All the photos in this blog are by Chris Smith.
Richmond-based salsa band Bio Ritmo has been playing their progressive, original, 70s Puerto Rican-style salsa for over 20 years. The lineup has changed over the years, but one thing has remained the same – true, pushing-the-limits, road-warrior musicians. I first saw this band at an art show in Washington, DC and was instantly a fan.
Marlysse Simmons, the keyboard player and the only female in the band (what a trooper!), eventually became both a good friend and my piano teacher. She was amazing – teaching me theory, music history, son montuno, and bossa nova styles. Keep your eye on Marlysse, because you will be hearing about her. Marlysse has a side project – doing her Brazilian electronica stuff – another love of hers. For now, we’ll focus on the amazing salsa of Bio Ritmo and we’ll check out Marlysse’s alter ego in another post in the near future.
Bio Ritmo is getting some of the recognition they deserve after many years playing festivals and show after show. They consistently put out innovative, original, avant-guarde “indie” salsa. Recently they were featured on PRI’s The World and NPR and other blogs and magazines. Please listen and baile if you feel it and sent this off to your salsa-music-loving friends!
Here they are playing “La Verdad” which features that more edgy contemporary electronic sound.
They can also hang with the classic, straight-up salsa played by legends like La Sonora Ponceña. Here they are playing a festival in France with special guests doing their original song “Tu No Sabes”:
Here’s an interesting video from a song off their latest album. The song is “Majadero”:
You can listen to clips of their entire album of the same title and download the album on their website here.