of new songs, we are close to finishing a new album. We are always working on digital content, we are always doing interviews, we are always working on social media. There is always something to do. We do not want to rest on our laurels, as they say, we want to keep moving forward, we want to keep growing. There is still much more to conquer, and for that you need to work.

Is there another collaboration that you'd want to do with an artist from anywhere in the world?

Alan Ramirez: We are open for any collaboration, we have never forced anything. Me and my colleague Walo [Oswaldo] have said before that we would love to do something with reggaeton. A person that we admire and respect is Daddy YankeeJ Balvin too, Nicky Jam, who seem like good people, who are calm and who I know would be a good collaboration.

RIAA Report: Latin Music Is Growing Faster Than The Overall U.S. Music Market

 

The Week In Music: Elton Rocks Rush
Elton John performs at the 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com

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The Week In Music: Elton Rocks Rush

The Rocket Man performs at talk show host Rush Limbaugh's fourth wedding

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

We're guessing he didn't play anything from his album A Single Man. According to a People.com report, flamboyant rocker Elton John was the musical guest (for a cool fee of $1 million) at conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh's fourth wedding, this one to 33-year-old Kathryn Rogers, who is reportedly a direct descendant of President John Adams. Regarding the couple's age difference, Rogers said, "I'm sometimes not able to relate to the average person my age." It would seem the 59-year-old Limbaugh is neither her age nor the average person.

Here's a concert that went to the dogs. Performance artist Laurie Anderson staged a show outside the Sydney Opera House for an audience of canine music lovers on June 5. The show took place as part of the city's Vivid Live festival, which is being co-curated by Anderson and her husband, Lou Reed, and featured music for mutts including high-pitch squeals and even sounds only dogs could hear. Anderson called the show, which was born from a conversation with cello master Yo-Yo Ma, "a highlight of my life." For man's best friend, it may have been the best dedicated music since the Singing Dogs' version of "Jingle Bells."

If you think Richard Wagner's "Ring" cycle — the four-part opera based on Teutonic and Norse mythology that can run as long as 15 hours over four nights for the full cycle — carries some pretty heavy artistic heft, you'd be right…and literally right. For a new Metropolitan Opera staging over the next two years, the Met had to install 65-foot steel girders to support the 45-ton set. This might make Wagner the biggest current heavy metal act in music. The opera is set to open Sept. 27.

Coldplay's own artistic heft just got heavier...and freakier. In 2002 guitarist Jonny Buckland and frontman Chris Martin starred as a murder-solving duo in Irish rock band Ash's self-made slasher flick, appropriately titled Slashed. Unfortunately, the project was shelved, but footage has made its way into the band's new video for "Binary." Meanwhile, Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman is steering clear of axe-wielding killer ghosts to restore Scandinavian furniture with his brother Mark. Berryman's Antiques specializes in tables, seating, cabinetry, and even a Swedish bridal chest. Customers who find their purchased antiques haunted should contact Buckland and Martin immediately.

Now you can love him tender, love him mashed, or even love him au gratin. The Elvis Presley estate has teamed with Hasbro and PPW Toys to launch an Elvis version of the classic Mr. Potato Head toy. The first release will be a Las Vegas jumpsuited Elvis, scheduled to debut during Elvis Week in Memphis, Tenn., in August, and will be followed by a leather-clad Elvis spud. The Elvis potato follows a Kiss version released last year.

Bon Jovi launched an impressive 12-night, sold-out residency at London's O2 Arena on June 7, marking a return to the venue they officially launched three years ago. The GRAMMY-winning New Jersey natives also recently christened their new hometown digs, New Meadowlands Stadium, with three concerts in late May. AEG Live is predicting tickets sales for the band's current tour will eclipse their 2007–2008 Lost Highway trek, which was Billboard's highest-grossing tour in 2008. Not bad for a band Rolling Stone magazine once described as a "bad fourth-generation metal, smudgy Xerox of Quiet Riot." Jon Bon Jovi's take? He recently smirked, "Like it or not, we're one of the biggest bands in the world." No word on a JBJ Mr. Potato Head, however.

