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ASI SOMOS

Prog Folk • Puerto Rico


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Asi Somos biography
ASÍ SOMOS are a band from Puerto Rico who incorporate afro-Caribbean jazz, rumba, reggae, folk, and Puerto Rican pop in an energetic and highly percussive blend of modern progressive folk. The band's origins date to 2000, where family members Cecilio, Ismar. Duamed and Orlando formed a group to play festivals and events around the island and neighboring areas.

The band's first album 'Injurias' was released to limited distribution in 2002, and they followed it with a 2007 release 'Silencio'.

ASÍ SOMOS compositions are rich in imagery promoting ecological and social themes, and demonstrating its member's lifetime commitment to musical exploration.

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ASI SOMOS discography


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ASI SOMOS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 3 ratings
Injurias
2002
4.00 | 2 ratings
Silencio
2007

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ASI SOMOS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Silencio by ASI SOMOS album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Silencio
Asi Somos Prog Folk

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Silence? But not now, rejoice with its music!

It is always a pleasure to listen and discover new material from bands that are still unknown within this musical realm, even more, within this progressive rock realm. If I asked you, do you know any Caribbean prog band?, your answer would probably be a NO, even you may ask to yourself, does prog music exist there?, and is where now I happily say, YES.

Así Somos is a band from Puerto Rico which is celebrating their 10 anniversary as such; who have released so far 2 albums, the first being "Injurias" back in 2002, and the one I am reviewing now released in 2007 and entitled "Silencio". The band has a strong and interesting mixture of several musical elements; in their music you will find a foklish oriented prog rock, what I love from them is that they don't deny their roots, I mean, they are creating different kind of Caribbean music (prog), but using typical sounds from their land. So if you want to explore to some new and refreshing music, when you'll listen to prog rock, jazz, and latin American rhythms, Así Somos is an excellent choice.

This album contains 15 songs and a total time of 54 minutes, and kicks off with a strong instrumental song entitled "Paragorn", with a fascinating violin sound, accompanied by some wind instruments and a constant drumming, a thing that I would like to remark, is that they added orchestral arrangements to this album, so it sounds fantastic.

"La Mafia" Is the first song featuring vocals, I really like that gently voice, and since I am a native Spanish speaker, I really enjoy the lyrics. Here, musically you will find that own and unique Asi Somos' sound, full of Caribbean elements which may put you in a dancing mood, several percussion instruments and the "classic rock" instruments such as guitar, bass and drums. The song is delicious and intrepid, an example is when it reaches minute 4 and all of a sudden those orchestral arrangements and a choir appear to add that special touch to the music, which was not used in their past album. Great song.

"Oda a Mi Generación" is a reggae-like song that tells a very nice story, and that also incorporates some wind instruments here and there and with a very kind rhythm, creating a beautiful sound. The next piece is called "Rumba" which is a mini song that as the name suggests, evokes you to the rumba world. Immediately after it ends, a new song appears, "Mi Canción" which also incorporates a rich sax sound, delicate percussion games, a very nice acoustic guitar and of course, a beautiful violin sound. This song has also some mini changes inside, so suddenly the instruments create a complete different atmosphere, but seconds later it returns as it began. Again, the addition of a choir makes a great complement for the song. It finishes with that rumba style of the previous track.

"Estudio 1" is another short but excellent musical composition, when you can appreciate their excellent musicianship and talent, here the sax and violin interplay all the time and create a fabulous mood, I would also like to mention the drummer's work, which is always in the right moment. Excellent!

"Musa de un Velero" start with some orchestral arrangements and sound like an old film's episode, but seconds later little by little the percussion enter, so it gives a different perspective of the music. The vocals return here as well as that gently sound, but a couple of minutes later it becomes a complete Caribbean song, so you may want to dance, but wait, because later it returns to the soft and of course, no-dancing sound.

"Ola Nocturna" follows the style of this record, a nice introduction and then you know, violin, drums, acoustic guitar, sax and vocals, this song may be one of those I like singing, very catchy and pretty first, but later you will find excellent violin and sax solos, then it returns to that happy and catchy style.

"Estudio 2" is a pretty short choral song which is like the introduction to the following track, "Descendiente" which is alike to the other songs, I mean the album as a whole is working really good. The music is excellent, and the lyrics also great, here there are some spoken words before minute 2, and that vocal choir appears here suddenly, intelligently placed in the right moment.

"Estudio 3", naturally is another short instrumental piece that works as the prelude of another longer track, but this time this short passage reminded me to a Yann Tiersen theme within a French film. So this short piece opens the space to the title track "Silencio", starting with some vocals and a kind of dramatic mood, but later it becomes really Caribbean, I mean a delicious dancing rhythm which is very well accompanied by the violin sound. In some moments along the whole album, when both violin and sax or trumpet interplay, remind me to some VdGG passages, so prog may not be their obvious rhythm but it does exist here and works very well. There is a small part on this song when the mood changes completely due to those orchestrations and choirs, but it sounds specially good because while you are listening to the folk elements from Puerto Rico, all of a sudden you´ll find a medieval and nervous sound, excellent song, one of the best here, if not the best.

