Omar Velasco settles into Los Angeles

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Omar Velasco is the child of a Chicago Jew turned Huichol Shaman and a Mexican hippie who met at an ashram in Santa Monica.  He started playing music as soon as he can remember but didn’t decide on a music career until he was 18 years old.  He toured with the Band A Fine Frenzy and later with Jonathon Wilson, bringing his superb guitar skills to bear on songs that range in language and genre.  HHe lived in different cities and countries while growing up, but the family finally settled in Goleta, near Santa Barbara, CA. His eclectic sensibilities came from his nomadic beginnings and being raised in a multicultural family that listened to a wide array of music. “My mother is Mexican, so there was a lot of Latin-influenced music,” Velasco explains. “My dad would listen to a lot of world music — African, Afro-Cuban, South American. He has a Yiddish background, so a lot of that, too. … Of course [there] was the Beatles and Cat Stevens, more of the popular stuff, which I love.”

 

For the last year and a half, Velasco has been laying down tracks with Wilson, who is also a sought-after producer. Previously, he played mostly solo acoustic gigs, but he just got off a tour with Cam Avery, of Tame Impala, and played with Vieux Farka Toure in LA in April. He is currently in a month long residency at The Hi Hat in Highland Park in May  He released his first album Golden Child to critical acclaim, especially the single. “Great Western City”,  a galloping number with rich vocals and a lyrical sense of storytelling.  Switching genres, as he does, the title song, “Golden Child”, is more like jazz with orchestration.  He is readying a new, self-titled album for release. The first single, “Paloma” is about human interconnectedness and the absurd tragedy of war-making.

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