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La Castaneda Explores Darker Side of Life

September 20, 1997|ENRIQUE LAVIN

Combining haunting rock with provocative performance art, Mexico City's La Castan~eda is one of rock en espan~ol's most experimental bands.

In Mexico's underground circuit, the quintet employs exotic stage shows with modern dance troupes and elaborate props as a backdrop to melodic modern-rock narratives that teeter over into the darker side of life.

With its inclusion in this year's vital Rhino Records' rock en espan~ol compilation, "Reconquista: The Latin Rock Invasion," the band plans to visit this side of the border more frequently.

La Castan~eda brought its full production to the United States last year, but this time the musical group will appear alone for a few Southland shows, including performances Sunday at J.C. Fandango in Anaheim and Tuesday at Leonardo's in Los Angeles.

La Castan~eda is named for a Mexico City mental hospital that opened at the turn of the century. Many of the lyrics off the group's 1993 debut album, "Servicios Generales," (General Services), on the BMG label, and last year's "El Hilo de la Plata" (The Silver Thread) available as an import only, are derived from the personal stories of mental patients.

"El Hilo de la Plata" is a name taken from a book published by Cayetano A. Guerrero, a journalist who faked insanity to enter the Castaneda hospital in 1929 to document the deplorable conditions there.

The band's music contains a sweeping sound produced by strumming guitars, synthesized wind and string instruments, tempered with tropical jazz drum and percussion for singer Salvador's dramatic voice.

In other news, La Lupita, previously mentioned in this column, rescheduled its August performance for Oct. 5 at J.C. Fandango.

* La Castan~eda performs Sunday at J.C. Fandango, 1086 N. State College Blvd., Anaheim. 8 p.m. $15. (714) 758-1057.

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