Mexican musicians: the Bruscheroos review – a live mosaic of sounds

The Brusque is one of the most improvised bands in Mexico City. Its lineup has gone from one to nine, but the band’s unique sound has remained the same. In 1963, Romero William, a steel-string ace and wild-eyed pioneer of acoustic Mexican music, introduced the modern accordion in Mexico.

Some of the all-important details about the instrument — one of the oldest in the world — remain obscure to outsiders, but its accessibility and critical quality have earned it top position as Mexico’s musical instrument of choice.

The band’s newest member is Daniel Dominguez Ramirez, a bamboo and plastic virtuoso who only has three strings on each instrument. During its first few years, the band built its appeal in the back streets of Palomas, a working-class district in Mexico City. It was then passed down through generations of musicians until what is now the orchestra’s 12th member.

In the western Mexican town of Zihuatanejo, the accordion became a popular instrument of call-and-response songs. When the Walkers family of Zihuatanejo moved to Mexico City, they picked up the accordion and ran away with the band. They became legendary for life in the city.

People here love a band that imitates and reinvents the accordion, as the band does on its current album. Working in unusual keys and tempos, the band creates a sound from its members as varied as their names: Romero William, Erika Wilhelm, Eduardo Guerrero, Daniel Dominguez Ramirez, Octavio Bravo, Ansellia Higuera and Carlos González. One of the highlights of the album is the freefall speed strut the accordionists do on the cover song “Tienes Eso Extrañías”.

• The Bruscheroos tour the UK and Ireland until 21 September.

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