Original article can be found in this week’s copy of Dirty Water News
Paul Sefchovich, A student at Berklee School of Music, stopped to pick up a pizza a few days ago, “The guy who served me the Pizza was like, ‘You’re the guy from Los Rumberos,” Sefchovich says. “I can get used to that”
Los Rumberos de Massachusetts is a Latin-American rock band composed of three Mexican Berklee College of Music students. They started making music just for fun and wound up attracting a huge fan base and touring the world. Their intention was never to form a band, they where simply three friends who messed around with their instruments on their spare time.
“We came up with our name (Los Rumberos) because Rumba is the slang term Latinos use for partying.” Says Angel Cespedes who plays the guitar and sings in the band, “We would mess around and play music at our friend’s after parties, until one of our friends suggested we take our act to the street.”
Cespedes is a contemporary music production Major from Mexico City. He came to Berklee because he wanted to be a big music producer for a famous band. He never dreamed that he would end up being the lead singer of his own internationally renowned act.
“We didn’t realize our potential until our first international performance in a music festival in Oaxaca.” Says Cespedes “We were only supposed to play there for one day but the audience went so crazy over our performance that we were asked to play throughout the entirety of the festival.” This led to a series of performances in several bars in Mexico City, Guadalajara, Cuernavaca and Puerto Escondido.
Making it in Mexico motivated them to pursue even more opportunities abroad. They started with a few performances in Berklee’s campus in Valencia, Spain.
“Yeah apparently word about Los Rumberos travelled all the way to Europe.” Says Cespedes “Because when we got to Berklee Valencia everyone already knew who we were and were so excited to see us perform, it was unreal.”
There they were spotted by a Berklee alumn, who set up a few performances for them in Madrid, Burgos, Moscow and Latvia.
“That tour we did last summer was definitely a confidence booster.” Says Luis Miguel “Lito” de La Isla the “serious” member of the band, “That’s when it really hit us that we had the potential to be huge.”
Lito is an electronic production and design major from Guadalajara who plays the guitar and sings in the band. “Before this summer I thought of Los Rumberos as a good way of practicing for my solo career.”
Before Los Rumberos Lito had written and produced a few songs by himself, including a song called “Para Todas” which went viral in Mexico. After his realization that he was sitting on something big with Los Rumberos he decided to devote his time and energy to the band instead.
“I feel like we’ve played everywhere man, from The Foundation Room, to Barlola (where they play every Thursday), The Lenox Hotel, The House of Blues, OM in Cambridge, Naga in Cambridge, 49 social.” Says Lito,“To even the most random ass places like a nursing home for Russian elders in Allston”
“Or Latvia” Adds Paul Sefchovich, the jokester of the band.
Originally from Mexico City, Sefchovich is also a contemporary music production major, who plays percussion in the band.
“Latvia was probably THE defining moment for us.” Says Sefchovich, “There we were even invited to a talk show that broadcast in national television, like that’s when I realized that we were absolutely not just three friends messing around anymore.”
However their beginnings weren’t as glamorous as their recent performances. Their first “concert” was actually on a street corner. The corner of Newbury and Fairfield Street to be more specific,
“Yeah this was around April 2011, the weather was nice so we decided to start playing in the streets.” Says Lito, “we didn’t even have a name for ourselves yet but we attracted a HUGE crowd”
This street-side experiment led them to their first official performance at The Middle East in Cambridge.
“So after this performance we decided to get official.” Says Cespedes, “We decided to have weekly rehearsals, we decided to get ourselves a studio, we reached out to more venues to see if we could play in them”
He continues to say that even though they have been very successful there have been some challenges.
“I think that our biggest challenge is that we can’t take anything seriously.” Says Cespedes, “Although we should really start.”
To which Lito adds, “No actually I think the biggest challenge has been to hear myself sing, I don’t know if I’ll ever feel comfortable hearing myself”
He then asks his other two band mates if they have trouble hearing themselves sing, to which Sefchovich replies: “No man I have really big ears”
After hearing about this band’s trajectory one can’t help but wonder, why have they been so successful?
“We are one drum, two guitars and three voices.” Says Sefchovich,“It’s all acoustic and we try to keep it as minimalistic as possible-unlike those indie posers”
Their soft beats are what have attracted such a loyal fan base, who can be found every Thursday at Barlola on Commonwealth Avenue.
“Our fans are mostly Latino students who like us because we remind them of Mana.” Says Sefchovich, “Although we have a group of Beacon-Hill mommies who like us a lot too.” He adds referring to the mom’s who hire the to play at their kid’s parties, “This has forced us to start incorporating more English songs into our repertoire so the kiddies will understand.”
When asked about the future, they all look at each other and laugh.
“Everything about this band has just been a series of coincidences that have led us to where we are right now, but hopefully we’ll start a world tour within the next six months and fingers-crossed this will lead to a deal with a record label.” Says Sefchovic with a big smile, “If this doesn’t happen then our plan is to take over the world by buying countries and spreading the rumba lifestyle like an STD”