Growing up in Mexico or somewhere in Latin America, attending an american school populated by mostly spoiled rich kids, other interesting internationals, and your friends as global misfits and outcasts thrown in the mix of this one surreal setting where political leaders to be (by pedigree), sons of corporate heads, diplomats and of world-class drug lords all sit in the same classroom, and we can only make sense of it with the fury of rock n roll, industrial music, new wave, twisted poetry and parties, raves, and sounds from the velvet underground to the local mariachi band, where jimmy hendrix, joe strummer, leonard cohen and the likes would try to make sense between this unfair third world-ish but immensely human and warm Latin setting and our much colder northern ruling neighbors and friends, where we make our journey towards. Drive on the fast lane and crank up the music!
band member bios
Javier Andrade – Bass / Video and Film Director
It was during this time, at a downtown jam session that he met future fellow band members, the Gonzalez brothers and Rene, who would soon form Barra Libre. It was an unexpected musical synergy with a high energy and improvisational approach to playing that brought the band together. It was soon made clear for Javier that there was a greater connection with the music of Barra Libre for him, not only as a bass player but also as a filmmaker. As a result, Javier directed, wrote and co-produced the band’s first video for “Lunar Glow.” This involved a clever “one shot” technique in which the video was shot in real time, allowing no editing as the director crafted a single take, giving the final look a live and energetic feel. With the help of Javier’s cast and crew from his “Punk Films” venture, the video was shot in one day at a Columbia University studio which was dressed up as an art gallery, hosting the drummer’s artwork. Javier is also an active participant in NYC’s film community, and most recently screened his short film “Mixtape” at the Anthology Film Archives as part of the “Reel Roundtable” Film Series. Other of Javier’s short films, like “La Ruta”, shot in Ecuador, include original score by Barra Libre. Future film projects are planned to include Barra Libre in the original soundtrack.
Raul Gonzalez – Guitar and Vocals / Marketing & Executive Producer
In 1990, Raul formed his first serious band, FASOTE, as a as guitarist, singer and songwriter, along with his brother Ricardo on drums. The band received ample recognition for their fresh rock sound in a time when Rock en Español was just starting. They signed to Sony Music and recorded a 13 song album that was never released. From this unfortunate experience, Raul quickly learned the bitter-sweetness of the music industry and the necessity for obtaining business know-how. In the following year, Raul went to study international business and marketing in Paris, while at the same time honing in on his songwriting skills in a city that would inspire and further such craft. In 1995, he returned to Mexico and formed the band, The Foma together with his brother, after which the band decided to pursue their luck in Boston, inspired by the music of The Pixies. By 1998, The Foma had put out their first album, containing many songs that had been written by Raul while in Paris, and reflecting an ambitious “concept album” of sorts. After 8 years with The Foma, and having graduated as a Marketing Major, Raul left for New York and joined ElectricArtists, a new media music marketing company. It was here that Raul began to work the ins and outs of the business. At the same time, Raul formed Deep Fly, an “ambient jazz funk” outfit that explored the boundaries of jazz and electronic music, and pushed for a new sound with Primal Digital, a Brooklyn-based production company. In 2002, Raul decided to reconnect with his Latino roots and joined the Hispanic marketing agency, Ruido Group. It was this reconnect with Latin culture that inspired him to explore Latin music roots, and bring back old Mexican folk sounds to his ongoing songwriting and music explorations. Inspired by these sounds, as well as tapping back his early rock foundations, Raul started jamming again with his brother Ricardo. They soon found themselves sharing and creating an amazing new sound with other fellow Mexican friends and future band members. The result was Barra Libre.
Ricardo Gonzalez – Drums / Painter
Born and raised in Mexico City in 1977, Ricardo began to play drums for rock band FASOTE at age 15 with his older brother, Raul. Early musical influences included American punk bands like The Misfits, Dead Kennedys, and Black Flag. In Boston he continues with original bandmates to form the psychedelic rock fusion jam band THE FOMA, playing the Boston music circuit continuously. After almost a 10 year span with the band, Ricardo continued to play in Boston with the hip-hop band VESSEL. After 2 years he relocated to New York City where BARRA LIBRE was formed. Ricardo plays on a minimal 4 piece vintage drum set. Bands that make an impact on his drumming and creativity include The Velvet Undergorund, The Pixies, Sonic Youth, Pavement, The Clash, Ween, Fela Kuti, Medeski Martin & Wood, Bob Marley, and Colombian Cumbia to name some. His drumming style can be described as groove oriented, sometimes explosive, and dynamic.
Apart from music Ricardo Gonzalez studied art and creates paintings since the age of 17. He exhibits and sells work in Mexico, Boston, and New York and continues to produce art. His work is a narrative of the human psyche, often alluding to astronomy and physics as a parallel to human behavior. It is figurative and has had stylistic hints of German expressionism.
In BARRA LIBRE he adds to the song-making process and is an advocate of taking it to the next level.
Rene Torres - Violin, Guitar, Vocals / Sound Designer
Rene obtained third place in the Second National Violin Contest , organized by the National School of music in 1988. After graduating from high school he decided to give art one more chance in a new field focusing now on architecture, a passion that had been growing inside of him since his first contact with art when he was four. By the time he was 15 he started writing songs and playing guitar without any formal training except his violin and harmony lessons. He also diversified his abilities by picking up viola lessons now for the next three years as well as drums and electric bass. When he was 17 his interest in jazz and rock and experimental music continued to grow as his life took him to a stage of debt to himself and to his music. To the point where his perspectives in his country resulted short for him forcing him to leave everything behind and pursue his dreams in New York City, where he has worked as an architect to make a living for the last two years helping himself with violin and guitar lessons while working in several music projects which include Barra Libre, name of the band he is committed the most and a project which is potentially growing. His individual projects have taken him to a new electronic and creative sense using now computers and samplers to fulfil his composer needs as his exploration fields change every day.
Curtis Eby – Trumpet