In The Beginning

During 2010 -2011, guitarist/composer/producer Cristian Amigo found himself spending less time writing and producing chamber and new classical music, and more time playing his Fender telecaster, fixing his tube amps, and writing and researching a collection of songs that eventually became 66 Americana Songs. The experience was a revelation, a coming home to the sounds of his early musical life listening to his father’s country, r&b and early rock record collection. It was a reawakening to the power of the word, and to the American roots music(s) which had now begun to fully resonate with his own life experience.

In the summer of 2011, Amigo  decided to put together a band to play the 66 songs and reached out to New York City music veterans and friends: drummer Diablo, bassist/producer David Gould and guitarist Angela Babin.

THE GOTHAM ROOTS ORCHESTRA (GRO) came together in the fall of 2011 and the chemistry was immediate. It was clear that GRO was not just a vehicle for songs but its own thing with the mysterious and essential qualities that make a great band.

Amigo had known drummer Gonzalo Martinez de la Cotera (Diablo) since their first rock band Six Feet Under in the seventh grade, but hadn’t played together in over 20 years. Diablo’s ability to propel a groove forward would be critical to GRO’s sound as evidenced by his work with Marcy Playground, Raul Malo, the Helldorados, and many others. Diablo is the kind of drummer, as Miles Davis used to say, “who never drops a beat.” – EVER.

Bassist David Gould and Amigo met as graduate students at UCLA in the 1990’s where they bonded over their mutual respect for the music of Ali Farka Toure, King Sunny Ade, Charlie Patton, Bob Dylan and others. Later, in New York City, David’s skill as a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer were central to The Bootleg Remedy, a band whose roots approach to their own original music had helped make them one of the popular Brooklyn bands in the early 2000’s scene. David’s ability to understand the feel and history of American music, while remaining sonically in the present, were to become an essential part of GRO’s sound as well as in his own productions with his band  The Inner Banks.

Guitarist Angela Babin and Amigo met while playing together in one of famed avant-guitarist Elliot Sharp’s all-guitar ensembles. A long subway ride home from the Brooklyn gig (the E Train just wouldn’t arrive) got them talking about their many mutual musical interests and sparked a friendship that would eventually lead to the GRO collaboration. A two-guitar approach in a blues-based band requires a special empathy between the guitarists in order for the music to work; Angela and Amigo give each other that needed musical and ego-less space. Angela’s eclectic background in all kinds of bands including Inviolate and the Ordinaires made sense for a musician who is also a native New Yorker, a bad-ass guitar player, and an accomplished martial artist.

GRO currently hosts the ROOTSMUSIC TUESDAYS series at INTAR Theater in NYC every second Tuesday of the month, and plays at various other venues in NYC. The audience, the sound, and the vibe are growing.


Americana, blues and beyond

(l-r) Diablo, Angela, Cristian, David

“With the power of soul, anything is possible.”

-Jimi Hendrix


Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: