I am sitting at my 9-5 listening to music. It almost sounds like there is a concert coming from the office. My colleague asks “What is that?” I tell him it’s El Trio. It’s not quite rock, not quite grunge, not quite jazz. The band’s lead singer, songwriter and multi-talented, multi-instrument playing founder, Jonatan Pina, labels the band as “Rock Fusion”.
The band’s native land is that of the Dominican Republic. Jonatan, a teacher by day, moonlighting as a closet musical guru, has been singing and songwriting for over 15 years. He auditioned different musicians and finally gained solace in Kilvin Pena on bass and Johandy Urena on drums. The threesome is currently on the brink of their third album and an upcoming summer tour in the next couple of weeks.
The band frequents bars and musical festivals in Santiago, Dominican Republic–where they have become a staple in Latin sounds with jazz and rock influences. When asking Pina of his mentoring musical inspiration, he excitedly speaks of the late Luis Dias. He doesn’t want to talk about his music, but he speaks of times when he was fortunate enough to meet his musical idol and share a drink. “I didn’t want to waste the moment just talking about one thing,” he muses.
My curiosity began to wander to how accessible El Trio would be to an American going on vacation. Unfortunately native bands do not frequent resorts. However, Pina says that there are exchange students that come to study in the Dominican Republic, as well as a few tourists who sneak away from the resort. Although there are no immediate plans for an English Crossover album, Pina has definite plans to have one in the future. He is currently in the works of sharing a track with New York native underground rapper Hache ST who will also be on the Dominican Republic-wide tour. They are also currently collaborating on an EP with Hache ST.
The band’s other musical influences include Hendrix, King Crimson, Sound Garden, Fito Paez, as well as many other 70’s rock bands. The band’s successes are rooted in the passion for music in their leader as well as the willingness to grow and induce different sounds in their music by the rest of the group. With tracks such as Solo en Cancion and La Verdad, I am pretty sure that anyone in your vicinity who hears the sounds of El Trio will inquire as well. Their music can currently be found on iTunes.
Whether its rock, jazz, latin rock, latin-jazz-grunge-rock, or “rock fusion” El Trio stands in a genre by themselves.