PUYA: Footage Of Puerto Rico Reunion Concert Available

May 18, 2009

PUYA, the acclaimed Puerto Rican hard rock quartet, reunited for a special appearance at the Medalla Light Stereo Festival on Friday, May 15 at the Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Video footage of their performance can be viewed below.

PUYA was originally formed in 1990 by high school classmates Ramon Ortiz Picó, on guitar, cuatro, percussion and vocals, and Harold Hopkins Miranda, on bass, percussion and vocals. Soon afterwards, the band grew with the addition of Eduardo Paniagua Látimer, on drums, percussion and vocals and Sergio Curbelo Cosme.

The band was influenced by well-known U.S. rock bands such as LED ZEPPELIN, KORN, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, RUSH and DEFTONES, but made a creative niche for themselves by fusing the Latin, Afro-Caribbean rhythms of their native salsa music with the heavy metal style. In fact, this fusion did not really evolve until the band moved from Puerto Rico to Florida, USA in 1992.

A longing for the music of their native, Puerto Rican salsa, led them to develop a unique style in rock music, influenced by old school salsa artists such as EL GRAN COMBO, TITO PUENTE, WILLIE COLÓN and HECTOR LAVOE, and other Latin bands. The essence of their Latin rhythms were incoporated into PUYA's heavy metal works. According to lead vocalist Curbelo, "Once we got away from home, we started incorporating our Latin roots into our music… It was a conscious thing, but it just felt natural."

While in Florida, Puerto Rican percussionist Eggie Castrillo and Mike Smart on sax, joined the band. PUYA then released its debut professional recording, a cassette entitled "Whisker Biscuit". The band's first CD, "Puya", followed, featuring 13 tracks, including a collaboration with the James Brown horn section on two songs. While the move to Florida resulted in an artistic advance, all of the bandmembers ultimately decided to return to Puerto Rico, with the exception of Curbelo.

PUYA moved to Los Angeles and signed a recording contract with MCA Records. The band's next album, "Fundamental", came out in 1999. It featured an eclectic mix of songs, such as the title track, that switched freely from Spanish to English. It also demonstrated the success of the band's fusion of heavy metal rock, with Latin rhythms, adding to their crossover appeal in the North American market and paving the way for tours with mainstream U.S. bands such as SPINESHANK and FEAR FACTORY.

PUYA's third and final album, "Union", was released in 2001.

(Thanks: Jose Alvarado)

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