CITY OF ORIGIN:
MEMBERS & INSTRUMENTS:
Erasmo “Sal” Salgado (rhythm guitar, vocals); Isela Salgado (vocals, shaker); David Robinson (lead guitar); Nando Vargas (upright bass); Edgar “Steady Eddie” Carrasco (percussion); Professor Steve Hellerman (harmonica); Jeremy “Raz” Norton (drums).
Johnny and June Cash, The Captain and Tennille (OK, not really), Sonny and Cher (all right, really not really).
For nearly four years, Sal and Isela Salgado have been traversing SoCal with a unique cross-cultural sensitivity that’s embedded in their brilliant, bilingual repertoire. Their site lays it out: “Mexicanized American/Americanized Mexican music.” And as it seems, they’re getting the love from both ends of this continuum, whether it’s in folky acoustic duo form or the more powerful ensemble setup (a.k.a. Sal and Isela con Los Salerosos).
According to Sal, the aforementioned blend has lead to some rather surprising results, particularly from the many non-Spanish speaking Americans who compliment the act.
“They may not understand it, but they can feel the music and harmony,” he says. However, “I wouldn’t say this project is particularly an attempt at bridging any gap. We’re proud of both the cultures we grew up in, proud to be living in the greatest country in the world, but also never forgetting where our parents and grandparents came from and the struggle it took to get here. We’re playing the music we would enjoy listening to if we were not doing this ourselves. We’re having fun doing it and if other people dig it, that is icing on the cake and we appreciate it.”
The icing’s been reciprocated as the Salgados (they’re married) have earned the respect from a who’s who of IE-based musicians who’ve assembled as their backing band. Still, no matter what guise or language is being sung (read Sal’s work-in-progress lyrics to “El Remate” about frequenting Riverside’s Van Buren swap meet on their MySpace page), Sal and Isela are all about delivering the best goods possible, devoid of pretension and kitsch.
“We like to mix it up during our live gigs, playing familiar-sounding original tunes and cover songs that most people will recognize,” Sal says. “We strive to give our presentations a retro feel and hopefully take people back to a time when it was about the music and not so much the image.”
Sal and Isela con Los Salerosos at the Plum House Coffee Club, 3882 12th St., Riverside, (951) 784-1369, Sat, 8PM; at the Mission Tobacco Lounge, 3630 University Ave., Riverside, (951) 682-4427, Mon, 9PM.