Ritmo Nation

Richmond’s salsa sensations, Bio Ritmo.

New York, Miami, San Juan … Richmond? The River City might not be the first place that comes to mind as a hub for salsa music, but that’s exactly what has allowed Bio Ritmo to create a sound that is equal parts authentic and alternative.

“I don’t think Bio Ritmo would have evolved in any other city,” says Marlysse Simmons, pianist, who has been with the group, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, for more than a decade. “The quirkiness we put in our music is because of where we come from.”

The nine-member group, including lead vocalist and co-founder Rei Alvarez, is “heavily influenced by music from the ’70s, especially Puerto Rican … there’s always the jazz and Latin, but there’s also a lot of punk rock influence in terms of our approach and do-it-yourself attitudes and ways,” explains Simmons.

This summer, the band is planning to appear at festivals in North Carolina and D.C., returning for a show back in Richmond at the Broadberry in July. In the fall, they ramp back up with a celebration of the band’s silver anniversary and the release of their live album, Bio Ritmo Live/ En Vivo, recorded last year, at the Broadberry.

Will there be another 25 years for Bio Ritmo? “I don’t think there’s any stopping at this point,” says Simmons. “There are ideas and momentum to keep things going.” BioRitmo.com


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