Los Amigos Invisibles, the Grammy-nominated, Latin Grammy-winning funk-merengue Venezuelan band that counts L.A. Philharmonic music director Gustavo Dudamel among its friends, will release a new album, "Repeat After Me," in April.
The New York City-based group also will embark on an 18-city U.S. tour that will include an April 26 L.A. date at the Fonda Theatre. "La Que Me Gusta," the first single from the new record, will be released next month.
Over the last two decades, Los Amigos Invisibles has established itself as one of the wittiest dance bands to come out of South America. Their 2009 album "Commercial," which won the Latin Grammy Award for best alternative album, played like an airy, 21st century, Spanish-language reimagining of vintage funk grooves by the likes of Chic and Parliament-Funkadelic, with samba, bossa nova, power merengue and acid jazz hints keeping the mood light and espresso-frothy. Bend your ear, for example, to the effervescent track "Dulce" (Sweet), which sounds like it could've been smuggled out of Caracas via Miami and straight into Studio 54 in 1979. (Watch the video below.)
"Not So Commercial," their Grammy-nominated 2011 follow-up, as its name suggests, was more experimental and perhaps less mainstream-accessible. But the ironic titles of the back-to-back records underscore the band's conviction that popular appeal and respect for the audience's intelligence needn't be mutually exclusive. Who knows? The idea might catch on.