Hey, Jonathan from Spanglish Fly here, writing in to update our friends at Opus 40 about how we’re doing, and, of course, to wish all of you well in these difficult times–and to tell you a bit about the performance featured below.
The 12ish (+) members of Spanglish Fly are safe in their homes, scattered throughout Brooklyn, Manhattan, New Jersey, and Queens. A couple of us have been, sadly, closely touched by tragedy. We are all doing what we can to stay in touch and support one another. One small disappointment in the scheme of things is that we were supposed to be in the studio this spring, tracking our next record.
On to the music.
The video is our set at NPR’s “Tiny Desk,” the series that features musicians in low-tech, lo-fi, do-what-you-can, conditions. We were specifically invited there by Felix Contreras of NPR’s Alt.Latino, as a representative of Latin Boogaloo, the genre that mashes up Latin rhythms with the feeling, fervor, and chord changes of soul/funk/r&b.
Per instructions, we played three original songs. The first, “Bugalú pa’ mi Abuela,” is the opening track to our last record, “Ay Que Boogaloo!” Co-written by me and our frequent collaborator Chaco of Chaco World Music, it is an homage to the Boogaloo genre, to the legendary creators of a 1960s Boogaloo, and to grandmothers (abuelas) everywhere.
For the next song, we shifted the mood. “Los Niños en la Frontera” means “the children at the border.” It is a thoughtful song, but an angry song that responds to the US treatment of refugees and immigrants, the forced separation of families. This one, co-written by myself and Stefan Zeniuk, our baritone sax player, will appear on our next album–whenever we can record it.
We closed with a more upbeat message: get your dance on. “Boogaloo Shoes,” is as straightforward a party song as you can get, about shaking off your blues and heading out to shake your thing.
Someday we’ll all be able to do that again, together.
We look forward to Spanglish Fly at Opus 40 ASAP.