A Rare U.S. Visit from La Vela Puerca

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(Writer Jose Galvan will be previewing a handful of bands in anticipation of the Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC) taking place in NYC July 9 – 13)

Historically, Uruguay doesn’t have too many rock bands that have impacted the international music scene.

In fact… they have exactly two: No Te Va Gustar and the one I will be focusing on in this post — La Vela Puerca.

But what they lack in number of bands, they make up for in size, because these bands roll deep! I’m talking no less than 8 members, horns, trumpets, saxophones, and at least one dude with dreads.

La Vela Puerca started out as a fast paced ska-rock outfit in Montevideo amidst the wave of Latin ska bands of the mid 1990’s.

Despite being dismissed early on as another Fabulosos Cadillacs copy cat by critics, they created enough buzz to catch the attention of iconic producing duo, Gustavo Santaolalla & Aníbal Kerpel and were signed to a major label.

What stylistically began as straight ahead Latin ska has, in the span of 7 albums, matured into an amalgamate of rock fusion with local Uruguayan sounds sprinkled in.

I would even say that some of their heavier, guitar driven songs are closer to compatriot punk band Trotsky Vengaran than fellow genre contemporaries like NTVG or La Mosca Tsé Tsé. As with many bands in this genre, their lead singer sounds as if he gargles with glass, which is probably a good byproduct of rocking to stadium crowds for the past 15 years.

They don’t come to the U.S. too often, so if you can catch them while they’re here this summer for LAMC do so.

Nothing says summer like a rocking 8 piece ska band!