La Vida Alta: Breaking the sound, language barrier


May 20, 2010 at 12:20 a.m.

They don't look like your typical Spanish band. They definitely don't sound like your typical Spanish band.

But for new local band La Vida Alta, none of that matters. For them, it's all about the music.

Fresh on the scene, the band formed about a year ago and has since been making waves with their fusion of traditional Spanish, Cumbia and reggae music mixed, with grunge, punk and ska. Composed of guitarist Chris Pitt, bassist Rollie Medrano, drummer Andrew Geibel and Alfred Garcia on vocals and rhythm guitar, the four Victoria bandmates are ready to make a name for themselves, Garcia said.

"It's a different sound. It's a sound for a new generation of Spanish music fans," he added. "We're crossing the boundaries and borders of language. Because really, if the music moves you, that's all you need."

In fact, two of the band's members, Pitt and Geibel, don't even understand Spanish, let alone speak it. As the two white members of the band, they also often get odd stares before they start playing on stage, Geibel said.

"We played La Paloma last week, and when we walked in, everyone was like, 'Who are you?' But it was fun. It's the music that counts," he added. "Once they hear our sound, the audience will come up to us and start talking to us."

Sometimes, even in Spanish.

"I once had a guy come up to me and talk to me for five minutes in Spanish," Pitt laughed. "I think he was complimenting me."

It's that positive reaction to the music that has the band optimistic for the future. Not quite a year ago, they were just four guys hanging out in a bedroom playing instruments together and, now, they're Victoria's own La Vida Alta, Garcia said.

"We got started playing at Mario's Ballroom, and we only had two songs at the time. So, we walk in, we look different from traditional Hispanic bands and everyone is looking at us strange. But by the time the two songs were over, people were asking us 'Where have you been?'" he said. "That says a lot. Now we've had a couple of our songs play on the radio, and we're working on refining our style."

With all original music in both English and Spanish, and in some cases, a mixture of the two, the band has already recorded five songs and is planning on heading back into the Blue Armadillo Studio with Michael Weston to record five more songs. The album, which is currently untitled, is set to be released sometime this summer.

"And so, this is where we're at right now. Just working on new songs and trying to get our sound out to people," Garcia said. "Getting here is a big accomplishment and doing it in this style that no one's heard. It shows we're going in a good direction, and we just want someone to give us a chance to play."

For more information on La Vida Alta, go to



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