Monday, April 20, 2009 9:15 PM

To Whom It May Concern:

Well, it’s that time again.  Boy, do the days go by fast.  I think I’m going to try to keep it short and sweet this month.  What’s been nice about April has been that I’ve been doing this long enough now that we can re-feature artists we’ve featured before.  It’s a nice feeling to go back to someone you’ve already featured and feature them in a different way.  Don’t get me wrong, I always want to bring artists we haven’t covered before to you, too.  So, don’t worry about that.  I’ll keep trying to provide a nice mix.

Once they’ve been featured a few times I kind of consider them popolio artists.  I don’t want to tell them that, though, because I don’t want them to think they owe us something or vice-versa.  What it really is is that I’m just happy to have them be part of the blog and excited to have them come back. 

Some of April’s familiar faces are VITERA (April 2009’s already-posted first pop quiz), Wayna (a popolio podcast — look for it in two days!), and The Executive Life (this Friday’s pop quiz).  VITERA and The Executive Life are local artists.  Featuring local talent always feels good in a little bit of a different way.  It’s like a fizzle in your tummy or a buzz in your cortex.  Something like that.  Or not.  Can’t explain it.  It’s just a little extra special.

Anyway, enjoy the rest of April and I’d like to pose a challenge to all of you this month.   I want you to listen to one artist that you otherwise would not have ever listened to.  Burst your genre-bubble!  Comment on here or email me and let me know who the artist was, what CD you listened to, and what you thought about it.

9:28 PM

peace, love, and all that jazz
Freddie Rodriguez aka freddie beat 
popolio creator/editor

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vitera

We’ve featured local Latin rocker VITERA (né Haydn Vitera) a couple of times here at popolio.  I reviewed one of his acoustic sets at the Austin version of the Santana chain Maria Maria Restaurant here and featured him in a show pic-olio, too, here.  Now, the debut album is about to drop and you can get a little glimpse into this performer’s mind before checking out his new CD.

April 10, 2009

Name:   VITERA
Genre:   Latin Rock Alternativo
Latest Release:  Debut CD Spring 2009
(Self-Released)
Release Date:   Spring 2009

This, That, or the Other
1. Underground OR Mainstream? Somewhere in between

2. Maintain Artistic Integrity and Vision OR Make a lot of Money? (or both)??? BOTH.  I look at artists such as (in no particular order) Tom Petty, Lenny Kravitz, Dave Matthews, John Mayer, Charlie Daniels, Asleep at the Wheel, Led Zeppelin, Juanes….the list goes on and on.  It IS possible to rake it in and not be a cheeseball!!!

3. Studio or Stage? Stage for sure….but I love watching a tune come together in the studio…especially when you collaborate and everyone puts in a piece of their own musical soul.

4. Spirituality OR Hedonism? I must say I’ve been living on the side of the latter lately…jajaja!

5. Make Love, Have Sex, OR %$*!? Depends on the girl…and how many cocktails we’ve had 😉

Fill in the Blank
6. Music is my reason to get up in the morning….late morning…ok ok early afternoon sometimes.
7. I’m musically inspired by all things ROCK!!! (beautiful women included).
8. My favorite old school joint is “Still of the Night” by Whitesnake.
9. If I was a super hero I’d be Batman…because Bruce Wayne knows how to roll!!!
10. Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll should change to CHANGE????

Short Answer
11. I make music because:  I’d die if I didn’t…seriously…physically stop living.
12. I want my fans to:  Leave the show inspired…and sweaty!
13. If I could share one thing about myself it would be:  I’m still a little kid on the inside.
14. Wild Card!  How much longer is this quiz!!!…JK Freddie..luv ya man!
15. I want my musical legacy to be:  VITERA:  rocked in Spanish, rocked in English, brought people together….6-string ROCK VIOLIN in hand!!!

Enjoy “Que Ciega” and let it tide you over until the debut release hits.  Even I wasn’t privy to an album cover image or album title for this pop quiz.  So, we’ll be finding out together.  Until then, check out his MySpace Page for more 411.

VITERA’s favorite old school joint!

It’s taken me a little while to post these.  Haydn Vitera did his thing at Maria Maria Restaurant both times I went.  This is a more mellow acoustic show since it is entertainment at a restaurant during folks’ dinner hours.  Haydn does rock out as frontman of his band, VITERA.  Have yet to see one of those shows, but I would like to check one out in the not too distant future.  Seems Mr. Vitera has a bunch of upcoming shows lined up.   Check out the listings at his MySpace Page here and go see him live. 
mm1
Maria Maria napkin at my table.
hv1

Profile Shot.

hv2

Representing Méjico.

hv3

Workin' it.

hv4

Doin' his thing. Dinner crowd is hard, y'all!

hv5

BONUS Shot.

Monday, January 19, 2009
4:55 PM

Well, it’s the beginning of 2009 and MLK Day.  In terms of popolio and music what does that mean?

I don’t consider popolio a social, political, or news blog, but without the activists and freedom fighters (and I’m addressing them with a very broad brushstroke here) I wouldn’t be able to express myself here.  I will make inferences or social commentary when I feel it necessary, but it will be very light.  My focus is music entertainment.  If it’s relevant to popolio as I’ve stated in the past, I will address it.  We did with the tragedies involving DJ AM, Travis Barker, and Jennifer Hudson last year.  And, I’ll reiterate that, I don’t want to be a gossip blog.  There are enough of those out there.  I don’t want to regurgitate and recycle the same pieces that are seen out there over and over.

The other part of this is that I know music is powerful and I know it can cause people to be politicized and organized.  MLK’s and President Obama’s speeches are not quite music, but they work in the same way.  Words can inspire and words set to music can light fires that can burn out quickly or indefinitely.

