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CULTURE MIX

Cafe Tacuba rocks on, but it's lonely at the top

July 14, 2007|Agustin Gurza | Times Staff Writer

It's all a cycle, he says. When the Tacubos were starting out, it was revolutionary to incorporate Mexican music into rock and they were criticized for that. Now, it's old hat, and the kids push the pendulum the other way.

"I don't get the need to sing in English, but I'm not going to demonize a trend just because I don't understand it," Rangel said from the Mexico City studio where the band is working on a new album, due in the fall. "Because if I did, it would feel like people treated me when I was young, just because I was doing something different."

Cafe Tacuba performs with Groove Armada as part of KCRW's World Festival, 7 p.m. Sunday, Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Avenue, Hollywood. Tickets $7-$95. For information call (323) 850-2000.

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Short shows from Ruben Blades

Salsa star Ruben Blades has revitalized his long-dormant website, www.rubenblades.com, with a weekly series of video programs filmed at his home office in historic Panama City, where he serves as minister of tourism. In informal, 10-minute episodes titled "Show de Ruben Blades," the actor and musician holds forth on a variety of topics from songwriting to politics. He also answers e-mails, offers advice for aspiring musicians and gives a remembrance of the late Tito Gomez, his one-time co-singer from Ray Barretto's band.

Most important, Blades takes the opportunity to share his discoveries of new artists, including video and music clips. It's a great introduction to talent throughout the world that has captured his imagination. They include the thrilling flamenco fusion group Quinto Parpadeo from Spain; haunting jazz vocalist Beverly Rego from Venezuela; and a funky salsa/timba band from Japan, NANA cantarina and 7musica, featuring a solo by a rare female trumpet player.

The segments are occasionally too casual, as Blades addresses his producer off camera and makes cryptic asides. But the star's rambling gives it a conversational flavor, and that's the point. So far, four episodes are posted, with a new show due Monday.

For more videos and music links, go to www.myspace.com/rubenbladescom and www.youtube.com/rubenbladescom.

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Gurza covers Latino music, arts and culture. E-mail agustin.gurza@latimes.com with comments, events and ideas for this weekly feature.

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