Rey Fresco to release The People
With a 36-string harp as its foundation, Ventura, CA high school friends Rey Fresco will release 'The People' (Oct 27, Eight O Five), a debut album that fuses the four band-members' varied heritages with their shared SoCal charm. Drawing on classic 'Harder They Come'-era aces (though perhaps with a dash of "D'yer Maker"-style irreverence) and the traditional music of Veracruz called Son Jarocho, Rey Fresco's sound defies easy categorization.
Artist: Rey Fresco
Title: The People
Release date: 10/27/09
Label: Eight O Five
Single: Precious Time
Buy at: Amazon
Just two years ago, Rey Fresco was born out of a marathon jamming session (with breaks for surfing) with drummer Andrew Jones and his friend, harpist Xocoyotzin Moraza (aka Xoco, pronounced sho-ko).
'The People' kicks off with glimmers of "Mother and Child Reunion" on "Fairlie." Singer Roger Keiaho draws on his Fijian heritage honoring the sacred shark on "King of the Sea," a tale set in a minor key with ska percussion and fuzz guitars. There's also a cover of Compay Segundo's "Chan Chan," a popular Cuban song sung here by Xoco. Other highlights include the reflective "Precious Time," a rock instrumental, and fan favorite "All in Awe."
Xoco brings a wealth of musical knowledge to the group not only from the degree in ethnomusicology he earned from UCLA but also from years of studying Son Jarocho. On 'The People,' he plays guitar, requinto jarocho - a traditional Mexican four-string instrument plucked with a bullhorn - and the beautiful harps handmade by his father. Andrew also plays original handmade drums he crafts using techniques borrowed from surfboard making. Roger and bassist Shawn Echevarria bring a Caribbean flavor to the mix from their experiences in local reggae bands.
Xoco explains, "Everyone contributes in their own way and it's the unique elements and the way they come together that are the core of 'The People.'"
Rey Fresco biography
It is difficult to classify the sounds of Rey Fresco. While the word "unique" is too often thrown around, in this case "unique" is fitting when considering Rey Fresco's lead instrument is a 36 string Veracruz harp accompanied by soulful vocals, a pumping bassline, and a booming drum sound resignating from a kit built out of surfboard fiberglass. The VC Reporter calls Rey Fresco "An eclectic, multicultural group of guys with authentic passion for music." The four band members all became friends in high school, but it was not until years later that they started playing music together. Lead singer Roger Keiaho was born in the south pacific Fijian islands, and moved to the United States at the age of five. Simply put, Roger is a natural frontman with captivating vocal ability. Self taught drummer Andrew Jones was born and raised in a small town outside of Philadelphia, until later moving to the west coast. After years of making surfboards, Andrew began to create his own custom fiberglass drum kits that he sells to exclusive drummers. Ventura, CA native Shawn Echevarria picked up the bass in high school and never looked back. Since then Shawn has honed his skills playing with reggae and rock bands prior to joining Rey Fresco. Xocoyotzin Moraza (aka Xoco and pronounced sho-ko) is the harpist, guitarist, and requinto jarocho player in the ensemble. Xoco, born and raised in Ventura , CA, has been playing the traditional music of Veracruz known as the son jarocho for as long as he can remember. After developing into specialist on the harp, requinto jarocho, and the jarana, Xoco studied and earned a degree in Ethnomusicology from UCLA. The unique instrumentation and original songwriting has lead Rey Fresco to organically build a buzz. Most recently to the point of sold out shows along the California coast. Perhaps the VC Reporter put it best when they proclaimed Rey Fresco is "preparing to explode."
"The People" by Rey Fresco - release date: 10/27/09..