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MP3 Sexto Sol - LATIN: Rock en Espanol

70''s latin soul with vocals delivered by hammond organ-wielding frontman Sam Villela

12 MP3 Songs
LATIN: Rock en Espanol, URBAN/R&B: Soul

Sexto Sol is a project based out of San Antonio, TX. Here are some liner notes from the CD, written by Juan Tejeda, music instructor at Palo Alto College and accordionist for the Conjunto Aztlan:

Somos las hijas y los hijos
del Sexto Sol, the Sixth Sun,
sol de justicia
still to come...still to come
Cuatro Serpiente, Nahuicoatl

I first heard of the band, Sexto Sol, in 1997. Being an ex-jefe
danzante conchero Azteca, and Xicano Music Program Director for
the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, I said: "Es todo." I was
intrigued by the fact that they called themselves Sexto Sol (Sixth
Sun). Mi camarada, Joe Posada, had a band he called el Quinto Sol
(the Fifth Sun), but I had never heard of a musical group called
Sexto Sol. The concept of the Sixth Sun, however, had been around
since Aztec times, and spoke of their creation story, evolution,
and mythology.

Flashback to 1979. University of Texas in Austin days, el
Movimiento Xicano, Conjunto Aztlan, and danza Azteca. Many of us
in the dance group had traveled to Mexico to meet Andres Segura,
who would become our capitan and spiritual leader de la danza, and
to attend our first traditional ceremony: the cardinal point to
the south para Tezcatlipoca, el Senor de Chalma. After setting up
our tent in a graveyard on the side of a cerro, el jefe Segura
took some of us up to Malinalco, a rather small, round, rock
temple where the Aztecs initiated their guerreros jaguares and
guerreros aguilas. We entered through the mouth of a serpent and
in the middle was a large eagle sculpted out of stone. Along the
inside edge of the wall was a sitting area with three
strategically placed rock jaguar heads, one on each
side of of the sitting area and one in the middle. We all sat down
and it was here that I first heard the story of the
four suns that had existed previous to this sun, the Fifth Sun,
Nahuiollin, the sun of conscience and war, the sun we are
currently living in. El Capitan Segura told us how each of these
four suns had been destroyed by a great cataclysmic event and that
humanity had also been destroyed except for a chosen segment that
were destined to lead the human race into the new sun. He told us
that this Fifth Sun would also be destroyed by grandes terremotos
(large earthquakes) and that the people were going to padecer
hambres (die of starvation). But, that there would be a new sun,
and that the mestizo people were going to lead humanity into el
Sexto Sol, Nahuicoatl (cuatro serpiente/four serpent), and that
this would be the sun of justice.

My cousin Armando and I went to check out Sexto Sol in early 1998,
I believe, at a small club called The Reverb Lounge just north of
downtown San Antonio, Texas. The band was on break when we arrived
so we ordered a couple of virongas and scoped out the scene. There
were mainly young people there, a few punked out with studs and
green and red hair. Some were sitting on the couches and living
room chairs that were on the edge of the small dance floor in
front of the stage. Others were on tables, shooting pool, or at
the bar. Four young Chicanos took the stage and began a guitar-
driven instrumental jam that combined some interesting elements of
Latin rock, punk, alternative, and heavy rock. Then they broke
into another jam, again an instrumental. I later learned that
these four vatos were Juan Ramos (drums), Eddie Hernandez
(guitar), Jorge Lara (bass), and Nicolas Valdez (percussion). My
initial impression of that first set was that they were definitely
a different band on the San Anto musical scene with some
noteworthy influences (shades of El Chicano and Santana), but that
their long instrumental jams begged for some vocals to break the

I have followed these vatos locos for the last five years, or so,
and I can tell you that they have remained true to their original
music; that they have evolved musically and artistically,
especially with the addition of Greg Goodman (bass), Sam Villela
(keyboards and vocals), and James Moody (percussion); and that
they have developed a distinctive musical identity and carved a
very important niche in the musical scene of San Antonio. On any
given week night you can hear them perform at Salute, The Barbed
Wire, Sam''s Burger Joint, an exhibit opening, a fundraiser, or any
number of Chicano, or other, arts events. They are an integral
part of San Antonio''s artistic and cultural community with a loyal
base of fans that is growing.

And now, put your hands together for Sexto Sol''s debut, self-
titled CD. It''s an excellent production of some of their best
material. Eleven of the twelve cuts included on this CD are
original compositions. Seven of them, all instrumentals, were
written by Eddie Hernandez (five of them with the assistance of
Jorge Lara), and four were written by Sam Villela. The only cover
tune is an instrumental remake of Cannonball Adderley''s "Mercy,
Mercy, Mercy." Sam Villela''s soulful, rhythm-n-blues-laden tunes
add a much-needed vocal complement to the band''s repertoire. There
are also some significant surprises on this CD that give it an
extra special dimension. I''m talking about the integration of some
of the city''s best musicians as guest artists. Luis Gasca, seminal
Chicano trumpeter and Latin jazz pioneer, adds his subtle and
soaring muted trumpet tone to "River of Love." Joe Reveles
contributes his considerable keys talent (organ and moog) to this
same song, as well as "Exploracion de Pasion." Gabriel Pintor, one
of the best sax men in the city and heir apparent to the Westside
Horns and the Westside Sound, blows us away on "Escandalosa"
and "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy." And finally, Carlos Trevino accompanies
on acoustic guitar in "Exploracion de Pasion," and Karl J.
Lubbering provides vibraphones on "Monterreyna." Of course, let''s
not forget the powerful and flowing bass lines of Greg Goodman,
the steady back beat and percolating percussion of drummer and
founding member, Juan Ramos, and James Moody. "El indio," Eddie
Hernandez, rounds out the band with his alternating effervescent
chords and rock-me-out guitar licks. Dale shine, carnales!

This is Sexto Sol at its best. An original voice that is firmly
rooted to its beloved San Antonio, but with branches that extend
to the global community. Fusing elements of Latin rock, punk, pop,
alternative, heavy rock, rhythm-n-blues, salsa, jazz, cha cha cha
y mas, they are a band for the 21st century and the Post-Chicano
revolution that is taking place. Somos mestizos, multicultural, la
Raza Cozmica, black, white, yellow, red, border crossers and
boundary breakin'' aliens of a new consciousness and new world
order. Somos las hijas y los hijos del Sexto Sol, the Sixth Sun,
sol de justicia, still to come...still to come..., cuatro
serpiente, nahuicoatl.

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