The Return of El Santo

King Changó

March 7, 2000

You say you like it RAW? You think you know what the New World Order is all about? Well you’ll wanna grab a seat ringside when New York’s Latin alternative ambassadors, King Chango, spice up the rock ‘n’ wrestling connection with The Return of El Santo! Led by irrepressible frontman Andrew Blanco, King Chango step into the ring in tribute to Mexico’s wrestling superstar, the masked warrior known as El Santo, with their first album in three years — and a sound so energetic and fresh we don’t need no little chihuahua dog to sell it.

From their birth on New York City’s mean streets, King Chango quickly established themselves at the top of Latin rock’s international heap with their 1996 Luaka Bop debut. Their mix of hard-charging ska, Latin rhythm, and roots reggae converted virgin audiences into true believers from Venezuela to Mexico, Spain, and Japan; “Melting Pot” the single and video off of their first album saw regular rotation on MTV Latino and M2.

Now, with the Return of El Santo, King Chango — named for the Afro-Cuban god of war — pay tribute to another Latin bruiser with a new musical vision. Like radioactive embryos in the petridish of New York, King Chango have gone godzilla size. Leaner and meaner, streetwise and funky, encompassing the full plate of pop culture from trip-hop dubadelica (“Lil Sister”) to sexy love ballads (“Sin Ti”) to full-bore punk attacks (“Full Time Business”), Latin drum ‘n’ bass (“Tu Vera”), and straight up Venezuelan roots and culture on “Brujeria,” El Santo manages to make the free-for-all of “Melting Pot” seem tame.

In the years since King Chango’s debut, the world of Latin alternative music has exploded. The so-called Latin Boom in mainstream U.S. pop has nothing on a worldwide revolution that’s seen whole genres, from Latin electronica and to bilingual hip-hop, spring up from Argentina, Mexico,Puerto Rico, and beyond. King Chango proved themselves to be in the vanguard of a post modern, mix-n-match aestetic– a multicultural, coed band of Venezuelans, Asians, Dominicans, Nuyoricans, and more made something new out of traditional music from mariachi to mambo, dub to cumbia. El Santo features like-minded guests including the Ozomatli horn section on “Full Time Business” and Nuyorican rapper Baby Powa (of MTV’s Lyricists Lounge fame).

The Return of El Santo Album Art