Juan Manuel Caipo - drums; Rowan Jimenez - vocals
Heavy rock may not be your average Mountain Aire fare, but Rock en Español band Orixa's appearance there in '99 offered the jam band fans who generally gather at the Calaveras County festival an invitation to headbang with them, Bay Area-style: think speed riffs a la Metallica with the raps of Faith No More, with some funk and international rhythm thrown into the mix, and vocals in Spanish.
Juan Manuel Caipo and Rowan Jimenez are the two principles of the award-winning Latino rock band Orixa. Coming together in the Bay Area in the early '90s, the pair worked the Rock en Español circuit, and released a self-titled debut in 1996 on the Atzlån label. This Mountain Aire set draws partially from that collection of tracks as well as some yet-to-be released material that mixes reggae with rap and some monster riffs.
Opening with a bang and "Umbabarauma (Ponta de Lanca Africano)," Orixa demonstrates its dexterity at veering from metallic edges to heavy percussive breakdowns. They follow with the chant-like "Cancion de Cuna." "Carlitos," a kind of Spanglish rap metal attack, features some of the few English spoken-passages (and it's dedicated from the stage to Latin music star and political activist Rubén Blades, as well as to the memory of Bay Area rock promoter, Bill Graham). Giving a brief on the Mayan calendar, they light into "2012" and set it on fire.
Characterizing "Scaúdete" as Latin ska, they skank their way through the high-energy piece, before shouting out "Mamita Chena," to all the grandmothers, or at least to "all the ones who made it here today." Hmmm…unless granny is a headbanger, it's unlikely she made it through the set without some earplugs. But then, she might've enjoyed the slowed-down groove on the set-closing "Funky Lazy!" about…"being funky and feeling lazy."
Though Orixa would go on to make two more albums, 20112 E.D. and 2005's Siembra, continuing to expand their following and increasing their profile as a socially conscious group that packed a punch live, after 10 years together, in 2006, Orixa went on hiatus. But while their star shone, Orixa rocked hard--in Español, claro que si.