While the genre originated in the mid-to-late sixties, funk music lives on today as some of the most powerful forms of creative expression. It’s a window of music that only a certain kind of music enthusiast chooses to look through and see it for what it is, recognizing that while the music itself can be playful, it also represents a certain kind of attitude.
It’s this attitude that Mexican funk band Fiusha thrives in, fully representing the sounds of their inspiration while staying true to their authentic selves. “You can definitely tell what our influences are, but we are definitely not trying to be like them,” explains keyboardist Eduardo De La Vara, or “Edo.” Inspired by the contemporary sounds of fellow-funksters Lettuce, Galactic, and Soulive, Fiusha’s sound incorporates an evolutionary attitude to the traditional concepts of funk, rock, hip-hop, and jazz influences. They catapult off conventional tones and aim toward the synthesizing elements that ultimately define their sound as different.
“When we started this band, we were all going to music college, Berklee Internstional Networ (BIN), so that’s where all the academic jazz aspects came into play; but we were also all hard-rockers at the time.” The result of that combination maintained an edge and an attitude, while simultaneously incorporating the educational harmonic and melodic developments of jazz. “We’re neither rock nor jazz,” explains De La Vara. “But fortunately our music fits into both molds.”
The combination of such academic mindsets, colored by the personality of their individual passions, resulted in Fiusha (a misspelling of the color fuchsia). While the band hails from Mexico City, their music is not distinctly Mexican unless you listen to their lyrics. Bilingual by nature, it’s the type of Spanish that they sing that might reveal their actual heritage.
“We live different realities here in Mexico, especially in Mexico City,” explains guitarist Uller Ibarra. “The lyrics are pretty influenced by what we live day to day.” Their particular position in music welcomes the opportunity to bring awareness to various politic themes in their culture.
“Our main theme is to not conform to anything, to not become a tool, or be part of a set system without making your own choices, without questioning what might not seem right,” explains De La Vara. “It’s not about going against everything just for the sake of going against everything, it’s about finding out what you’re about, who you are, what you believe, and ultimately what you want to bring to the world.” That’s what their most recent record Funk The Power! is all about. It’s the feeling that funk provides which ties this sense of understanding together. “For us, funk isn’t just a music genre; it’s a way of life. As long as you keep it funky, that’s genuine enough. As long as you’re being honest with your own beliefs, then it’s cool. We can jam and you can dance to our beat!”
Stepping away from the confined walls of a songbook, Fiusha often includes guest musicians in their live performances and enjoy the improvisational freedom of these diverse settings. It’s that belief of contagious open-mindedness that defines the nature of both their sound and their lyrics.
Funk Da Power! is Fiusha’s latest release, and it is in this body of work in which they masterfully blended hip-hop’s strength with funk’s delight, along with rock’s intensity, while also displaying musical and lyrical evolution. Listen to their title track below:
Led by Uller Ibarra (guitar, vocals), Mauricio Suárez “Mou” (drums) and Eduardo De La Vara “Edo” (keys), the full band includes Jenny Beaujean (vocals), Alán Fajardo (trumpet), Fermín Fortiz (bass) and Fernando Su (percussion). It’s safe to say they are the true ambassadors of funk music in Mexico, having fostered an entire scene that follows in their footsteps.
Check out some more of Fiusha’s live performances, fresh off their YouTube channel:
Recently, Fiusha made a record deal with the international record label Ropeadope in their southern division. Fans can expect a new album this summer, while the band tours their local festival circuit, including an opening act for the one-and-only Chaka Khan. While having incredible success in their previous visits to New York City, Fiusha’s next step is to come back to the United States, and do as many shows as possible.
If you haven’t already, show them some love on Facebook, give their music a listen, and keep your eyes and ears peeled for more Fiusha.