May 14, 2009

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Music of the sun
deSoL shines on southern NH
By Katie Beth Ryan music@hippopress.com

Make a list of hubs for Latin music across the country, and chances are New Hampshire won’t show up on it. But Albie Monterrosa, lead singer of self-described “American Latin rock” group deSoL, insists that few places have been as welcoming and as receptive to the rock-Latin fusion in which his group specializes as the Granite State.

“When you look at SoundScan, and our records, and when we look at ticket sales, we do the best up in New England,” said Monterrosa via phone from his home in New Jersey. “It’s because of New Hampshire, and because of that area, and those radio stations like The River that have really helped us. There is a feeling of really loving true music up in New Hampshire. There’s no bulls**t about being trendy or being what’s hot right now. If it rocks, if it’s good, if it’s true, you guys gravitate towards it and that’s OK by me, man.”

deSoL — Spanish for “of the sun” — will return the love in two separate fundraisers in the next week. They’ll play a Cinco de Mayo benefit concert for Families in Transition, sponsored by WXRV, on May 16 at the Event Center at C.R. Sparks in Bedford. From there, they’ll take a field trip to Lebanon on May 22 to play alongside Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes at the Lebanon Opera House, with money raised going to Child and Family Services of New Hampshire. The two shows will be some of the first the band has played after a year-long hiatus spent relaxing, reading and catching up with their families after the whirlwind touring and recording that began at the 2005 South by Southwest Festival in Austin.

“On the road, it’s so hard to get away sometimes. You travel with 10 people,” Monterrosa said. “It’s hard to even just go and meditate in the wilderness or anywhere. You can sit on top of the RV … but everybody’s around. It’s just difficult.”

Along with his bandmates, Monterrosa has also spent time writing songs for deSoL’s third studio record, which they’ll record over the summer and will be released by the end of 2009. They’ve enjoyed success on the touring circuit with other American Latin rock groups, but Monterrosa said that Latin artists on the whole have not yet made a breakthrough with the American listening public.

“It’s always to me a surprise, because every now and then a band kind of peeks up and says, ‘Hey, we’re here,’ but there hasn’t really been a movement,” he said, using the examples of groups like Los Lonely Boys and perennial artists like Carlos Santana, who have made waves on Top 40 radio over the last decade. But the essence of most Latin music is its rhythmic quality, an important musical aspect that’s been overlooked since the advent of American Idol.

“Spirituality and artistry is definitely in a lot of the Latin music, and I don’t know if that’s ready to come up in the mainstream,” he said. “I think the status of American Latin rock … is still on the underground and rising, because there’s a lot of first-generation Latino-Americans like myself, doing music like that.”

Looking ahead to recording its next album, the group hopes to follow up on the successes of its self-titled debut CD and On My Way. At the same time, deSoL is, in Monterrosa’s eyes, a band that most thrives when playing live.

“The records are great, they’re always stuck in time, but the live shows are always important. They’re transforming, because we’re taking a moment and making it into something, creating … energy with our rhythms and our music, giving it to our fans, they give it back, that whole spin of a live show [is] so important for us.”


deSoL
Find deSoL online at www.desolmusic.com, where you can get lyrics, news and links to band videos. Upcoming New Hampshire appearances include these:

• Families in Transition’s Cinco de Mayo celebration, which starts at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 16, at the Event Center at C.R. Sparks, 18 Kilton Road in Bedford, and includes dancing and silent and live auctions. Tickets cost $125 per person, and include two drink tickets. Purchase tickets via www.fitnh.org/cinco.

• Concert with Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes at the Lebanon Opera House (51 North Park St. in Lebanon) on Friday, May 22, at 7:30 p.m., as a benefit for Child and Family Services of New Hampshire. Tickets cost $38 and are available at the Lebanon Opera House, 448-0400, www.lebanonoperahouse.org.

• Tupelo Music Hall (2 Young Road in Londonderry), Friday, Aug. 21, at 8 p.m. Buy tickets ($25) at www.tupelohall.com or by calling 437-5100.