Thursday, June 1, 2017

VCU Alums Collaborate With Bio Ritmo Singer for Netflix Soundtrack

Posted By on Thu, Jun 1, 2017 at 12:45 AM

click to enlarge Smooth tenor singer Rei Alvarez (Bio Ritmo, Miramar) has a new song, "Conquista y Poder" on the soundtrack to the Netflix original movie, "Small Crimes," due out June 9.
  • Smooth tenor singer Rei Alvarez (Bio Ritmo, Miramar) has a new song, "Conquista y Poder" on the soundtrack to the Netflix original movie, "Small Crimes," due out June 9.

I've been thinking for awhile that Bio Ritmo should have its music in more films. The group's touring has slowed somewhat, but the music sounds as good as ever and still deserves a wider audience in the States.

Looks like my hope is starting to come true -- at least for one member of the band -- thanks to a pair of former Virginia Commonwealth University students.

Brooke and Will Blair, known as the Blair Brothers, are making a name for themselves scoring Sundance-worthy indie films such as "Blue Ruin," "Green Room" and "I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore."

Now based in Philadelphia, the brothers recently called on veteran Richmond musician Rei Alvarez, lead singer for Bio Ritmo, to contribute a track for the Netflix original film, "Small Crimes." The Latin fusion number, "Conquista y Poder," and the rest of the soundtrack will be available via the brothers' own label, Wayfind Records, in digital and streaming formats on June 9.

The track does not feature Bio Ritmo the group, Alvarez says. Instead, he was contacted to write lyrics and sing for a previously scored track.

"The track was actually inspired by one of Bio Ritmo's original major influences, Marvin Santiago, when he was singing for the Bobby Valentín orchestra," Alvarez says. "So, being a fan, I was immediately moved to come up with lyrics for the situation in the film they had described. I made a rough recording, they loved it, and then I laid down vocal tracks at Joshua Camp's (also a Richmonder) apartment in Brooklyn. At the time I was on tour with Miramar, but everything worked out perfectly. ... It was super cool to work with Will, and Josh is always awesome. Really a great experience for me."

From the producers of "Drive" and "Whiplash," the quirky crime saga stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau ("Game of Thrones") and Molly Parker ("House of Cards") and is directed by Evan Katz ("24"). It's got a stellar supporting cast, too, including Robert Forster and Gary Cole.

I haven't watched it yet, but knowing one of my favorite Richmond performers is on the soundtrack means I'll definitely check it out. (I just finished the Netflix documentary series, "The Keepers," and am still recovering from that chilling murder mystery. Damn that was dark stuff.)

“We’re not often asked to compose Latin music. When [director] Evan asked us we immediately thought of our old friends in Bio Ritmo to help," said Will Blair in a news release. "Rei’s voice brought so much life, and helped to juxtapose an otherwise tense and heavy score.”

Alvarez explains the premise for the scene in the film is two troubled souls joining for a dance in a divey bar. "The song plays in the background. So I made the song about conquest and power, two participants in the same dance."

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