Looks like international singing sensation Susan Boyle will be making a holy trip later this year. The Roman Catholic Church says Boyle will likely perform for Pope Benedict XVI at an open-air papal Mass in Glasgow's Bellahouston Park on Sept. 16. An unidentified spokesman said negotiations are still taking place. "Likely" and "negotiations still taking place"? Could be a tour rider issue brewing…

Have the the Melvins gone commercial? The band's latest album, The Bride Screamed Murder, sold 2,809 units this past week, good enough for the bottom spot on the Billboard 200 and marking the first time the Seattle indie rock legends have placed on the album chart in their 25-plus-year career. With another 2,000 units, they would have reached the chart's upper echelon and passed the likes of Beyoncé, Eminem, Michael Jackson, Nickelback, Pink Floyd, and Timbaland. Asked for his comment on the milestone, singer/guitarist Roger "Buzz" Osborne said, "Top 200 what?"

Katy Perry's "California Gurls," featuring Snoop Dogg, reclaimed the No. 1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 this week, as well as the top spot on the iTunes singles chart.

Any news we've missed? Comment below.

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Last Week In Music

 

Tyga Talks Inspiration Behind "Go Loko" & Collaborating With L.A. Rappers Like YG

Tyga 

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Tyga Talks Inspiration Behind "Go Loko" & Collaborating With L.A. Rappers Like YG

"Growing up in L.A., it's a really big culture here, Mexican culture," the rapper said. "So we really wanted to do something to give back to the culture."

GRAMMYs/Jun 8, 2019 - 04:16 am

Tyga's latest collab has him paying tribute to Los Angeles' large Mexican community. The rapper is featured on fellow L.A. rapper YG's  leading single, "Go Loko" off his latest album 4REAL 4REAL and when asked about his take on the song, he says much of it was inspired by Mexico's cultural impact. 

"Growing up in L.A., it's a really big culture here," he said. "Even YG could tell you, he grew up around all Mexicans, so we really wanted to do something to give back to the culture."

The video features visuals and symbolisms inpired by the Mexican community, including mariachi, but also by the Puerto Rican community (you'll easily spot the boricua flag). The song also features Puerto Rican rapper Jon Z. Tyga mentioned the diversity of Latinos on the different coasts and wanted to make a song that also celebrates the different Latin cultures in the country. "We wanted to do something different to kinda try to bring all Latins together," he said. 

Watch the video above to hear more about the song and the vibe when he joins forces with other L.A. rapppers. 

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Quarantine Diaries: ARI Is Cuddling With Her Cat, Making Her Own Tea & Preparing For Her Debut 'IDIOT GRL' EP Release

ARI

Photo: Nicole Davis

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Quarantine Diaries: ARI Is Cuddling With Her Cat, Making Her Own Tea & Preparing For Her Debut 'IDIOT GRL' EP Release

As the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic continues to rock the music industry, the Recording Academy reached out to a few musicians to see how they were spending their days indoors

GRAMMYs/Aug 12, 2020 - 02:59 am

As the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic continues to rock the music industry, the Recording Academy reached out to a few musicians to see how they were spending their days indoors. Today, rising singer/songwriter ARI shares her quarantine diary. ARI's debut IDIOT GRL EP is out Aug. 14.

[9:40 a.m.] A late start to the day. I just woke up to my cat Malakai licking my face and snuggling under my chin, desperate for cuddles. I reluctantly gave in before diving into my morning routine, which starts by going through all of the daily news on my Snapchat feed to see what’s going on in the world.

[11 a.m.] Just out of the shower and into the kitchen for the usual: tea and avocado toast. I don’t typically like tea or coffee, but I had this amazing tea from Starbucks once and fell in love with it. I ended up finding the recipe and making it myself, and to be honest, I like my version better. Once I boil the kettle, I start part two of my morning “meditation”: watching one of my favourite shows while I respond to emails. With the IDIOT GRL EP coming out next week, I can tell you there are a TON of emails. I turned on "Gilmore Girls" (my guilty pleasure) and opened up my laptop to go through my calendar.

