Mmmm, goat smoothie. Everyone’s clear on what a chupacabra is, right? It’s the Spanish-speaking world’s version of the sasquatch or the abominable snowman, only instead of wandering the snowy ranges of Tibet or the lonely forests of the Pacific Northwest, the chupacabra (“goat sucker”) preys on goats and other domestic animals in Puerto Rico and Mexico. Recently it has expanded its range (that is, if we are to believe the numerous reports of desanguinated livestock found with telltale fang marks in the neck and other soft bits) as far north as Texas and as far south as Chile. The presence of the beastie is reportedly attended by the acrid smell of sulfur.
Interestingly, reports of chupacabra activity began to fall off in 1998, at least relative to the explosion of sightings and attacks reported on livestock from 1995 to 1996. It was long about this time that a group of Boulder musicians, going under the name Chupacabra, first began playing a slick alloy of funk, cha-cha, Afro-Cuban, brasileiro and what-have-you sounds from way out of the bounds of the cradle of Colorado music that has produced so many other world-hippie-jazz-funk-something bands.
You know this drill: “Simultaneously unique and universal!” “Borrowing rhythms and song structures from Africa, Cuba and South America and then blending these with harmonies normally associated with Europe, the Middle East, and American jazz!” “Manages to be unique without sacrificing accessibility!” “By not limiting themselves to one style of playing, Chupacabra defies any typical categorization!”
Yeah. We know. It’s always something like that with these Boulder bands. Please, by all means, bring us your hybrids, your cross-pollinated world music varietals, your musical miscegenations that would make Havelock Ellis weep for the future of homogeneity. Let’s get our dominant traits together some time and see what happens, baby. But right now we’re having a party, man! We’re gonna go off this weekend, and what we need to get straight right now is: can we dance this mess around?
Mercy, yes! Every claim the band makes is, in this instance, absolutely true! It is a crazy blend of everything. The instrumental workouts range from the smooth and soulful to fiery and demonically intricate. Polyrhythmic clockwork and interlocking guitars abound. The musicianship is top-shelf, and the pervasive Latin flavor that permeates the music is, indeed, like a pheromone commanding the suggestible soft center of the stiffest witness to shake, shake that bon-bon, baby. There’s even a straight four-on-the-floor disco beat or two to level the playing field. Is that a whiff of sulfur I smell?
Come on, now. This is the Kid, here, people—you know I’d never steer you wrong. Seriously, do you think I would drag you along to just any ol’ party? We’re going to have a blast this Saturday, partying like girls gone bad with a thousand of our closest friends. The place is jumping, the band is hot. The lights are dimmed, the ham is chilled, the limousine’s waiting right outside your door.
Chupacabra provides the music for the Indy’s 10th Anniversary Party this Saturday on the third floor of University Center. 8:30 PM to midnight. Tickets $3. The event is a benefit for the Montana Journalism Review.