"Rock & Roll With A Latin Soul..."
Based in Asbury Park, NJ, deSoL is a brotherhood whose music mixes melodic rock hooks with fiery Latin rhythms sung in English, Spanish & "Spanglish." The result is a musical stew where the individual styles of the seven musicians combine to create a sound that is both fresh and familiar.
The band was formed 5 years ago when lead singer Albie Monterrosa had the dream of blending the music of his Latin American heritage with the Rock & Roll he loved growing up in New York City. He recruited a multi-cultural group of musicians who all shared his vision of creating this "mezcla" or mix, of old and new. Many of the players are first generation Latinos. The others, with diverse backgrounds, share a love of Rock and Latin music.
The band honed their style by learning songs from such artists as Tito Rodriguez, Fania All Stars, Ruben Blades, Santana, Los Lobos, Buena Vista Social Club, Tito Puente and Celia Cruz. They then mixed these styles and rhythms with Albie's original songs to create the deSoL sound and continued to tighten their act by performing constantly in the New York/New Jersey Metro area.
Since then, deSoL's vibrant and energetic live show has been pivotal in seeing the band earn praise in The New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times and New York Post. The band has been featured on the globally syndicated World Cafe radio show, performed at Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, a Miami Dolphins halftime show and numerous network television morning shows. They've opened for R.E.M., The Legendary Wailers, Los Lonely Boys, Blues Traveler, Particle and Widespread Panic on several cross-country tours.
Following a "buzzworthy" (LA Times) showcase at Austin's South By South West festival in 2005, deSoL's first single "Karma" climbed to #4 on the Triple A radio chart. In December 2005, their holiday single "Little Drummer Boy" entered the Billboard AC chart at #6, setting a record as the highest debut chart entrance since James Taylor in 2004. The most recent single "Blanco Y Negro" is featured on the Dr. Pepper Brotherhood CD, a compilation of Latin Rock acts including Los Lonely Boys, Kinky, Ozomatli and Del Castillo, as well as in a Bose Headphones retail display promotion across the US.
deSoL's self-titled CD was released nationally in the summer of 2005 and a new indie release, "LiVE/ViVO," from this past year's tour is out now. Both are available at their shows and at desolmusic.com.
The music and message is upbeat and positive and appeals to listeners of all ages and backgrounds. deSoL: of the sun, for the people...
MEET THE BAND
Albie Monterrosa (lead vocals and acoustic guitar)
James Guerrero (congas, vocals and percussion)
Andy Letke (piano and organ)
Chris Guice (bass guitar and vocals)
Kevin Ansell (electric guitar & vocals)
Ron Shields (drums)
Born and raised in Hollis, Queens, NY, Albie grew up hearing traditional Latin music at home and a mix of rock and hip-hop with his friends. He began playing piano at age 7 and got his first guitar in his teens. He led several bands and performed extensively as a solo artist before forming deSoL in 2001. He draws inspiration from English, American and Latin American singer-songwriters from the 70's. He is lead singer, acoustic guitarist and a main songwriter for the group.
Growing up in Hollis, Queens, NY, Jams was surrounded by diverse musical influences ranging from Traditional Latin, to Hip Hop, Rock & Roll and other genres that came from such a vast multicultural neighborhood. Though he has always been deeply inspired by music, it wasn't until his early 20's, when he moved to New Jersey, that he began to play percussion and realized that music was his true calling. With a natural understanding of the complicated rhythms of his Mexican heritage, James adds his percussion, vocals and songwriting to the group and brings a passion to his on stage performances that are a highlight of deSoL's shows.
Andy began piano lessons at the age of 7. He later graduated Indiana University with a minor in music theory and composition. Born in Toledo, OH and raised in Angola, IN, Andy moved to New Jersey in 1999 to be closer to New York City and pursue a career in music. In addition to the keyboards, he is proficient on many other instruments including guitar, violin, trombone and drums. His background in Classical and Jazz piano, talent for music arranging and beard are an integral part of deSoL's sound.
Bassist Chris is a self-taught musician who has been playing and performing since age 14. In high school he appeared on the Nickelodeon series Don't Just Sit There as a member of the show's house band and has pursued a career in music ever since, composing music for TV and film and recording and touring with several bands. Chris has a weakness for 60's and 70's pop music and is a veritable encyclopedia of music trivia. He also plays guitar, drums and trumpet, contributes to the songwriting of the band and is its de facto music director.
Inspired at a very early age by The Beatles and various Motown artists, Kevin fell in love with the guitar at the age of 7, got his first acoustic a year later and started performing at the age of 12 with a classic rock/heavy metal band. In his early teens, after burning through every Led Zeppelin record he could get his hands on, Kevin discovered Miles Davis, Jeff Beck, Billy Cobham and the world of funk and jazz. He felt instantly connected to the grooves and modal playing he heard on these records and decided to study jazz at The Berklee College of Music. At the age of 20, Kevin lived on the streets of Europe for almost a year playing all over the continent. He then moved to Vermont and founded the funky band, Zero Gravity, where he often played with members of the band Phish as well as current members of The Allman Bros., and The Dead. Kevin then moved to St. Thomas where he developed his calypso-esque style as well as playing bass with some local reggae bands. Kevin returned to New Jersey in 1997 and immediately joined Highway Nine, a pop rock band, was signed to Epic Records and toured the U.S. He also toured with the Sun Mountain Fiddler, a bluegrass band during this time. Finally, in 2007, Kevin joined the band he had been searching for all his life, deSoL, and lived happily ever after.
Ron began playing drums at age 15. He became a practice-aholic and began playing in clubs at the Jersey Shore shortly thereafter. Years of gigging in bands of various styles and working with great producers such as Scott Storch has molded his style of playing. With a natural swing, strong backbeat, and a play within the band approach, Ron keeps it all together and anchors deSoL's rhythm section.