With Rumbaristas, Willy Fuego (Amparanoia, La Kinky Beat), Thomas 'Don Tomasino' Morzewski (Orchestre International du Vetex) and Roel Poriau and Thomas de Smet (Think of One), created a European mestizo supergroup. Rumbaristas (a band name you can read in two ways: Rumba musicians or baristas who prefer to serve a firm rum instead of coffee, see also the cover of the album on which the heads of the band members were replaced by the top of the typical Italian Bialetti moka pots) is actually the result of a chance meeting in the rehearsal room of La Petite Fabriek in Tournai in the spring of 2016, where at that time Willy Fuego was in residence with Amparanoia when Roel Poriau and Thomas Morzewski popped in to have a drink after a performance with Orchestre International du Vetex.
In the best underground Latin tradition, they jammed together until the early hours of the morning, and, as Thomas Morzewski explains: "We really found it interesting to see how similar Willy Fuego's rumba catalana sounded to the more Central European influences we often draw from.". Roel Poriau adds: "The Latin world Willy is living in is really interesting for us, especially when you link it to other influences that we have been working on in recent years, be it with Think of One, Antwerp Gypsy-Ska or my percussion and production work for Vetex.". In the fall of 2016 a number of tryout pub gigs followed, and in December the foursome took to Studio Porino in Borgerhout, Antwerp, to record their first 5 track EP ('Azucar De Verano').
Fast forward to 2018 and we once again find the quartet in the studio, this time for the recordings of a first album, produced by Manu Chao's Radio Bemba percussionist and drummer David Bourguignon; an album they hope will be a breath of fresh air in the often too clean sounding peloton of European world music. In this case, mestizo can be taken very literally, both musically - sometimes reminiscent of Italian band Baciamolemani (the reggae-flavored 'Panda Revolution', in which you can also hear the scratching of DJ Courtasock, 'Bruciamo La Candela', or the Sicilian evergreen 'Ciuri Ciuri'), then sounding like pure Spanish rumberos ('Canhaveral', 'Mala Hierba', the first single from the album with bassist Tomas De Smet proving Antwerp dialect sounds almost the same as Spanish, instant summer hit 'Vivir Sin Ti', or title track 'Rumbaristas'), or gitanos ('Isola'), and songs like 'Derrumbar' and 'Que Lio' (in which we recognized an echo of the legendary Cuban song 'Chan Chan') immediately reminding yours truly of Barcelonese band Macaco - and where the composition of the band is concerned: two Belgians, a Spaniard and a French-Sicilian Pole. The musical summer starts a little earlier this year!