Los Amigos Invisibles, at Hollywood Bowl, has a friend in Dudamel
Los Amigos Invisibles, which is playing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl Friday and Saturday, has at least one friend who's very visible these days: Gustavo Dudamel, the Phil's music director.
Like the band, renowned for its dance-happy fusions of funk, merengue and disco, Dudamel is a Venezuela native who's well-versed in multiple musical genres. As anyone who has seen him and his wife, Eloisa, salsa dancing can attest, Dudamel -- whose father played in bands -- is as at home on a dance floor as he is conducting the Phil at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
In a phone interview from his New York home this week, Jose Luis "Cheo" Pardo, the Amigos' DJ, producer and chief songwriter, said that he and his bandmates have known Dudamel and his wife, a journalist and dancer-choreographer, for many years.
"Eloisa used to go to Los Amigos shows back in Caracas," Cheo said, adding that he met Dudamel later through a common friend. "He’s like a national icon back in Venezuela, so whenever we can get together and sit down and have a drink we do it."
It was Dudamel who helped arrange for Los Amigos to make their Bowl debut this weekend with the Phil, along with Rodrigo y Gabriela, the Mexico City "thrash metallurgists" whose dueling guitars combine a classical melodic verve with the percussive urgency of a steam drill.
Cheo said he and his bandmates have performed with a symphony orchestra once before, and are eager to see what sort of orchestral arrangements the Phil and the program's conductor, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, have in mind.
"For us, like any music idea, we’re totally open to it. We want to take our songs to a different level," he said. "To listen to our songs with an orchestral arrangement is definitely going to blow our minds up."
Besides their Bowl gig, Los Amigos also will be performing Sept. 8 at the House of Blues in Anaheim and Sept. 9 at the Music Box in Los Angeles on a bill with Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux and Tijuana techno-wizards Nortec Collective.
-- Reed Johnson
Photo: Los Amigos Invisibles. Credit: Nacional Records