What do I want for popolio in 2009?  I want to light a fire that burns brighter and brighter for a long time.  I want to grow it.  I want to make it bigger and better.  What does that mean?  That means more features, more content, and better content.  That means me trying to step up my game to bring you a better quality blog overall.  I want to be unique, entertaining, and quality.  Hopefully, I can achieve this in 2009.

We’ve successfully operated on the two levels that I want to continue to operate on.  Mainstream and Local.  Established and Up-and-Coming.  popolio is up-and-coming; independent; underground.  It doesn’t mean popolio can’t be established, collaborative, and mainstream, too.

This month I posted a popolio podcast interview on which I spoke with Ron Lopes, brother of the late, great Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes about her forthcoming posthumous release, Eye Legacy.  Thanks again to Mass Appeal Entertainment and Ron Lopes for participating in the interview.  I’m also in the middle of a MY TOP 10: Left Eye Videos, counting down to the release date of Eye Legacy on January 27, 2009.  So, in a certain way, it’s Left Eye Month at popolio.  I am a self-proclaimed die-hard TLC fan, so TLC and Left Eye Forever!

Co-editor, JW Richard, presented a nice MY TOP 10 Countdown of his own.  He counted down his Top Hot Tracks from 2008 on his Last.fm account.  He’s more of an audio guy whereas I think I’m more of a video guy, so he made it an audio countdown.  It was a nice change of pace from my countdowns.  We got to experience someone else’s taste and that’s always nice.

2 pop quizzes this month as usual.  First off, earlier in the month we featured the pop/club stylings of Brian Kent and coming up this week is homohop pioneer, Tim’m West’s pop quiz.  I can’t wait for that one.  Now, I love our pop quizzes.  I’d like to get some feedback from you all on them.  I think it’s one of, if not the, best feature we offer at popolio.  I’d like to hear from you all.  Maybe I’ll do a survey.  I don’t know.

I’ve actively started to get out there into the Austin music scene more this month to meet and feature some local artists.  I plan to do more of that.  Just one foray into the wild urban jungles of The Live Music Capital of the World and I was turned onto artists such as Vitera, Jeder, and The Executive Life.  I plan to go to more shows, take pictures, and post those.  I also want to hear about any upcoming shows you all are excited about.  I’ll post them. Give me at least one week out, though.  I think that gives people enough time to dig for pennies if they want to go to a certain show.

Well, here’s to a progressive, productive, and impressive 2009 for popolio.

5:40PM

Cheers,
Freddie Rodriguez aka freddie beat
popolio creator/editor

hv2

Who:  VITERA
When:  Next Thursday, January 22, 2009
Where:  Maria Maria Restaurant 
415 Colorado (Downtown Austin)
Time:  7PM to 10PM

Haydn Vitera, who plays as VITERA as both a solo artist and with a band, was recommended to me by Millissa Salinas as a possible feature for popolio.  So, props to her for the connect. 

I went to check him out at what seems to be a somewhat regular gig at Maria Maria Restaurant here in Austin last Thursday,  January 8, 2009.  Not sure if it’s every other Thursday;  I’ll follow-up on this and report back.

For those of you who don’t know — these are Santana’s chain of Mexican food restaurants.  One opened in Austin some months ago.  I believe Haydn played at the opening as well, which Ms. Salinas attended.  The official site defines the cuisine as “nuevo Mexicano” and describes it as:

a regional exploration of Mexican dishes presented with a modern flair.

I had the duck taco appetizer and a tangerine mojito (that was a little strong) while I listened to Haydn’s acoustic set.  I had never had duck tacos before.  They were good.  But, I’m here to talk about  the music not the food.  The ambiance and setting were nice; the Mezo-contemporary murals/artwork that grace Santana’s CD covers were plastered all over the walls. 

 hv

Okay, okay — the music.  Back to the music.  But, it all kind of works together, though, doesn’t it?  A small little  black square stage against the wall held up Haydn and his compadre-in-arms as they played their guitars in the non-reservation area next to the bar.  

As they played a flat-screen TV floated above them against the wall as well.  This was the sports-barsy-TV-veiwing-area.  Collections of little black square ottoman like seating and tables at their centers huddled around a circular center-piece facing the stage and TV. 

Some football game or other was on.  I believe they played for some of it, so people could watch the game above their heads and just listen to their music if they wanted to.  Neither  musicians nor audience members/restaurant attendees seemed to mind this.  After each song their was enough engagement in the form of clapping, whistling, and hooting and hollering that I think more people were listening and watching the performers than were not.  But, it wasn’t just polite applause.  These folks were digging the musical entertainment.  

Though, after one break they did wait for a part of the game to finish as to not offend the Maria Maria denizens.  I thought that was nice of them as they did have the gig booked from 7PM to 10PM.  I figured it was their prerogative to play.  Just my opinion.

They played a nice mix of Spanish and English and standards and original material.  And, yes, Santana’s “Maria Maria” was included in the set list.   Are they required to play it every week?  That, I don’t know. 

Remember, this was a stripped down acoustic set.  So, if you want to enjoy some nice music with dinner, drinks, and, perhaps, some game-watching catch VITERA next Thursday, January 22, 2009, at Maria Maria Restaurant at 415 Colorado Street (Downtown) from 7pm to 10pm.  And, yes, it was nice music.  That, I do know.

NOTE:   He does play shows with a more rocked out band.  Go to his MySpace Page to find out more  about what Vitera has coined his “Rock AlterLatino.”

INTERESTING FACThv3:  Yes, he plays the violin and/or fiddle.

Who:  VITERA
When:  Next Thursday, January 22, 2009
Where:  Maria Maria Restaurant 
415 Colorado (Downtown Austin)
Time:  7PM to 10PM