Backed by congas, timbale, maracas, upright bass, glockenspiel, vibes, electric guitar, keyboard and ukulele, Las Rubias del Norte's songs were either assertive or beguiling, but always rhythmic.
Led by a pair of former choirgirls, Las Rubias del Norte are a melting pot of Latin music and song. Like the city they call home, Las Rubias represent a mixture of culture and sounds, all under the leadership of Allyssa Lamb and Emily Hurst.
Celebrating the release of their third record, Ziguala, the band played an intimate early set at Joe’s Pub Friday night. A self-described exploration of world music “if rock ‘n’ roll never happened” the record’s songs skip from country to country. Backed by congas, timbale, maracas, upright bass, glockenspiel, vibes, electric guitar, keyboard and ukulele, the songs were either assertive or beguiling, but always rhythmic. Peruvian, French, and Bolivian songs supplanted the title track, a Greek tune, all with an underlying Latin beat. By comparison their only English song, a drowsy Western, “Tumbling Tumbleweeds”, seemed lethargic and uninspired.
Touching on their classical background, they performed “Seguedille”, or “Pres des remparts de Seville” from Bizet’s Carmen. “Soledad”, with its alluring harmonium line and catchy but lulling chorus, excited the crowd. With help from the lighting, however, their Bollywood song (“Mana Janab Ne Pukaara Nahin”) seemed like the set’s biggest hit—how much of that was just the novelty of white-Brooklynites singing Bollywood was hard to discern though.
Photos by Thomas Hauner