Aula Máxima es la biblioteca y también lugar de recreo del espíritu.   - José Vasconcelos



The Dance Floor/Reviews Pacoima

Artist: Fernando
Title: Pacoima
Catalog & order information: Cravedog CDR 027
Cravedog Records
3138 SE Belmont #3
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 233-7284


   Fernando Viciconte is a hard-edged rocker and a soft-hearted balladeer; he's a gritty performer and a brilliant lyricist; this vato is a little bit country--or better said, pampa, born in Argentina--and a little bit East LA--or rather Pacoima, the SoCal town where he came of age. Fernando retooled his social consciousness in UCLA's Poli Sci department before he left to hone his rock & roll chops in the Los Angeles music scene, where he flirted with fame before fleeing to Portland and a job parking cars.
     Fernando's live shows ricochet from Richie Valens to Nashville to grunge to nueva canción, weaving recklessly and masterfully across musical, linguistic, and cultural boundaries. His 1998 album Pacoima serves up 10 Spanish-language originals, an instrumental title track oozing mariachi vigor, and a spirited rave-up of Valens' "Ooh, My Head"
     The package features the muralistic artwork of Los Angeles painter Omar Ramírez, and lyrics translated into English. Be warned that Fernando's frank and worldly words could make certain patrons squirm: a line like "Nunca más creo in Cristo" will strike some as sacrilege, and the faint of heart might just want to affix the barcode sticker over the print on the CD that reads "Por resultados más buenos fume marihuana".
     Pacoima will grab young ears and reward serious listening. It's a rich work by a gifted, down-to-earth artist who seems to be actively avoiding the big time--despite offers from major labels, Fernando stuck with tiny Cravedog for his fourth disk, Old Man Motel, which met with national critical raves. Recently, at an important industry showcase in Portland, his band spent the first quarter hour of its set in an extended jam, wondering when Fernando would ever show up; he'd lain down for a nap and after he woke up late his girlfriend had to speed him, Oregon-style, through one red light after another so he could sing at least a few songs for the suits.


Reviewed by Bruce Jensen

Find out more about Fernando, and listen to clips from Pacoima.


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