SongVault Artist Profile
Wash/Calif, United States
Latin / Latin Rock
Falling somewhere between the traditional and the experimental, Cuchata's music is the very definition of Latin Alternative music, and arguably the only band of its kind in Seattle. Their entirely original compositions join afro-latin traditions with elements of rock, hip-hop, drum and bass, avant-garde jazz, dub reggae, afrobeat, and more. Certainly not a latin-jazz band, by no means salsa, rock en espanol, or cumbia, Cuchata borrows from all these genres and blends them with a rare fluency.
Cuchata was born out of guitarist/singer/songwriter Marcelo E. Quinonez’s 1999 pilgrimage to his ancestral Nicaragua. There he discovered and fell under the spell of the country’s rich musical heritage. Upon returning to the USA, he combined his new-found knowledge with his love of other Afro-Latin traditions to fashion a musical expression of his own. Joined by percussionist/keyboardist Bryan Cook, Quinonez formed Cuchata in 2000. The band, which now includes bassist Cody Rahn and a horn section, released their debut album on Eleggua Records in 2003. It was a fascinating amalgam of influences from Nicaragua, Peru, Cuba and Colombia, with Caribbean-side Central American vocal flavors and Pampas rhythms from Paraguay and Argentina.
Since that time, Cuchata has grown musically, as has their intense desire to constantly update and hybridize their sound. Cuchata now performs as a five piece with Sam Wambach on saxophones and Josh Stewart on trumpet. They are consistently striving to craft music that defies genres on one hand, yet fits neatly into many on the other. Their newest release “Sangre Mixto” shows the diversity of their style, and their ability to integrate ancient and modern influences into a cohesive blend of original compositions. Cuchata performs regularly in and around Seattle and L.A. where they have a very loyal following and have played to capacity crowds. They have shared the stage with such artists as Susana Baca at The Crocodile in Seattle, legendary Cuban percussionist Francisco Aguabella, (The Temple Bar, L.A.) and east L.A. alternativo band Quetzal (The Conga Room, L.A.) and opened numerous sold-out shows for world music sensations such as Lhasa De Sela at The Triple Door (Seattle), The Refugee All Stars and Los Amigos Invisibles at Neumos (Seattle).
"The marvelous thing about Cuchata’s music is that they weave all the threads of their influences into a handsome musical fabric that is at once fully-integrated and personal. It certainly helps that Quinonez is a terrific songwriter. You don’t need to be fluent in Spanish to recognize the natural flow of language and fresh melody that flows through his songs. His idiomatic guitar and expressive baritone receive uncommonly sensitive support from Rahn and Cook. We can’t recommend this band highly enough to anyone with even a passing interest in Latin musical culture. The same can be said about their self-titled CD on Eleggua Records, available at local CD/record stores."
-From www.thetripledoor.com (Seattle, WA)
“Various Latin musics blend gracefully under the watchful ear of Cuchata's players.”
-The Stranger (Seattle)
Recent and past performances include:
Seattle. WA: Oktoberfest 2007, The Bumbershoot Festival 2005, Northwest Folklife Festival 2005, The Tractor Tavern, Neumos, The Crocodile, Neumos The Triple Door, Chop Suey, The Sunset, The Sit & Spin, I-Spy, Café Venus/Mars Bar, Century Ballroom, St. Edwards Park, Tost, Lo-Fi, Nectar Lounge, Hempfest 2002, KBCS 91.3fm’s Summer Concert Series 2003
Spokane, WA: The Zombie Room
Sand Point ID: Schweitzer Mountain Fall-fest 2007
Portland, OR: The Someday Lounge, The Goodfoot, Canitas, Babalu
Eugene: Sam Bonds Garage, Cozmic Pizza
San Francisco: La Pena Cultural Center, The Makeoutroom
Los Angeles: The Conga Room, The Temple Bar (numerous appearances)
San Diego, CA: World Evolution Loft, Casa de la Verde Verdad.
Lake Tahoe, CA: The Divided Sky
Davis CA: Delta Of Venus sponsored by KDVS
Temecula, CA: Temecula Valley International Jazz Festival 2006