Breakout Band Elastic Bond Pushes "Latin Alternative" Out of Its Box

PHOTO: Elastic Bond

The video for “Find a Way,” the breakout single by Miami act Elastic Bond, comes off as chilled-out and down-to-earth as the band itself. Released last July, the short film follows the Nacional Records act through a day at the Miami edition of the Grassroots Festival this past February.

For a cool 3:45, we see the band (helmed by vocalist Sofy Encanto and producer/programmer Andres Ponce) set up a tent like the regular punters, eat fest food, and then play a set for hula hoopers.

But while the video is cucumber cool, the cultural ascent of the actual song is quite the opposite. “Find a Way” is enjoying a hot streak. Its blend of soul, hip-hop beats, jazzy guitar licks (from axe man Buffalo Brown), and tropical lounge flair (from trumpet player David Burgos) makes the song a true urban sophisticate’s jam. So it’s no surprise that you can hear “Find a Way” piping through the speakers at Whole Foods stores nationwide or coming across the airwaves on NPR.

All of this, perhaps, points to a gradual de-ghettoizing of so-called “Latin alternative” music. Elastic Bond is an act with some Latino members, an occasional Latin music influence, and a deal with a label that’s usually associated with the “Latin alternative” movement. But there’s nothing obviously Latin about “Find a Way” – and its widespread acceptance signals a good thing for Latino musicians, says Nacional Records head Tomas Cookman.

“When you hear a song like ‘Find a Way,’ the fact that they’re Latino and from Miami, it’s totally inconsequential,” says Cookman. “It’s just a great band, which is why we’re getting the types of spins we’re getting, in Milwaukee, Syracuse, and all this other type of support which we typically don’t get for an act sold as a ‘Latino’ band.”

Indeed, Elastic Bond’s sonic mix is far more global than anything bounded by ethnic clichés. “’Tropical soul’ is sort of a term that resonates with us, because a lot of the music has that soul and jazz influence and an American urban influence,” says frontwoman Encanto. “If you hear the music there’s also a little bit of reggae, a little cha-cha combined with other electronic or soul rhythms.”

“’Latin alternative’ would be a good name to have for it on iTunes, so people could find it, but I would also say it fits into the plain ‘alternative’ category as well,” Encanto continues. “Sometimes you have to give it a name in order for it to be marketable in the digital world, for people to find you. But it’s elastic, it can go many ways.”

Click here to watch the video for Elastic Bond’s “Find a Way.”

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