Regional Mexican music is quickly becoming one of the most popular genres in the U.S. It’s not surprising, given the latest census statistics that show the number of Hispanics in the U.S. reached 50 million in 2010: One in every six Americans is a Latino.
Banda los Recoditos is taking advantage of that larger audience. Co-written by band member Marco Figueroa, their smash “Ando Bien Pedo” was one of the most popular Regional Mexican songs of last year. In fact, the song earned Figueroa his first-ever BMI Latin Music Award and topped the Hot Latin Songs and Regional Mexican Songs charts. The album of the same name, bearing more of Figueroa’s song craftsmanship, became the group’s first #1 on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart.
A fierce instrumentalist, Figueroa’s musicianship informs his songwriting. He has penned gems for other trendsetters, including Joaquin Lira “El Presumido,” El Lobito de Sinaloa, La Picudisima Banda Verde, K-Paz de la Sierra, and more. However, his chart-topping success with his own Banda los Recoditos has been especially sweet. He is helping shape the sound of a fresh young band, that is, in turn, shaping the sound of a generation.
The video for “Ando Bien Pedo” is set in a strip club where some of the guys in the band — who look barely old enough to be there — are trying to help the lead vocalist forget a bad break-up. All normal music video fare, except for the 17-piece band with horn section and matching ranchero outfits playing traditional Mexican folk music in the background. It’s Lawrence Welk meets the Sopranos.
But this is not your grandfather’s banda music. “Ando Bien Pedo” means “I’m so wasted,” which may partially explain the tune’s popularity with younger audiences. In the end, the song’s success exemplifies the unique position Banda los Recoditos — banda music in general — occupies, straddling the ever-blurring line between tradition and today.