Born in Nicaragua in the middle of the country’s violent revolution during the 1960s and 70s, Jose Galeano and his family fled to the United States with he was just a boy, creating an identity struggle growing-up as a Spanish-speaking Nicaraguan in the middle of a white-cultured New York. He began performing at the age of six under the heavy influence of his uncle Chepito, who himself was a widely successful, world-touring percussionist and timbale player (chiefly with Santana).
Thus far, Galeano has gotten out of life and his career what he’s put into it. An integral member of the Austin-based, Latin-funk phenomenon Grupo Fantasma, Galeano has a Grammy and 2 nominations under his belt, and that’s a metric that will inarguably increase as his prolific career continues. He titles his solo project after his surname, and with this endeavor, the game is spelled R-H-Y-T-H-M. 11 members strong, rhythm is the absolute core of Galeano, pushing the momentum ever forward without ever once getting out of control.
The sound here has a smattering of colors from an array of genres, blending everything from blues to funk stamped with that trademark Latin-Afro flavor that’s become synonymous with Galeano’s musical identity. The choice to employ such a myriad of sounds stems directly from Galeano’s stalwart pushing against borders and the walls they threaten to erect. “El Gue Gue” showcases all of this excitement, brandishing a fully filled-out rhythm section infused with funky basslines, keys, and (not surprisingly) a horn section to boot. All it asks is that “Poganse de pie y bailen el gue gue!” (Everybody on your feet and dance the gue gue.) Boogie on!
Catch Galeano every Tuesday this month during their residency at Antone’s.
-Taylor Wallace// host, Thursdays 8-11P & Saturdays 2-6P; Producer, Eklektikos with John Aielli