Puro Relajo, Navarran’s sweeping band playing Mexican music

This year they will give more than 100 concerts, mainly in Oscade and Navarra, but they are already dreaming of expanding to the rest of Spain and the United States

Although it has always been there, Mexican music, especially ranchera music, became very popular in our country during the 1980s Thanks to the album presented by the Spanish singer Rossio Dorcal record with mexican John Gabriel After meeting him on tour in 1977. Rossio Dorcal sings Juan Gabriel It was a dizzying success on both sides of the Atlantic and had as many as six sequels, the last of which was released in 1984, forever disrupting the singer’s career from Madrid.

The success of these albums opened the doors of Europe for many Mexican singers, who enjoyed extraordinary fame in our country for a few years, made small tours and appeared on television. That fever lasted more or less than a decade, and after that, the popularity of ranchera in our country gradually faded away… Although not in all of Spain.

No one quite knows why Mexican music continues to be respected in the north, especially in Oscar s Navarreor why so many groups and orchestras emerged that not only kept this peculiar cultural exchange alive, but also managed to spread it among younger people with great success, mixing it with radical basque punk rock.

After a few years of falling in the festivals of the elderly, it seems that interest in this musical style is being renewed thanks, above all, to the work of the Navarrese band. Total relaxationFive friends continue to play this music with tremendous success in the towns and cities of these two communities. ETB From time to time, they broadcast one of their concerts, their videos on social networks received hundreds of thousands of views and released seven albums and several videos. In fact, In the last San Fermin, thousands of people danced at his concert in Paseo de Antoniotti, emphasizing them, although we already knew this, as the band most suitable for this musical style. The numbers don’t lie: they hope to wrap up this year with over a hundred concerts.

Similar rhythms

“I have no idea where the love for this music comes from in the Basque Country and in Navarre,” he admits. Jorge Garcia, guitarist and vocalist of Puro Relajo, who greets us the morning after a concert and still has a slightly hoarse voice. “Some say it might have something to do with immigration: Basque shepherds who went to work in the southern United States and Mexico and brought back some records when they came back. The truth is that it was a musical style that made a lot of sense here. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that its rhythms are very similar to jota or Navarrese stamps. In addition, Mexican songs are fun, easy to listen to, and emotional: they tell stories of love, heartbreak, and mldr; I think people here sympathize with that. You already know that people in the North are still more closed off, but they feel a lot.

Puro Relajo was born almost by chance in 2013 at some meeting organized by Mexican music lovers to have dinner and play something in the town of Navarrese in Aibar, located near the border with Aragon. “There was a very nice atmosphere,” George recalls. “Imagine 30 or more people singing The Rancherra after a good dinner. I loved the atmosphere from the start. After one of those evenings, one of the current members of the group, Josu, thought there was a lot of potential and sent several of us an email suggesting we get together to practice. Without any pretext. This was where it all started.

They decided to call themselves Puro Relajo, a common Latin American expression that we can translate as pure party, fun, or prank. “One day, my sister and I thought about what we might call ourselves, the song reminds us reluctanceOne of the most famous Mexican-Basque bands of the 1990s, Los Huajolotes” Jorge remembers. At one point in the song, someone in the background shouted, ‘Total relaxation! “We liked it and stayed with that name.”

All the new band members come from the world of orchestras And younger, brass bands or traditional music groups, so the jump to live playing was quick, developing communication with the audience from day one, which is one of the secrets of their success. “I think that, consciously or unconsciously, the group was born out of entertainment for the audience,” Jorge notes. “We’re not convinced to go out there and play, that there are people who do that and we respect it, but we like to joke a little bit, and get the audience involved, and dance, and reside. Good party. Everyone wants to have a good time, right?

Inevitably, this also ended up affecting the reference that, Although it is still primarily based on Mexican music, some folk and other traditional themes have been incorporated. Euskera is very popular in the area that passed through the band filter, which included arrangements to make it more danceable, and the instrument cluster (guitar, bass, accordion, and trumpets) acquired a uniquely Mexican scent.

“We always wanted to get away from the classic mariachi. We also don’t have great vocals and we weren’t dressed like the typical charo, which is why we wear a black hat and a cowboy hat”

“We have always wanted to stay away from the classic mariachi,” Jorge explains. “We don’t have great voices and we wouldn’t dress like a typical charro, which is why we wear a black beanie and a cowboy hat. Playing mexican songs only was a rather limited track so we knew we were going to evolve towards other things and when we saw the audience would let us do it it all sounded good to them because they know us we saw we had a good feeling and they had good fun we made the move & rdquo;

Every time more young people

Jorge admits that the bet was initially intended to attract the interest of a larger audience, influenced by nostalgia, but also Little by little, they see younger faces in public. “Our audience she was Mayor ” Jorge asserts, “But we have been increasingly surprised by the number of young people who come to our concerts and stand up front and give everything. They remind us of when we were 20 and we were some Mexican geeks. They are like kids who are now 50 to 60 years old. They seem to have loved What we do is residing to see us & rdquor;

The places where they play also evolve. Without giving up the city festivals, they went to play in theaters such as Gayarre, the most important in the city of Pamplona, ​​or in the Kursaal in Donosti with all tickets sold out. They still have a little higher level to hit their ground, so the dream of the group now, with no intention of forgetting their current fans, is to start playing outside their comfort zone. “We had some experiences in La Rioja or Aragon or in a town in Badajoz called Montemollen which went very well,” he explains. “And we want to keep expanding, even if it means starting from scratch with people who don’t know us at all. We are confident that we will be able to win over any audience thanks to our experience. Perhaps the interest in this music is a little less in other areas, but a lot of People still remember Rossio Dercal’s songs and surely know the great classics and some of the songs we played from the ’70s.We’d love to play in Leon, in Avila, in Catalonia, in Madrid & mldr;I think it would work&rdquoor;.

In the end, Jorge explained that their YouTube videos make them reach audiences they had never imagined before. “The closer we get to playing in the United States or even in Mexico, and throughout Latin America, there are many txokos (Basque gastronomic communities) where we would like to perform ” admits.

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