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In the music industry, words like “original” and “eclectic” are seemingly thrown around aimlessly when a new artist is being described. Usually, it’s a desperate and obvious attempt to make an act come across as more unique and interesting than they really are. In the case of Ventura, California’s, Rey Fresco, however, “eclectic” doesn’t even begin to describe the band’s diverse musical sound, as well as their equally varied personal backgrounds.

Though their name may sound more like a solo artist, Rey Fresco (Spanish for King Fresh), is a four piece band that over the past year has absolutely exploded in the California music scene. Comprised of soulful lead singer and Fiji native, Roger Keiaho, drummer, Andrew Jones, who builds his own drums with techniques borrowed from surfboard making, bassist, Shawn Echevarria and harpist, Xocoyotzin “Xoco” Moraza, who plays a 36 string Veracruz harp built by his father and also holds a degree in ethnomusicology, Rey Fresco is “the sonic equivalent of a global summit.” (AOL’s Spinner.com)

Despite having completely different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, the Fresco boys have long been friends and notable faces in their local music scene. When they finally came together in the same band after a series of marathon jam sessions, the result was a wholly original sound that blended their mutual love for rock, reggae, soul, world, and Latin music. As harpist, Xoco explains, “Everyone brings something different to the table, musically and personally. Granted, all bands have that to a degree, but, how extreme those elements were in our case, made the result a sound that people have connected to.”
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Almost immediately, in a throwback to the pre-online era, the band cultivated a thriving fan base on the strength of their live shows which feel more like a “come one, come all” party. Their massive local draw resulted in Rey Fresco headlining and selling out the 1,200 plus Ventura Theater, their hometown’s largest venue, where a diverse crowd danced and sang along to songs that had yet to be recorded. In no time, the band’s local success caught the ear of the music industry and they inked a deal to be the first artist and release on Eight O Five Records, an upstart indie label run by veteran management company, Fitzgerald Hartley and distributed by Fontana.

Rey Fresco’s debut record, The People, released digitally in the fall of 2009, has managed to capture the band’s energetic live show but at the same time highlights the quality of the band’s songwriting. From the sing along feel-good vibes of “All in Awe” and “Precious Time” to a rollicking cover of Buena Vista Social Club’s “Chan Chan”, the record is a stunning debut, that, despite the mingling of musical styles, has an overall feeling of unity.

The VCReporter called the record, “a stellar debut, full of vision and hope, that announces the arrival of an important and genre-defying band”. As Rey Fresco attempts to duplicate their homegrown success nationwide, with touring and festival plans scheduled throughout 2010, they remain down to earth and excited to see what the future holds.

“We’re a family connected by our love of all kinds of music.”, explains Moraza. “I think that comes across in our performances and we’re excited to have the chance to bring that feeling to a larger audience.”

Listen to the music of Rey Fresco

Rey Fresco Links:

Rey Fresco Videos:

All In Awe

Live at West Beach Festival

Sierra Nevada World Music Festival


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