Sep 17, 2013
06:07 AM
Arts & Entertainment

Cool Justice: In a Cosmic Jibaro/Acoustic Trance with Musician Rick Reyes

Cool Justice: In a Cosmic Jibaro/Acoustic Trance with Musician Rick Reyes

Contributed photo

Rick Reyes with Johnny Durkin at Central Connecticut State University.

Woke up today with the sounds of optimism, struggle and heartbreak. The treat came via my favorite of the totally fantastic Cosmic Jibaros, Rick Reyes.

What, you may ask, is a jibaro?

In Puerto Rico, los jibaros are distant cousins to American hillbillies or mountain men. As Reyes puts it: “They are historically known for a more simple and honest connection to the earth and the hard work of living – with a musical connection to reflect that.”

I first saw Cosmic Jibaros several years ago at Black Eyed Sally’s in Hartford and then The Hartford Club, La Cupola in Litchfield and Central Connecticut State University. Their blend of progressive Latin rock, salsa, merengue, jazz and storytelling put me in some kind of cosmic trance to which I return whenever possible.

At CCSU, Reyes and percussionist Johnny Durkin combined with the Jen Allen Big Band and vocalist DominiQue to fire up the audience with Santana’s “Soul Sacrifice” and Tito Puente’s “Oye Como Va,” as well as some original Reyes tunes.

Now, Reyes is branching out with a solo CD – “Novela Sin Tiempo” [Timeless Novel or Timeless Story] – which will be celebrated with a party Oct. 19 at Bridgeport’s Bijou Theatre.

Reyes goes acoustic with “Novela Sin Tiempo,” opening with the uplifting “Todos Los Dias” [Every Day]. “Todos Los Dias” can inspire fluidity and motion even for old bones. It’s a song about waking up with optimism and not letting the world around you take your thunder away.

On the heartbreak side, “Illusion” is a tune about a love that was or is too good to be true. As Reyes puts it: “You see it, you feel it, but it is not there – a mirage.”

Continuing in that vein, “Que Vas Hacer?” [What are you going to do?] is about what you do when you have tried everything, every possible avenue, and still haven’t found your way out – or whatever it is you are looking for. “What do you do when you have run out of options?” Reyes asked and answered: “Keep on – that is what you do. This is one of my favorite songs on the album.”

I also enjoyed and returned many times to “Taking Over,” with its reggae beat and theme of standing up against the oppressor. “When the people finally get fed up,” Reyes said, “they will start getting control of their lives back. So many are sheep that follow ... ”

Reyes, 41, is a Bridgeport native who grew up in Puerto Rico and returned to the Park City as a teenager.

For the full article, visit New Haven Register online.


Cool Justice: In a Cosmic Jibaro/Acoustic Trance with Musician Rick Reyes

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