[1:45 p.m.] Recording session time. Zoom calls have become my everyday life. It’s crazy to think that this time last year, you could actually be in a room with people. Now the most social interaction I get is virtually. On the positive side, I get to set up my little home studio from the comfort of my own bed and I find the sessions to be really productive with no outside distractions.

[3:30 p.m.] Malakai is meowing at my door. As I try to sing over him, eventually I can’t ignore his cute little voice. We take a quick break and I have a little playtime with him. I can hear my song playing in the living room—it still weirds me out hearing myself. My guess is my roommate aka my manager is sending off final approval for the “IDIOT GRL” music video, which comes out the same day as the EP. Super excited for everyone to finally see it!

[6:00 p.m.] Time for dinner. It may just be my favourite part of the day. During my session, my roommate cooked us some delicious pasta. We eat dinner together every night, which is really nice. Usually, after dinner, we wind down and watch TV, but we decided to try doing an arts and crafts project tonight. I watched this TikTok video of a DIY way to make music plaques. You take a screenshot of a song on Spotify and use a marker to trace out the name of the song, artist, play button, etc. Once that’s done, you simply add the album artwork of your choice, frame it, and voila! I thought it would be a cool idea to make a wall of each of the songs off of my EP.

[9:00 p.m.] After an eventful day, I decided to go watch a drive-in Maple Leafs game (wearing a mask, of course). My sister works for the TSN network and started hosting drive-in game nights to promote the network and social distancing events. I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest hockey fan, but I’ll never pass up an opportunity to spend time with my family.

[11:30 p.m.] I finally get home and hop straight into bed. I feel like I haven’t spent much time on Instagram today, so figured I’d open it up before getting some shuteye. I launched the pre-save link for the EP today and told my followers that I would DM anyone who pre-saved it and sent me a screenshot. I always love getting to interact with my fans and I can’t tell you how grateful I am to see how excited people are for my debut EP. It’s a great feeling to end the day with.

Kiana Ledé Talks Opening Up On ‘KIKI,' Lucky Daye Collab & “Urban” Term | Up Close & Personal

EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE: Mexican Institute Of Sound Takes Gaby Moreno Into New Musical Territory With Mystifying "Yemayá"

Gaby Moreno 

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EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE: Mexican Institute Of Sound Takes Gaby Moreno Into New Musical Territory With Mystifying "Yemayá"

Listen to the synth-infused track blending pop and Latin sounds that's named after the Afro-Carribean goddess who represents fertility, water and self-love

GRAMMYs/Jun 25, 2020 - 08:56 pm

Anything Mexican Institute Of Sound (MIS), a.k.a Camilo Lara, touches turns into musical gold. The Mexican producer and artist proves that with celebrated GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter Gaby Moreno in "Yemayá."

Moreno, whose soothing voice we have heard magically adapt to a range of genres including Americana, Latin folk and R&B, continues exploring her creative range this time with GRAMMY-nominated Lara in the synth-infused, mystifying track blending pop and Latin sounds. The catchy song about the overpowering feeling of love is named after the Afro-Carribean goddess who represents fertility, water and self-love.

Moreno told the Recording Academy she and Lara wanted to capture the deity's essence in their collaboration:

"She's a powerful woman of color taking all forms. It's a universal theme and we wanted to incorporate this mysterious and mystic figure into the song, since it's part of the folklore of many different cultures." 

The song, which Lara brought to Moreno and was written in one day in 2019 at Red Bull Studios, takes Moreno into new territory. 

"I’ve been a big admirer of [Lara's] work and esthetic and the way he blends Latin folk music with electronic and hip hop. I come from a fairly different musical background, having very rarely experimented with synths and those kinds of sounds, so this was a really fun and different collaboration for me," she said. "I got to step out of my comfort zone and bring forth something a bit unusual but very much enjoyable, nonetheless."

The Guatemalan singer/songwriter will also soon be releasing "Fire Inside," a song she wrote with Andrew Bissell. The song has already been featured on ABC’s "Station 19", TLC’s promo "I Am Jazz," UK’s "Free Rein," NBC’s "American Ninja Warrior" and recently on YouTube’s "Dear Class of 2020."

Moreno is also working on an upcoming album she will produce herself and is also producing other artists. 

Listen to "Yemayá" in full above. 

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