BUYEPONGO Member’s bios



Bardo Martinez:  Accordion, Lead Vocals
I am the son of a Colombian mother and Mexican father born in Santa Ana Califorinia in 1984. Since that day I have crawled, then walked, then ran towards a search for deeper meaning that no school system had ever provided me. Art and music have been and are for me my premier outlets for this search.

My musical influences have been mostly shaped by my love for sixties and seventies music imbedded in me since I can remember by my father’s mix tapes, records, and cds. Since then my appreciation for this era has multiplied exponentially and has taken my soul to Brazil, (Caetano Veloso/ Tropicalia) and has rooted it to my mother’s soil, Andres Landero/ Colombian folklore.

Buyepongo is the way I express these roots, playing the accordion, composing and singing songs in order to express the energy that Colombia, its’ people, and its’ ancestral music have bred within me.

Carlos “Charlie” Diaz:  Percussion, Vocals
I was born in Amatitlan Guatemala in 1983…and moved to the united states at the age of eight years of age.
I grew up listening to by choice prophet Bob Marley, The Wailers, Carlos Patato Valdez, Fela Kuti, Todos tus muertos, Candido, Andres Landero, Giovanni Hidalgo, Hector Lavoe, Los Papines, Munequitos de Matanzas, Mongo Santamaria, Jorge Ben…many more

I was born in a very musical family. My mother been a gospel singer at church, motivated me to pick up an instrument. I first began playing drums at age of 13. The first band that i ever performed with was a local spanish ska band called “Avenida 3” which only did local shows…Then later in Cerritos College i met my bro Bardo Martinez, and Josh Navarro. We began a reggae cumbia fusion band called the “Yelotl Sound System”.. The Yelotl Sound System was a very political band. We performed everywhere we could…After taking some time of the Yelotl Sound System, I met Tambu, a master drummer from south central Los Angeles. Tambu helped shape what is now Buyepongo. Tambu helped me become a better drummer in  every way.

My mission in life is to give thanks to the creator yawned. my mission in life is to be happy and playing drums fulfills everything i do…

Edgar “Mextli” Modesto

I was raised in household where Oldies, cumbias and norteñas were my everyday sound track. My father is still to this day the most soulful person I know. His dream was that one day one of his kids play a musical instrument. Luckily he now has two kids that play music. Since I can remember music has a played a major part in my life. I was raised in Long Beach in the early 90’s during the G Funk era, so by the time I was 9 yrs old, nothing But a G Thang and Regulators were the songs ringing in my head. By the time I reached middle school I was a Wu Tang clansmen and writing on my school walls. Hip Hop was the love of my life and artist like Notorius BIG, Black Star (Mos Def and Talib Kweli), The Wu Tang Clan only made my love stronger. So when I reached high school I knew that it was only a matter of time before I started doing my own thing. That’s when I met Josh and Kevin who both had the same love I had. They introduced me to more artist and we discovered that hip hop was just one piece of the puzzle. Conscious Science (Josh) told me about this cat named Madlib and how he was on some other shit. The rabbit hole just went deeper and deeper until we created The Rebellious Roots where we started exploring Jazz, Funk, Soul for our selves. I convinced my cousin to let me borrow his credit card and bought my self some drums. Drums is the medium in which I express my self.  We started having midnight sessions every night till the crack of dawn. My boy Conscious Science started crate digging for a living so we were started  listening to everything from John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Sonny Rollins, Gil Scott Heron, Brian Jackson, Tony Williams, Sun Ra to Bob Marley, Fela Kuti, Perez Prado, Beny More, Celia Cruz and Sabu Martinez. I then met Bardo in college and we started jamming out with him and evolved into Yelotl Sound System. Reggae meets cumbias meets afro beat. At the same time I was defining my rhyme  skills and free styling with my boy Reazn(RIP) and Yukas. All together making Music the love of my life. Yelotl expressed our love for our roots and diverse cultures but thru trials and tribulations Yelotl broke up and we all went on our own paths to learn more and expand our horizons. I started working full time with my boy Yuka and Artos forming fortified tribes and performing thru out LA. Ciphers and battles a Leimert Park only made us stronger. It was around that time some of the members of Yelotl started jamming out again but this time Bardo had an accordion. I picked up the Guacharaca and the rest is history in the making. Adelante mi gente! Adelante Buyepongo!

Wilfredo “WILL”  Carrillo: Cow-bell, percussion.

