TOMÁS TOMÁS: sI n0 sABes..SOLA EST0Y UN PaYaSO EN EL mUND0.
In the event that Tomás Tomás required a description, it would be as follows: born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan to a Mexican nurse and an Irish country singer, Tomás’ first friends were soft-spoken Anglo-hippies who showed him that there was nothing more important than playing a guitar, even if it has two strings. His next group of friends were Chicanos, and they played guitar too. Tomás befriended the cousins Jaime and Ramon Torres and began the upward spiral of unraveling the DNA of rock and roll from the top to the bottom. No stone was left unturned in these years divided between public high schools, potsmoking, and musical fellowship. These were the years of studying Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead and Carlos Santana, while simultaneously soaking up the accordion-savvy Tejano music that rattled from the jukebox at his grandparents drinking establishment, the Las Vegas Bar. It’s one thing to be an Irish boy with a guitar; it’s a whole other thing to be a half Irish-half Mexican boy with a guitar. It suddenly makes sense to sing “Oh Danny Boy” in Spanish.
In 1999 Tomás Tomás moved to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, on the shores of Lake Superior where in 2002 he began another musical fellowship with a group of comrades, múnbút. After two tours of the American Midwest, Tomás came back to the snow-drifts and began a musical fellowship with the Jungwirth Bros. (reggae rhythm section) and their band Ignorant Mob, a powerhouse hybrid of classic reggae, ska world beat and dub. In October 2007 Tomás did a short tour of the U.S.’ Upper Midwest with Bernie Larsen, formerly of El-Rayo Ex, Mellissa Etheridge and Lucinda Williams. The tour promoted Larsen’s new album, Love + Trust which was produced by legendary reggae producer Karl Pitterson. However, it is through his connection with “the Mob” that Tomás fully realized the potential for Chicano music in reggae backbeat. The succinct and precise skank/bubble of reggae securely fixed itself into his gaze and it became the vehicle by which he began to unwind a plethora of Chicano tunes. Below is an excerpt from a blog written by Tomás in October 2007,
“Reggae music is not just music, it's a way of life. If you listen to reggae, you listen to it, if you play it, you are part of it. When you think it's simple, you fuck up, when you think it's easy, you fuck up. When you don't think about it, and the floorboards give you the bass player's essence, the drummer's essence, then the B3 player's quabble becomes indistinguishable from the chant of the cosmos. It could be in 5/4 and you would never know. It's more than music, it's a pulse, it is the core of human rhythm.”
Tomás and the Jungwirth Brothers are beginning work on a full-length record of Chicano Reggae/Dub featuring a bonus version of “Radio Insurgente” with special guest producer Bernie Larsen. You can expect Radio Insurgente (2008) to run the gamut of world sound, from the influence of Tejano, Reggae, Rock and Roll, Malian blues, and traditional Mexican styles tied to the relentlessly emotive chord schemes of Eastern and African progressions.
For the future, who can say what Tomás will do? There are many things that are certain; For one, he will continue to explore the boundaries of culture in music, and continue to serve political awareness and ridiculous joy on the same platter. Tomás’ music provides a mixed-message of social strife in his home country (U.S.), and an urgent need to tear down political and cultural barriers in order to create a sustainable environment for humans to live in. With the increasingly aggressive policies of the United States, the musical climate in Tomás’ music has begun to address the issues of an American Empire that ruining its reputation with the rest of the world, and even with its own people. Now is a good time for the people to decide what to do with the Earth, and not the politicians, because the politicians are not doing a good job. Music can be an important tool in raising the world’s awareness to governments who no longer care about the world, and care solely about the total domination of resources.
Uma noite de cadenas y del hambre,
una semana de lluvia y del fango,
esas politicos no escuchando,
este gobierno es' una fantasma mala.
In the end, a clown’s job is to remind people that they are happy, that the world is still turning, and that there is still hope for a good future. After all, laughter is the first step to having an open soul.
Tomás Tomás lives in Detroit and is a professor of English. His record
Lamplighter is scheduled to be released in June 2012.
Ignorant Mob Ignorant Mob
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RadioChango Añejo Reserva 7 Años
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03.09.2008: Recopilatorio RadioChango Añejo Reserva 7 Años (Castellano)
03.09.2008: Recopilatori RadioChango Añejo Reserva 7 Años (Català)
The Forum for Tomás Tomás
Tomas Laverty, Feb. 2008
Fotos Tomas Tomas