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Ruckatan Brings Blend Of World Music To Chacho’s For C2SV Latin Music Showcase

In Music
‘Perfect Fit’: Ruckatan’s eclectic music is the result of many disparate pieces falling into place.

‘Perfect Fit’: Ruckatan’s eclectic music is the result of many disparate pieces falling into place.

A year and a half ago, veteran Bay Area musician Carlos Elizalde nearly called it quits. For more than two decades the lead singer of Ruckatan had been playing in local bands—including The Yardies, Mirage, Bautista, Cantera and La Ventana—but he had hit a roadblock that seemed insurmountable.

Elizalde’s cousin was bowing out to go in a different musical direction and Ruckatan was without a guitarist. The prospect of finding a suitable replacement—someone who would be able to seamlessly integrate and contribute to the group’s complex, highly structured style—was daunting. After all, it had taken more than eight years to find the members he was currently playing with.

Ruckatan had become “a melting pot that fused really well together,” Elizalde says of his band’s sound—an eclectic mix of Latin, reggae, pop, rock, soul and world music. “We didn’t dumb it down. If anything, what we did was take it to a level where not only the people that are into jazz and Latin can identify, but regular folks can get [into a] hook from a song.”

Thankfully Carlos Hernandez, a fan of Ruckatan for the better part of a decade, stepped in, declaring he’d wanted to play with the group for years. With an ear for their sound, Hernandez clicked, and will be rocking out with his bandmates this Saturday at Chacho’s as part of the C2SV Latin Music Showcase.

It would have been a shame if Ruckatan had disbanded. Though this lineup has only technically been together for five years, Ruckatan has been an entire lifetime in the making.

Take the group’s moniker, for starters. The word “Ruckatan” comes from a line in a limerick that Elizalde’s father used to sing to him as a child.

Then there’s the work—as well as the providence—that went into getting all the right people together playing music as Ruckatan.

It was through Craigslist that Elizalde linked up with Blaine Hoopes, a multi-instrumentalist whom he calls “the mad professor.” But it was something almost nearer divine intervention that brought keyboardist Jose Angel Amador to the band. Elizalde happened to hear Amador playing on one of the store’s keyboards and was immediately taken with the power of his style. Elizalde urged Amador to try out for his group. “He was a perfect fit,” Elizalde says.

From there, the pieces slowly fell into place—with each member of Ruckatan’s current seven-man lineup bringing his own unique style to the table.

It’s little wonder Elizalde views the band as more than just a collection of musicians working toward a single goal. To him, Ruckatan is a “tribe.” It’s a notion that extends beyond the band to Ruckatan’s fans, who Elizalde views as possessing the same collective spirit.

Ruckatan will play C2SV’s Latin Music Showcase at Chacho’s on Sept. 13. More info.

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