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Chuco Soul Project gives local music a fresh vibe

Andres Martinez
Chuco Soul Project performs at the State Line.

Many bands form through mutual interest in music amongst friends and acquaintances. Others bands are brought together by talent scouts. Some bands simply get together at someone’s garage and jam out on their instruments, not looking to pursue anything substantial.

The formation of one local band started off as informal playing sessions, but has lead to something more.

  “Chuco Soul came to be through fate, ability and good timing,” said Selina Nevarez, lead vocalist of the band and a UTEP alumna, who graduated in 2011 with a degree in music..

The Chuco Soul Project is a local reggae and Latin rock band whose creative fusion of both musical genres has given them a unique yet mature sound.

The band has presented a younger face in a crowd of typically older bands at many of the local music events, including the Cool Canyon Nights concert series.

The band was started two years ago by Nevarez and David Angerstein, on electric violin and backup vocals. Cynthia Guiterrez, on flute and accompanying vocalist, Christian Charles, on electric guitar, Mario Ramirez, on keyboards, Fred Porras, on bass, and J.J. Hernandez on drums.

“All of us in the band have professional playing experience and we were meeting regularly to jam,” Nevarez said.

The band started by writing songs and booking smaller gigs, continuously adding more gigs to their schedule.

“Now after two years, we’re still at it, writing better songs and booking bigger gigs,” Nevarez said.

Nevarez attributes the creation of their music to the ever-changing and unique culture of El Paso.

“We love El Paso and work to represent the combining of different genres and styles to create this unique blend that is El Paso,” Nevarez said.

Although their music encompasses a mixture of reggae and Latin rock, they never truly decided what genre of music the band would play.

“Who we are and what we know really comes through in our playing,” Nevarez said.

Not having one set genre to compose music to, their songs tend to range within a large scale of genres. This has allowed them to play a combination of many types of music.

“We enjoy a wide variety of music, and during our sets, you’ll be able to hear that in an original mix of reggae, rock, funk, jazz, R&B and even a little bit of country,” Nevarez said.

Chuco Soul Project has played at multiple venues and will be playing at the Cool Canyon Nights concert series at the McKelligon Canyon Amphitheatre on June 18. The different bands at the month-long event tend to appeal to an older crowd, but Chuco Soul Project stands out by playing music targeted to a younger audience.

“There are some incredible musicians in El Paso,” Nevarez said. “The older generations inspire the young and, if we’re lucky, the cycle goes on and on.”

Performing together as a band has been a rewarding experience for Nevarez and the other members of Chuco Soul Project.

“What I love most about performing is being able to connect with an audience,” Nevarez said. “To watch a crowd get up and dance or shed a tear to music that you created is a thrilling experience.”

The members of Chuco Soul Project plan to continue playing music and writing new songs in the future.

“We’ll continue to do what we do for as long as we can,” Nevarez said. “As individuals, we are all constantly growing and evolving. So while we have each other, we’ll keep practicing, record more albums, tour when we can and be ready for all opportunities that may arise.”

Along with their performance at Cool Canyon Nights, Chuco Soul Project will also be playing at the Mountain Music Festival in Cloudcroft, New Mexico, and on the Durango Stage at the El Paso Downtown Street Fest on June 26.

“If you haven’t seen us yet, come check us out,” Nevarez said. “We have our freshman album ‘Chuco Soul Live’ for sale at all our gigs and at All That Music.”

Julia Hettiger may be reached at [email protected].

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Chuco Soul Project gives local music a fresh vibe