San Francisco experimental Latin ensemble Gilberto Rodriguez y Los Intocables

Gilberto Rodriguez y Los Intocables

Photo by Fernando Rodriguez


Straight from the Bay Area comes some very intriguing modern Chicano soul. Gilberto Rodriguez y Los Intocables are dropping their record on August 31, 2018, on Empty Cellar Records. Might want to pre-order this vinyl, since it’s limited to 500 double-LP albums. The great Helsinki-based soul label Timmion Records is cutting the vinyl, which will be encased in a deluxe Stoughton tip-on gatefold. [Cat with heart eyes emoji.]

Listen to their single “Totonita Encantadora” and you’ll see what we mean.

This sick jam, plus nine others on the new album, Sabor Maracuyá Desnuda, were recorded in Oakland and led by bandleader Gilberto Rodriguez on guitars and vocals, Ahkeel Mestayer on percussion, Ruben Sandoval on keys, and brothers Carlos and Jorge Rodriguez on trumpets.

“ ‘Totonita Encantadora’ came together in the studio after dinner,” Gilberto Rodriguez says. “We wanted to spend the rest of the night unwinding on a cumbia arrangement that would eventually become the condensed thirteen-minute track you’re listening to now. Looking back on the album, there’s a rare sonic experimentation delving into the depths of weird Latin soul that takes no precedence over any specific genre but rather is as fluid as the shifting demographics of the U.S. today.

Lyrically, I wanted to approach the track like an incantation using as minimalist an approach as possible with room to improvise over erotic verses. Multi-percussionist, Ahkeel Mestayer dominates the rhythm with timbale giving light to cumbia sonidera territory while Ruben Sandoval’s Rhodes keys hypnotize the listener, break after horn break by the Rodriguez brothers, Carlos and Jorge. ‘Totonita’ is an invitation to infinite pleasures, whispered caresses, and tropical sweat perspiring amongst the most intimately aroused flesh.”

The record has the stamp of approval from Chicano Batman’s Bardo Martinez, who says “Sabor Maracuyá is a sonic reflection of a long journey. It has the ethos of Caetano Veloso’s Transa, full of Afro-Latin grooves with a spontaneous lyrical flow that transcends labels. It’s a feeling that is unique to the thoughts and the mind that created it.”

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