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Café Tacvba

About this Artist

CAFÉ TACVBA was originally the name of a locally famous Mexican restaurant on the downtown street of the same name. This quaintly traditional and Indian-sounding moniker was appropriated by four young guys from northern suburbs of the Latin megalopolis of México, D.F. The band's members shared an important common influence: gothic British rock à la The Cure. An influence that did not mesh with the densely bright cultural environment they were brought up in: the same that any Mexican urban kid experiences daily at home.Rubén Albarrán (who's changed his stage name repeatedly through the group's evolution) met José Alfredo ("Joselo") Rangel while both were studying design at Mexico City's Metropolitan Autonomous University, drawn together by their common fondness for Anglo postpunk rock. They both brandished guitars, and Joselo's younger brother Enrique ("Quique") came on board on bass; a friend of his introduced them all to a keyboard-playing neighbor by the name of Emmanuel ("Meme") del Real. Together, they set upon trying to make their mark in the budding local rock scene, where they absorbed the influence of the Cuban percussion-infused sound of Ritmo Peligroso (the city's first punk rockers), the nationalistic satire of the seminal Charrock'n'rollers Botellita de Jérez (literally, Little Sherry Bottle, a phrase rhymed in a traditional child's wordplay with "everything you say will turn out the opposite"), and the wordy compositions of Jaime López (the Mexican Leonard Cohen, for lack of a Dylan).It was their composite visions, combined with the rude awakening of the 1985 Mexico City earthquake that made them turn their backs on music the international metropolitan production centers had to offer, and draw new inspiration from their roots, the musical and cultural ambience that nurtured their growth within the emerging middle class of the State of Mexico's American-inspired suburbs.Taking a cue from the Violent Femmes, one of their former Anglo faves, Café Tacvba exchanged its proud electric instruments for a gut-stringed Mexican-made acoustic and a full-size double bass of dubious ancestry. Out of necessity, Meme manned a simple rhythm machine-equipped electronic keyboard, balancing it with the wheezing of the blown Melodica that became his lead instrument. Lacking a human drummer from the very inception of the group may be one of the factors that has kept Café Tacvba sane and together for over a decade.Café Tacvba's 1992 critically acclaimed, eponymous debut album was followed by 1994's groundbreaking Re, leading to critical praise and White Album comparisons in terms of the album and the band's importance. Avalancha de Éxitos, Café Tacvba's last collection of cover songs, spawned several hit songs, and a 13-country/59-date megatour, and then in 1999, the band released a 2-CD package: the instrumental Revés paired with Yo Soy, which won a Grammy for Best Latin Rock Album. After the 2001 release of the box set Lo Esencial de Café Tacvba, their latest studio release is Cuatro Caminos, which won another Grammy in 2004. The group also released two live albums in 2005: Un Viaje, documenting their 15th anniversary concert, and MTV Unplugged, which had been recorded in 1995.