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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Latin sounds

Published March 15, 2007 Washington Times

A lot has happened since 2003, the last time lead singer Andrea Echeverri and her Colombian rock band Aterciopelados came to the Washington area. She took time off to be with her newborn daughter, had a stellar debut solo album and is now back touring the U.S. to promote "Oye," the group's critically acclaimed new LP. She still fondly remembers the night at the Kennedy Center's packed Millennium Stage when the Latin Grammy winners (who have sold out numerous major venues throughout Latin America and Europe) performed free for several thousand lucky fans. "They were incredibly warm," Miss Echeverri said earlier this month in soft-spoken English during a phone interview from her home in Bogota. "A Puerto Rican couple invited me to their cafe," she recalls, adding that she still thinks about the funky crowd and all the "amazing hairstyles" in the audience. This is the sort of fuzzy, happy vibe that Aterciopelados (Spanish for Velvety Ones) has been putting out for years. Their music has gone from electronica to funk, to pop, to more traditional rock and roll. Through it all, the band has managed to blend traditional Latin rhythms such as bossa nova, vallenato, sambuco, cumbia and salsa while singing on range of topics from violence and corruption in Miss Echeverri's homeland to abusive relationships.
In the new album, she speaks about the "hypersexualization" of society in "Oye Mujer" ("Hey girl"), a song that makes women "forget how powerful and beautiful we really are." There are several songs with lighter moods in the new album as well. "Complemento" ("You complement me"), for example, is an upbeat love ballad about her husband, with a catchy hook and melodic use of South American panpipes.
"La Pipa de La Paz" ("The Pipe of Peace") the hit song from their 1996 debut album "El Dorado" features panpipes, heavy percussion and deep, sultry vocals from Miss Echeverri, who talks about people doing the rain dance in a paradisiacal setting while passing along a peace pipe — a perfect example of her sometimes spacey persona. Aterciopelados performs Monday at the State Theatre, 220 N. Washington St., Falls Church ( with D.C. Latin rock group Stone Gato as the opening act. Doors open at 7 p.m., with showtime at 8:30 p.m. — Alfredo Flores

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