My name is Wilfredo Carrillo and i was born on june 9 1982 in La Paz, Zacatecoluca El Salvador. I lived in El Salvador until the age of ten where i was raised most of my life there by my grandparents until i moved with my dad to South Los Angeles in 1992, thats where i lived and went to school until i moved to Norwalk in 1997, thats where i met the rest of the band and the rest is history. I grew up listening to various types of music from Boleros to Hip hop,but of course being born in El Salvador i was born to cumbia y tambor, merengue, and everything that has that roots spice” tu sabe. ” i’ve been inspired and influenced by many artist from Andres Landero to Fela Kuti, Los Hermanos Flores, La Orquesta San Vicente, El General, La Sonora Dinamita, Sexteto Tabala, Michael, Los Papines, Celia, Petra Martinez, Bob Marley, Los Hermanos Rosario, Mickey Laure, Mulatu, Tito Puente, Benny More, Hector Lavoe, and Last but not least “El Maestro del Tambor TAUMBU” who i have a lot of respect, for teaching us those beautiful Afro-cuban rhythms. These are just a few but, there’s many more others and the list can just go on and on. As a kid i would go to church with my parents and i was always interested in the drums and playing music, it didn’t matter what kind of music cause i love all music so i stared to practice at my house with this old drum set that my dad had bought and that’s when i started around 1995,1996 and so, after that when i was already living in Norwalk we would have some heavy duty jamming sessions from midnight to sunrise just creating roots soulful music with the brothers  Josh, Ajmaq, Metxli and other friends listening to jazz, some Weather report, Miles Davis, Sun Ra….it was that love for the music.  I hope to some day i can Bring my music to the world and show people our culture our roots and make people dance, smile and not to forget where they come from….And make The world a better place, I believe this is BUYEPONGOS MISSION  IN LIFE…..Puro Sabor y Cultura y prendan La vela mi gente…PAZ

Roberto “Josh” Navarro:  percussion.

Born in LA , into  the arms of the first brown folks I’ve ever seen.  Mama costeña de Ecuador y Hombre fuerte del monte Mesoamericano. I lived in the PICO union district till pops bought a home in NORWALK (5yrs old). Here i played ball at Vista Verde Park and rode my bike up and down the block (Maza st.) . It was impossible to avoid a fight amongst young g’s here.

Music: Moms and the Family got kids out of watching me imitate Michael Jackson’s moves.

Rap: 10yrs old (Snoop, DJ Quick, G-Funk)  Rap music caught  my attention early in my childhood.  Rap lead to Hiphop, ( Tribe Called Quest, Wu-tang, Diggable Planets, CL smooth, Mos Def) . Rhyming was my thing in high school. Freestyle sessions at snack/lunch breaks, lead to cross-town sciffers. I Eventually got  fed up with debates on what’s underground. The vast world of hip-hop samples, crate digging and rhymes giving shout outs to the masters,  lead me to discover Jazz…….

Musica Mesoamerican: Pride in my culture and love for music lead me to tap into any remnants of Maya/Mexican music I could find. In a trip to Mexico city right after high school , I witnessed ancient Mexican music. Drums , flutes, danza. I knew  there had to be a roots form of music practiced by the original inhabitants of this side of the planet.
Back in LA I hooked up with the homie Antony who plays this music throughout Aztlan.

Jazz: it shorten my attention span . Nothing but jazz mattered to me . It was free, heavy ,and had rhythm coming at you from all angles. It was definitely up to par with the thoughts running through my mind. It was like a conversation held between my moms and her peeps. . Everyone talking at the same time! It all made sense.  I thought of Jazz as the highest form of music. John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Elvin Jones, Ornette Coleman, Abbey Lincoln, Sun-ra, Archie Shepp, Leon Thomas and many more.
HIPHOP still in mind: I always have had beat making in my mind. Made my first beat in senior yr of high-school. The constant search for samples lead me to discover other forms of music. Putting samples of my favorite music in the computer allowed me to analyze the rhythm in wav format. I learned from starring at James Brown samples , what it is that makes his music hot.
Leimert Park: Live Jazz, culture and great musicians. Drum meets every Sundays. Here the Buyesero drum/percussion crew met Tambu.
Tambu guided us into the discipline of Afro Cuban percussion. Before I met Tambu ,drumming was all heart, no technique. Taumbu taught us how to listen too each other and hunt down that rhythm amongst us. He trained us through RUMBA and BEMBE.
Greatest teacher in my life , a monster on tha skins, a good friend.

Seeking roots music: This continuous quest landed me in west Africa. This place raised the bar. Heavy rhythm and Heavy people with uncanny abilities in rhythm.  Visiting the continent soothed me into being at peace with the sounds I hear.

Buyeseros!!! As a crew , we explored our musical findings together for the past 10 years. From listening records to jamming out in my hot boxed , people infested , shack late night to the break of dawn . ,(moms and pops house) , 12am -5am most every day.Under muggy , smokey , cramped , joyful  conditions we grew together in the discipline of combining the echos that are provided to us . The music we create is for you to enjoy. peace in yo’ mouth.

Randy Modesto: bass, vocals

Music has always been part of my life, it starts off with my parents taste of music which is the original source of music. as I child, I grew up listening to a lot of classic Norteño music like Ramon Ayala , Los Cadetes De Linares Miguel and so on.  I also grew up with Los Bukis, Juan Gabriel, Los Freddy’s, Fito Olivares and also James Brown and Santana.

