By ERIC SCHELKOPF
Blending Latin country music with jazz and rock, Chicago band Radio Free Honduras is helping add to the rich musical tapestry of the local music scene.
It's been a busy year for the band, which released its debut album earlier this year. Radio Free Honduras will ring in the New Year at the Chi-Town Rising New Year's Eve celebration.
The band will perform at 8:35 p.m. on the Broadcast Boulevard stage at 151 E. Wacker Drive. Tickets are available by going to http://chi-townrising.com.
I had the chance to talk to Radio Free Honduras guitarist and musical director Dan Abu-Absi about the band.
Q - Great talking to you. I understand that the band will be part of the Chi-Town Rising Music Series on New Year's Eve. How does it feel to be ringing in the new year with several Chicago bands?
It feels really, really good to be part of Chi-Town Rising. They have some excellent talent lined up to perform and we are honored to be included.
Q - I know you released your debut album earlier this year. In sitting down to make the album, what were your goals and do you think you achieved them?
The primary goal in making our album was to capture the essence of what we were doing musically at that moment in time. We think that we did that pretty well and we're very happy with the result.
We were also lucky enough to have some amazing guests musicians like Howard Levy on the recording, and we couldn't be more pleased with how it all came together. Of course, now we have a new goal of trying to get our music heard by more folks, so that's one reason why we are thrilled to be at Chi-Town Rising for NYE.
Q - You funded the CD through Kickstarter. Was it gratifying that people wanted to give to the fundraising campaign to ensure the CD would be made?
Yes, we are so grateful to our Kickstarter backers for their generosity and their interest in the band. Albums cost money to make and they take time and effort to promote, but in this world full of worthy causes we weren't sure whether or not our cause would resonate with people.
Thanks to all of those who pitched in we were able to make a good quality recording and hire some help with promotion. I don't know where we would be without those beautiful people!
Q - I know the band revolves around legendary Honduran musician Charlie Baran. How did the band form? What do you think each band member brings to the table?
For many years I admired Charlie as a lead guitarist, and eventually I had a chance to meet him and play with him as part of a different project. We stayed in touch after that and then at some point we got together just to casually play some music.
I was immediately struck by his singing and songwriting, and I instantly became determined to do whatever I could to bring his important music to life. One of my roles in the group has been bringing together the various band members, and it has been very rewarding to play with some of finest musicians in Chicago as we support Charlie's artistry and talent.
Q - What do you think of the Chicago music scene and where do you think the band fits into it?
I truly love the music scene in Chicago. There is an incredible variety of music and people in this city, and we try to let as much of it as possible wash over us and our music.
One of my favorite things about this band is the way we allow such a wide range of influences to be part of what we do, and I don't think that we could have developed our sound anywhere but in Chicago.
Q - What are the band's short-term and long-term goals?
We gain new fans with every performance, and so one of our main goals is to play for as many people as possible. We can't wait to get back in to the recording studio to make another album as well, but for now, we are focused on promoting our debut album and reaching more people through meaningful live show experiences.