Melbourne-based, nine-piece Latin-funk sensation San Lazaro draw upon traditional salsa, bomba and rumba rhythms, fused with the urban sounds of reggae, funk and hip-hop to create some of the most diverse and uplifting party music ever to come from an Australian band.
Their debut album ‘Mestizos Urbanos’ (urban people of a mixed race) is a direct reflection of the bands intention to be faithful to their roots whilst embracing their influences. They share a strong heritage in the performance of traditional styles of Latin music, which acts as a binding element used to re-enforce the youthful musical experimentation unique to San Lazaro.
In essence, San Lazaro play uplifting dance music, celebratory of the good things in life whilst acknowledging and paying homage to true multiculturalism and real life issues both past and present.
"Every once in a long while, a band comes that has the hybrid in music that brings people from all walks of life together. We will discover with San Lazaro that in the audience, lives blend with their music which celebrates life, and makes you move and dance."
Asdru Sierra, Ozomatli.
"San Lazaro is a world-class Latin band. They play with considerable panache, and impressive enthusiasm and exuberance."
In 2002 percussionist Lazare Agneskis returned from an extended stay in Cuba, where he had fallen in love with the raw swing and African soul of Cuban music.
He returned to Australia determined to establish a band that would recreate these qualities. Guitarists Steven Silk and Oscar Poncell were next to make the South American pilgrimage. Oscar returned with a 12 string Columbian tiple (guitar) to combine with Steven's nylon acoustic.
Last year, percussionist Nasrine Rahmani and bassist Bob Knob both returned from months of intensive study in Cuba, bringing a fresh injection of drive into the band. Together with Chilean-born Conga player Sebastian Orellana, they lend the San Lazaro rhythm section a strength and richness of sound that is irresistible to dance to. Elisha Maiyah on trumpet, Lachlan McLean on alto saxophone and vocalist "Keko" Viran complete the nine-piece line-up.