Artist of the day: Acho Brother
(This week marks the 40th Anniversary of Woodstock. To celebrate, WMNF-88.5 is throwing a tribute concert featuring Tampa Bay bands performing the music of artists who played at Woodstock. For the next week, we're taking a closer look at some of those local artists, as well as the legends whose music they plan to recreate. Today: Acho Brother performing as Richie Havens.)
Acho Brother kicks off the Woodstock tribute event by paying tribute to the artist who kicked off Woodstock: Richie Havens.
The artist born Hector Mayoral will perform Handsome Johnny – "because it was on the original set list, and also to touch the absurdity of war yet again," Mayoral says – along with High Flying Bird and Freedom.
"What I love about Richie Havens is the simplicity and delivery of what he does," Mayoral said. "(Our) styles differ in that his is more American folk-oriented, obviously, yet he does not play like Neil Young or John Denver. I don't remember anybody playing like he does, even today."
The African-American Havens, a Brooklyn native born in 1941, derailed expectations and stereotypes by carving out his own richly detailed niche in the ’60s Greenwich Village folk scene. He emerged as a performer with a charismatic command of his audience, connecting with soulfulness and expressing his uniqueness with open tuning, rhythmic riffs and diverse collaborators.
The Puerto Rican singer-songwriter Mayoral likewise has his own way of arresting a room with intense uniqueness. Much of the 39-year-old performer’s singularity comes through his honest lyricism and raw emotion while interweaving American, African and Latin musical roots.
Mayoral says that Havens inspires him in approaching new ethnic blends.
"Richie's mix of steel-string acoustic guitar with African-Latin percussion is an underdeveloped ensemble that needs exploitation," Mayoral says. "I intend to do so more with Acho Brother in the future."
Mayoral should be well equipped to try new beats with expert percussionist Franky Caamano, a native of the Dominican Republic, at his side. Caamano, who also plays in Los Hijos de Ismael and Son Cuatro, will also be performing at the Woodstock tribute.
Music ambitions aside, Mayoral just wants to have some hippie-dippy fun.
"I hope to experience lots of incense, illegal drugs and intense Florida swamp heat," he jokes. "If I get two out of three, I will be lucky. I'm definitely getting one of them, so it will be a good day."
After the Woodstock show, Mayoral says he’s getting ready to release Box of Nails, an all-acoustic, mostly guitar-and-vocal Acho Brother album.
"After 8 months, the inspiration cup is getting full again and needs to be emptied," he says. We have a show at the Dali Museum on Aug. 29 that will feature live painting by Gustavo."
Click here to listen to Acho Brother's Tango Desnudo.
Catch Acho Brother at 2 p.m. Saturday, at WMNF's Woodstock tribute concert, which begins at 2 p.m. Tickets are $18 in advance, $24 at the door.
-- Julie Garisto, tbt*