QUITAPENAS (“one word–all caps, four syllables–all claps”) is a group of five young men based in the Inland Empire region of southern California. The group’s live, vibrant percussive sound simultaneously invokes multiple times and places, from 2015 Los Angeles, to 1970s Angola, to 1950s Colombia. The members–Hector “Toto” Chavez (vocals, bass, sax), Daniel “Choco” Gomez (vocals, guitar), David “Dirty” Quintero (caja, bongo, campana, bajo), Mark Yona Villela (guache, guacharaca), and Eduardo Salvador Valencia (congas, tambora)–hail from different Latin-American backgrounds. The music they make is clearly both a tribute to specific Afro-Latin styles such as vallenato, chicha or merengue, and a fusion that includes disparate elements. The vocals are energetic and raw, the percussion is up-front and driving and the delicious, intricate guitar and bass lines guide the tunes from powerful start to raging finish. As the group name implies (and to quote Robert Nesta Marley), when the music hits you, you feel no pain. We highly recommend that you stream or purchase their eponymous debut full-length album which came out earlier this year, here:
Now…for something completely awesome: the video for “Valle Moreno,” the lead track on the album, produced by Grime Haus. The opening titles read, “Mas Tropical Home Video,” which pretty much sums up the aesthetic of the video: brightly colored, constantly shifting backgrounds and titles, the sudden appearance of cartoon piñas (pineapples), palm trees, cacti and guitars, and shots of the dudes with sunglasses and instruments, drenched in VHS color-correction fuzz. Under the closing credits we get even more lo-fi and personal–live and rehearsal footage interspersed with shots of cooking and driving, leaving us with the feeling that these guys know how to throw a party and keep the energy high.