"Solsticio", different from the others, it starts with a soft acoustic guitar sound, like a kind of lullaby at the beginning, but later drums and sax appear with the same soft sound, as well as the vocals. This is another catchy song which you may classify as a pop song, but believe me it is really good.

"Cachita" is a track that my mother and I immediately recognized, originally composed by Rafael Hernández, who is an icon in Puerto Rico, but arranged by the talented Asi Somos. I told you about my mother because since she was a kid, my family called her "Cache" and of course she was familiar with this song. An excellent introduction passage that some seconds later turns into that "Boricua" sound, to be honest I am not a real fan of Caribbean traditional styles, but cannot deny that I like some songs and when I am in the mood, I even have the will of dancing, incredible.

The album finishes with "Palabras Locas", whose complete version is found in their debut album, I mean while there lasts almost 10 minutes, here was a reduced 4 minute song. The Injurias version is much better for me because I believe there you can listen to what the really wanted to create in those 10 minutes; here, the addition of orchestral elements also helps the song to create a completely new atmosphere, which is also excellent, but you know, I prefer the long one.

Since the first time I listened to Silencio, I felt really happy and was convinced that this album would put a smile on my face, and I was correct. Así Somos managed to create a joyful record, which invite the listener to get deep into their traditional music, but mixed with another elements, the sound here show the maturity the band got with some years of effort, so, if you are willing to discover new music from a different part of the world, please pay attention to Así Somos, from Puerto Rico.

Special thanks to Cecilio, who kindly invited me to enjoy their second album.

My final grade, 4 stars.

Enjoy it!!

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 Injurias by ASI SOMOS album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.00 | 3 ratings

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Injurias
Asi Somos Prog Folk

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Hey, i want some caribbean prog!

We, as members or collaborators or even just lurkers of PA, have the incredible advantage of spreading our knowledge everytime we click on this site, because there are a lot of things, bands and music to discover. Besides, if we know some of the members here is another advantage because all of us have some recommendations and hidden treasures ready to be discovered, this band called Así Somos was a recommendation of my fellow progfriend Rubén (chamberry) who has to be proud of this band, and another superb one which is Astrid Pröll, both of them are prog bands from Puerto Rico so you can see that fortunately the world of progressive rock is everywhere, even in America Central, where one may think it's impossible to find music linked to our tastes. Ladies and gentleman, let me introduce you to Asi Somos.

So, Así Somos is a band from Puerto Rico which is composed by several members, by the surnames i believe they are familiars or relatives, and i am fully convinced that every of the members have different musical tastes, and we can notice that in this album.

Injurias released in 2002 and (i don't really know the band's history, so forgive me if i'm wrong) debut album consists on 8 songs and a total time of almost 50 minutes, it is a trip to the Caribbean sea where you will enjoy an amazing blend of musical styles such as salsa, reggae or affrican music gathered together with a true prog folk spirit, so like it or not, you hardly will listen an album like this.

The album opens with Pangea which is a really short piece and a strong introduction to the album, instrumental and full of energy.

Padonde starts with some bass sound and then we can listen to the first of the exotic rythms, which is the reggae, also in this song is the first time we will listen to the vocals, all of this is accompanied by some sax which make a jazzy sound, then the song has some changes and the prog rock part of the song is evident, nice violin also is featured at the middle of the song, the second part is full of salsa and a true latin-american feeling, i actually am not fan of Salsa or some others rythms, so this part of the song is not particularly my favourite one, though what i like is that they dared to create this mix of sounds and rythms.

Palabras Locas start with some wind instruments and an acoustic guitars along with a soft drumming, the music is really enjoyable very soft and warm, there are vocals and maybe i would say the first minutes of the song are catchy or a bit poppy, but at the same time the folk elements used make it better and more prog folk oriented, there is a good sax solo in the middle, inviting you to enjoy the music you are listening to the moment and in the last part, the violin takes the leadership of the song, pretty cool.

Incultos along with the previous song, are the longest tracks of the album with a duration of 9 minutes each one, this song starts with some soft guitars and then suddenly it makes a bombastic crescendo ala RIO, but almost immediately the musicians manage to create the always noticeable latin american feeling, without losing the proggy element, so their creativity really deserves applause and attention, this song i like because also makes me sing (uno al frente y uno atras)

Dos Minutos comfortable guitar chords along with some violin are played before the vocals enters, then the song has some kind of sax vs violin duel, a very good instrumental moment and totally folk, the song is actually a bit slow, so you may get bored in some moment, good song but there are better moments on the album.

Arboles is probably my less favourite song here, i think despite the nice music created, it becomes pretty plain in some moments even when the reggae style comebacks to it, which is not new since the reggae rythm is plain itself, the best of the song are the lyrics probably.

Cometas del tiempo is a song with a happy feeling, it shows some traditional elements and a nice predominant acoustic guitar, the vocals are very good actually i hadn´t talked about it previously, but it´s a voice with a tasty colour, some violins and flute over the song, there is a great instrumental moment which reminds me to some Japanese RIO bands, and the best of the song is the capacity of making a dramatic change, because it suddenly becomes a Puerto Rico song, very traditional with that Latin American/salsa feeling, also the lyrics show they are proud of being Boricuas.

