Banjos and bongos might seem like strange bedfellows, but not in the hands of the thrillingly inventive Sammy Arriaga, who makes the pairing of Latin flavor and southern soul seem effortlessly natural.
Born in Miami with Cuban roots but thriving in Nashville, Tennessee, Arriaga was raised on the eclectic beats that fill the Florida streets, but came to love the classic storytelling embedded in country music – and though it hadn’t been done in quite this way before, melding the two made perfect sense for the 27-year-old singer songwriter.
"One day, someone came up to me and said, 'what is your sound?'" says Arriaga. "And I said, 'just pair up a banjo & a bongo and there ya have it.' And it was like a light went on – I thought, 'man, that could be a great song title.'"And it is ever: "Banjos N’ Bongos" became the title song off of his first collection, the Banjos N' Bongos (Acoustic Mixtape)– and also a phrase that describes everything that makes up the lifeblood of his refreshing, rhythmically unique sound. Sure enough, "Banjos N' Bongos" leads in with Arriaga's subtle country inflexion creatively mixed with a world beat courtesy of straight-from-South America percussion that flows effortlessly with the acoustic, twangy chug. "You be Shania, I'll be Enrique," he sings, evoking two artists, Shania Twain and Enrique Iglesias, who drive both sides of his eclectic personality. The result is as harmonious as it is completely infectious on both this track and the lead single, "Cold In Miami," that shows not only his inventive composition but his flawless, dynamic vocal range.
>> Read More