Music to me is universal, it has no boundaries. As a musician I’ve learn from the past and from the present, with out the past you don’t have the present. James brown, Bob Marley, Cultura Profetica and Manu Chao are one of many musicians who have moved me.  Their music, their ideology, the power and love they had and have for their people have inspired me to be who i am today as a person and musician.
As a child I’ve always wanted to play music. It wasn’t till 16 that I saved enough lunch money to buy my first used instrument, which was a guitar. I have played with many different musicians with all types of music from punk to funk from hip hop to reggae from folk to cumbia. Back in 2003 I picked up the bass, I loved it ever since. my mission is to live life with no regrets so that one day I can give it back.
Kevin Linares: Drums, Bass Drums
Born in the hospital my mom worked in I was brought into this world as a king (East Los Angeles).There was a great celebration on my block when everyone found out I was a boy, people jumped on cars and confetti was thrown. I believe the whole crew deserves to be kings, considering our prestigious ancestral backgrounds. Mexica and Guatemalan, I am proud to be the fruit of a Mayan harvest. My family instilled this aura of happiness in my personality. As a young kid I remember listening to artists such as Armando Manzanero, Jose Jose, Nelson Ned, Roberto Carlos, Sonora Dinamita, Sonora Santanera, Celia Cruz, Banda Blanca, Vicente Fernandez, Banda Mexicano, Perez Prado, Michael Jackson, El General, and Mello Man Ace. In class I would make beats by tapping my hands on my desk. Although my teachers would urge me to stop, I would continue to play with time in my head. I felt as if rhythm was in the air, you had to catch it before it changed.

Entering my teens I met my good friend Josh and began to explore raw forms of music. Underground Hip Hop opened up our horizons, with influential artists such as Wu Tang, Black Star, A Tribe Called Quest, Digable Planets, and Madlib. Norwalk High School had their share of MC’s I admired. Continuously, I developed a close friendship with them. Soon after we started a short- lived hip hop group which later turned into Rebellious Roots; a band influenced by our defiant nature and elements from Rage Against the Machine, Hip Hop, and our self-determination. I played a xylophone from Thailand and ceramic drums from Morocco. My creativity was steadily growing, fascinated by my abstract impulses.

Now into live instrumentation, I decided to grow and began to practice congas. Somehow I knew that the drum was going to be my instrument and no one was going to separate me from it. While learning how to drum I discovered new roots and cultures of music, and later found a passion for collecting records; musical fossils containing profound history from all over the world. Records are like time capsules for humans to go back and experience the sentiment of that specific period. During difficult times you get beautiful music, somehow the soul is expressed at its highest level when it’s under direst. The civil rights era produced some of the most amazing music of our time and Jazz was the ultimate expression of that era. Artists such as John Coltrane, Juno Lewis, Sun Ra, Billie Holiday, Sam Rivers, Pharoah Saunders , Cecil Taylor, Archie Shepp, Last Poets, Gary Bartz, and Leon Thomas. All you have to do is take a stroll by my house and know that Jazz will be coming out of them speakers.

It’s clear that Jazz stimulates my mind but my heart belongs to drum and dance.

Caribbean/Central American and African percussion grounded me and expanded my ability. Greats such as Chano Pozo, Mongo Santamaria, Beny More, Munequitos, Cascarita, Silvestre Mendez, Machito, Patato Valdez, Sabu Martinez, Los Papines, Olatunji, and Fela inspired me to reach new levels.

During this transitional period I was in school and part of two musical groups; Melancayo Mexica, a pre–Hispanic group that incorporated indigenous instruments from Mexico and Central America (ocarinas, water drums, flutes); and Yelot, an Afro-Latin reggae/cumbia band that had a short stint in the East L.A scene.

After evaluating our musical connection we decided to take a break to later find a new direction. During this break KPFK’s radio program RISE, led me to Taumbu, a master percussionist from South Central Los Angeles. I received free tickets to go see him perform at the Mayflower Ballroom. I got connected and later began to take drumming lessons with him. Taumbu taught me approach and proper structure in rhythms such as Yambu, Bembe and Columbia. Taumbu was a guide to my unique musical path, although he moved out of the country we maintain a close friendship.

Reinvigorated the crew started broadening their rhythmic nature to our roots in South America. With the Ecuadorian flavor already in effect vocalist Bardo Martinez came back from Colombia motivated ready to make things happen, with songs like Yucca, Panama, and Antonio Quintero. BUYEPONGO, a relatively young band with a huge heart, is growing everyday. Slowly, but, surely we are integrating our Indigenous, African, Antillean, rumbero knowledge to the “UP BEAT.”  These abstract polyrhythmic beats on the drums have been hand picked and carefully arranged to fulfill your heart and brain. If you see me on the streets say what’s up, know that I’m humble and myself and that good connections can lead to big things. Love.

One Response to “BUYEPONGO Member’s bios”

  1. When is your next show????

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