Ay Caracas! Venezuelan band Los Crema Paraiso Throws a Party

Si*Sé’s guitarist Neil Ochoa, Los Amigos Invisibles’ percussionist José Luis Pardo (a.k.a. DJ Afro) and multi-band bass player Alvaro Benavides weren’t messing around when they formed powerful trio Los Crema Paraiso almost a year ago. The New York–based Venezuelans wanted to fuse their country’s joropo music with rock, funk and electronica, and it appears that they have.

They recently released a debut album appropriately titled El Debut that celebrates their roots while drawing on their many influences (Tom Jobim, Pink Floyd, The Police). The instrumental CD has eight tracks that include Venezuelan songs, rock anthems and original pieces. I caught up with Neil Ochoa ahead of the record’s release party tonight:

How would you describe the album?

Eclectic-psychedelic Venezuelan sounds.

What are some of these “Venezuelan sounds?”

Joropos, valses (waltz), tonadas, merengues, Caraqueños.

What’s your favorite song and why?

They change from time to time. But right now my favorite track is actually “My Favorite Things.” I like the way we broke the song in three different parts to tell the story, going from moody sounds to vals to heavy rock back to vals.

Have a listen to track no. 8, “El Catire,” and if you’re in New York this evening, stop by Drom (85 Avenue A; 212-777-1157) to listen to the live version.



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About this author

Grace Bastidas, Deputy Editor

Born and raised in Queens, New York, where more languages are spoken than anywhere in the world, Grace Bastidas is Latina’s Deputy Editor. She oversees lifestyle content, including topics as diverse as career, health and relationships, and occasionally writes about her own experiences in The Good Life section. As a writer, Grace’s work has appeared in The New York TimesNew York magazine, The Wall Street Journal and Travel + Leisure. She is fluent in Spanish.

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