Bandalos Chinos manages to make you sway and dream and rock out to their music all at the same time. A staple of festivals and major amphitheaters across Latin America they have a big following – a very big following. Their song “Vamonos de Viaje” boasts over 10 million streams on Spotify. Their just released EP Mi Manera de Ser was streamed over 100,000 times in 3 days. But if you are in the US they might just not have surfaced in your music consciousness since they come from Argentina and sing mostly in Spanish. Mi Manera de Ser should put them squarely on your radar, no matter what language you speak.
The title song of this short, two-song EP combines dream rock, big anthem excitement, and electronica together into a smooth, jazz-like lyrical meander that keeps your foot tapping. If you follow the lyrics along with the music, either in English or Spanish (both are available on Genius.com) you will be rewarded with lines like…
I spend my days waiting/That I fell in love with my way of being
Waiting for you to fall in love with my way of being
…which make you wonder what it all means, or more likely, saying to yourself as you hit Repeat, “I don’t know what it means but it feels so good to listen to that I will keep on playing it.”
Maybe the mystery feeling is a result of a song written by an entire band, not unheard of these days. Maybe it is the soothing, almost erotic voice of Gregorio Degano that makes it habit forming. Maybe it is all of these things and more. The why doesn’t matter because the music is so good.
The other song on the EP, “AYMG”, which has no meaning as it is the first letters of a nonsense line in Spanish, A yes Y a No Me Gusta , is equally hypnotic and habit forming, but more urgent than the title song. And to me, it is applicable to the movement for justice now in the streets of America and the world.
If your idea of peace/Has sticks and gas
I have to sing/And I already know how.
Tears flooded the city/We are more than your metal suits
Ah, ah, I don’t like it that way anymore
The words are delivered in soft, ethereal vocals, gently accented synth swirls, and muted tom-tom notes. Combined with the lyrics, the song is cognitive dissonance, but so beautiful it doesn’t matter.
The big band making these gentle sounds – six musicians – was founded by Iñaki Colombo and Gregorio “Goyo” Degano when they finished high school. It wasn’t long before Bandalos Chinos had racked up multiple albums, hundreds of thousands and later millions of streams, and rabid fans – like me – who can’t enough of their hypnotic, habit-forming and totally unique music. Because they are so at home on the road and in front of huge live audiences they are chafing at the quarantine lockdown, but they will be on the road as soon as they can. In the mean time they are watching the numbers rack up on Mi Manera de Ser and thinking of new songs.