Injurias the title track and the last song of the album, the intro is again ala RIO and then the soft vocals and acoustic instruments make the song even softer and more beautiful in moments, this is an excellent closer!

I want to thank Rubén for this great recommendation, what i like the most about this album is that after all i think is unique, i haven´t listened anything alike, this mix of salsa, latin, reggae, prog folk music, makes this album a really worth listening, though it does have it's pros and cons, some plain moments and if you dont like any of the above mentioned rythms then you will find it quite annoying, anyway you should give a try to this original album.

Personal grade, 3.75, for PA a final 3 star.

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 Injurias by ASI SOMOS album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.00 | 3 ratings

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Injurias
Asi Somos Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars Progressive folk from Puerto Rico. You won’t hear that phrase much, but Así Somos are the real deal that seem to have the right credentials in terms of influences. They also have the creativity to blend folk compositions with salsa and Afro-Caribbean rhythms, plus both native and modern instruments and come up with a pretty unique sound. This is not only good prog-folk, it is dance music that will get your foot tapping and put a smile on your face. No dirge-like chamber strings here, so have some loose clothes and comfortable shoes on when you play this album.

The other thing worth pointing out is that violin prog-fans will find plenty to love here. Violinist Duamed Colón Carrión dominates on most of the more progressive (i.e., less dance-oriented) tracks, including the quite beautiful “Palabras Locas”. I’ve always had a soft spot for Latin string players because of the innate sense of passion they bring to that instrument, and Carrión is no exception. On the more salsafied and jazz numbers he fades into the mix a bit and does a bit more plucking than seems necessary (“Incultos” and “Cometas del Tiempo” in particular), but for the most part songs like “Palabras Locas” , “Dos Minutos” and the title track wouldn’t have the same emotive feel to them without his strings.

The lyrics are all in Spanish so they’re a bit hard to follow without the English translations, but it doesn’t take much Spanish language knowledge to know that they tend toward earthy and cultural themes and are not all that serious and sometimes even outwardly humorous. Something about living on an island seems to make people a little less uptight I think. Probably for the best.

Based on what I can see from the band’s web site and various Puerto Rican cultural sites I think these guys probably make their living playing live shows, so the locally-popular nuances in their music (and particularly the tendency to introduce dance rhythms into almost every song) is pretty understandable. Nonetheless this is clearly progressive music, just probably best classified as of the ‘world’ variety. Think Osibisa but more Latin and you’ll get a pretty good sense of what these guys are all about.

This isn’t a masterpiece or essential classic or anything like that, but it certainly is a very good album infused with lots of energy, passion and goodwill. If you are strictly a metal-head or someone who only listens to records that were released prior to the advent of the personal computer and push-button phones then these guys probably won’t appeal to you much – you might want to invest in another Doors compilation and call it a day. Otherwise I think you’ll find this to be an entertaining and refreshing hour of your time. Well recommended with three stars.

peace

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 Injurias by ASI SOMOS album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.00 | 3 ratings

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Injurias
Asi Somos Prog Folk

Review by chamberry
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Bringing Puerto Rico to Prog fans all around the world.

Así Somos is a Puertorican group that mixes Progressive Rock with various styles like salsa, rumba, Puertorican folk music, reggae, afro-caribbean jazz and others. If you guys already know something about Caribbean music you'll know how vivid, colorful and full of pride the music is and Así Somo reflects that perfectly. The interesting thing about all of this is that they play all of those different music styles in a Progressive Rock context so the music is more dynamic and demanding while still being accessible enough to even dance to it! (who said prog wasn't danceable?)

Like I previously said, Así Somos' music is very diverse and accessible. All of the songs have a different combination of styles in it. You'll be listening to Salsa at the beginning, then to a reggae beat and end up with a violin / sax solo by the end of the song. The music is also very organic and all the instruments played (except the 6-string bass) are acoustic which gives the music a Spring feeling. The songs all have a great sense of melody, complexity and feel that can be normally seen in traditional Prog bands. The lyrics tell us about different ideas and feelings like patriotism, nature, Puertorican culture and even a funny story about "uncultured beings" (aliens) going to Puerto Rico and then end up getting hooked on drugs, all of this is sang in a tongue-in-cheek fashion and with a Puertorican slang. The music is fairly bombastic in many places even though they mostly use acoustic instruments. The song that impressed me the most when talking about their bombastic sound is the end of "Injurias" which sounds as if the part of the song was taken out of a Van Der Graaf Generator song with David Jackson on the sax and everything!

Así Somos is a great cultural (and musical, of course) experience that fans of folk music and Prog from across the world might be interested in. The album may have needed a little bit of trimming and it would be even better, but still this is a great album to listen to. Prog fans with an eclectic taste will find great enjoyment on this album.

Almost 4 stars (3.8 , 3.9?)

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Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the artist addition.

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