For over 20 years, Nosotros has been combining Latin rhythms with rock, salsa, jazz and cumbia to the delight of audiences across the Southwest. The nine-piece band has been featured twice on National Public Radio’s Alt Latino and has won 11 New Mexico Music Awards. In addition, the band has twice won the John Lennon Songwriting Competition for their original music.
So, if you are looking for a sure good time, head down to KTAOS Solar Center this Saturday (Jan. 20) at 8 p.m. and hear Nosotros throw down a dance party to remember. Cover is only $5 at the door.
Nosotros (the band’s name translates as “us”) has its beginnings as a 1994 guitar trio from Las Cruces, New Mexico. It quickly grew into a full-fledged band and made two albums in Las Cruces before relocating to the Santa Fe/ Albuquerque area. Nosotros has released six studio albums in total. Their latest, produced in 2016, is titled “En El Mas Alla.”
In an interview with Tempo, Nosotros drummer Dennis Javier Jasso said some of the highlights of 2017 included opening for the Grammy-winning band Grupo Fantasma at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe as well as opening for multi-Grammy winners Ozomatli at the Taos Fourth of July concert held at Kit Carson Park.
In addition last May, Nosotros released a song called “Tumba.” The collaboration piece, written by Tony Lujan, was named the 2017 “Best Latin Song” at the New Mexico Music Association’s award ceremony. “Tumba” features Ozomatli’s Asdru Sierra on vocals, Grammy Nominee Otmaro Ruíz on keyboard, Bob Sheppard on saxophone, Chris Buckholz on trombone, Sina Soul on rap vocals and many other guest artists.
Jasso said Nosotros started working on material for a new album in 2017, one they hope to release before the end of 2018. He is one of the songwriters for the band. Since Nosotros’ lyrics are in Spanish, and Jasso is not a native speaker of the language, he said he will check his lyrics and often rework them with one of the band’s native speakers.
“The lyrics are usually collaborative between the songwriters and one of the native speakers in the band,” said Jasso. “I’d say the lyrics are one of the last things we finalize. The theme of what we are trying to get across is there from the beginning, but the final lyrics are last to be put in.”
Jasso is currently working on a song that is inspired by today’s political environment. The song’s title is “Mentiras” which translates as “lies” in English.
“It’s talking about politicians and the lies that they say,” said Jasso. “Right now, in our political climate, it’s a big deal for us. A lot of our audience is made up of immigrants and the band is made up of immigrants, so it’s a hot topic for us.”
Jasso said he has been a part of the band for so long that, “It’s just my identity. It’s what I am.”
“I love that I can tell people I play with Nosotros and they’ve heard of the band, and I can take ownership in that. I love meeting all the people that we meet at different venues and colleagues, other musicians. It’s just a fun thing to be a part of.”
“We’ve been together so long so we’ve developed really strong relationships,” said Jasso. He added that the band members treat each other like family, not just co-workers.
The current line-up of Nosotros is Glenn Contreras (lead vocals), Carlos Fontana (lead vocals), Shane Derk (guitar), Randy Sánchez (tres, guitar), Manuel Ramírez (saxophone), Gilbert Uribé (bass), Ricky Carrido (congas), Jesse Joaquin Parker (vibes, percussion) and Dennis Javier Jasso (drums).
On March 15, Nosotros will perform for the Lensic Theater’s “Globalfest on the Road: The New Golden Age of Latin Music.” The New Mexico band will open for Las Cafeteras from Los Angeles and the all-female Flor de Toloache, winners of the 2017 Latin Grammy for Best Ranchero/Mariachi Album.