Latin alternative band Sol Peligro turns 14
Most bands break up. Members get married, have families or just change as humans do, and the common project that once brought musicians together stops being fun.
It takes a certain kind of animal to stay together, and the 14-year-old Sacramento Latin band Sol Peligro is that kind of zoo. Frontman Sam Miranda says he is committed to the band for life, and the eight other players are committed to giving audiences a good time. Together, they fill a void as one of the few bands providing original Latin jams to Sacramento.
“It’s more common to see a band not last too long,” Miranda says. “We’re celebrating that it’s a feat to do nowadays. How sometimes it’s hard to keep things together.”
This could be Sol Peligro’s biggest year yet. The band is riding a high after opening for Los Lobos at Ace of Spades in September. There, it caught the eye of Latin music producer and Los Lobos keyboardist Steve Berlin. Following an anniversary show Friday at Old Ironsides, the venue where the band began, Sol Peligro will return to the studio to finish its second album, an unnamed followup to the 2005 debut, Los Gritos de mi Pueblo (“Screams of My People”).
The first single, “Paraiso,” will be released in the spring or summer, Miranda says. Spanish for “Paradise,” it’s a tune about the morning after a romantic night. Warm guitar twang, outer-space wah-ed keyboard and a reggae-cumbia rhythm are the soundtrack to Miranda’s plea for a special someone to stick around. “No te vayas mi hermosa nena,” he repeats, with a voice inspired by Juan Gabriel and Sergio Curbelo, the former lead singer of the Puerto Rican salsa-metal band Puya.
“It’s like the phrase, ’You only live once,’” Miranda says. “I don’t like that, though. I like the phrase, ’You die once, but you gotta live every fucking day.’ Tomorrow’s not guaranteed, so go for it.”
Miranda says the lyrics will mostly stick to lighthearted topics, such as trying to cure a hangover, but political messages are welcome. Supporting migrant farmworkers (Miranda’s late mother was a labor advocate), and, maybe, discussing the president will be hidden throughout songs.
“I like to use that as undertones. You’re going to listen to cumbia, you’re going to dance, and I’m just gonna slide something in there, to where it’s not going to be totally standout-ish,” Miranda says. “But that’s not going to be the overall concept or theme.”
Miranda formed Sol Peligro in 2005, after family life pushed the former Raigambre frontman to start a new band. He secured a gig with longtime promoter Jerry Perry at Old Ironsides, and the band cycled through members throughout the years. The turning point was in 2015, when the band opened for Los Angeles Latin rockers Ozomatli at The Fillmore in San Francisco.
“To me, that’s like an athlete playing Madison Square Garden,” he says. “To top all that off, they liked us.”
Since then, the underrepresentation of Latin music in Sacramento hasn’t changed much, Miranda says. The genre is mostly overlooked, and few bands, such as La Noche Oskura, play original tunes.
“Sacramento is known for its Deftones, its Cakes, for its Brother Lynch Hungs,” Miranda says. “We’re here, too. Don’t skip us. … It’s still a struggle, but it’s a struggle I don’t mind being a part of.”