They came to the US from cosmopolitan Buenos Aires, Argentina, with a mixture of Latin rhythms, performed with Spanish guitars, a Cuban Tres, Peruvian cajón (box-drum) and harmonizing vocals. Vivacious and infectious, the sound of Los Pinguos has claimed fans worldwide, from their hometown to the streets of Los Angeles. The story began in 1999 when Adrián Buono, José Agote, Juan Manzur, Juan Manuel Leguizamón and Enzo Buono formed the band to play in clubs, bars, and private parties throughout Buenos Aires. Their exciting, passionate live shows garnered a devoted fan base, inspiring the talented ensemble to pursue global attention. So they packed their bags and headed north to the Californian shores. Newly arrived to the City of Angels in early 2001, Los Pinguos began playing at local bars such as The Latin Lounge, The Knitting Factory, Key Club, Temple Bar and Little Temple. As their popularity grew, they were invited to perform at the end-of-season party for the hit FOX show “Dharma and Greg”. It was when they started to perform for the crowds at Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade (a Los Angeles shopping/restaurant hot spot) that the band realized their potential to reach a wide and diverse audience. While performing, they were spotted by a talent scout who urged them to audition for a new television show, “The Next Big Star”, hosted and produced by Ed McMahon of “Star Search” fame. In spite of fierce competition from more seasoned groups, and being the only Latin band to perform, Los Pinguos won the audience vote and rightly claimed the Grand Prize. Soon after this, new bassist Santiago (Fefe) Lee joined the group, giving Los Pinguos a strong backbone and groove to the music, new and old. Since then, they have recorded five new albums –"Camino Bueno" (2002), “Serenata” (2003), “Live In Los Angeles” (2005) a live double CD on Kufala Records “Peripecias” (2006) and “California” (2008). They’ve played with such acts as Ozomatli, Yerba Buena, Charlie Zaa, Pablo Montero, Paul Anka, Plácido Domingo, Charly Garcia and famed Argentinean rockers Bersuit Vergarabat. They also appeared at the 2005 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL with female songstress Suzanne Vega. Los Pinguos’ music has appeared in TV shows such as “The Shield”, “The L Word”, and is featured in the Antonio Banderas and Emma Thompson film “Imagining Argentina” as well as the new “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movie. The band also participated in the award winning documentary on street musicians entitled, “Playing for Change”. Most recently, they have appeared on three of the world famous Putumayo World Music compilations, “Baila!”, “Radio Latino” and “World Party”. Currently the band can be found touring throughout the U.S. and beyond, including Mexico, Canada and most recently were invited to play at the renowned Blue Balls Music Festival and the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.
Matt Jennings: Matt Jennings grew up in Pittsburgh mimicking hard rock guitarists as a kid. After moving to Minneapolis for college, he studied abroad in Mexico and later taught English in China. In Mexico, he was entranced by the sound of mariachi trumpeters and violinists practicing on the streets. And he learned the basic techniques of mariachi guitar firsthand from a man named Nacho. In China, he played in a live karaoke band and a Chinese hard rock band, while spending countless hours watching the South China Sea out his apartment window with a $20 Kapok guitar in his hands. After soaking in how these different cultures use rhythm and melody, he transformed his hard rock roots into something akin to an open-minded journey around the globe.
Upon returning from abroad he hit the American music scene with his own brand of INTERNATIONAL ROCK. Since then he has self-released two albums and toured the country extensively, sharing the stage with acts such as Bombino, Zee Avi, Seun Kuti & Egypt '80, Ozomatli, Locos por Juana, Los Amigos Invisibles, Red Baraat, Orgone, The Beautiful Girls, and his brother Mason Jennings.
Bongoloidz : Fredo has recorded his first E.P. with songs of life, love and sorrow. His influences range from Jawbreakers power chords to Jean-Luc Pontey's New Age sound. He has been performing live at L.A.'s hip, hot venues with a live show like no other. The Bongoloidz show consists of on-the-spot musical innovation in edgy live loops as well as his latest put-together tunes commonly featuring special guest artist cameos. You can hear a taste of the upcoming album at: http://snd.sc/vhspvm
Playing live gigs and working in studio sessions led to meeting keyboard player Money Mark in 1996. Mark was impressed with the uniquely versatile Ortiz, and subsequently introduced him to the Beastie Boys - who were looking for a new percussionist. They too liked Fredo, and within weeks he was on a plane to Australia to play percussion with the Beasties on tour.
Fredo has been performing with the Beastie Boys worldwide as their drummer and percussionist ever since. He was featured in their film "Awesome; I... Shot That!" which was a sold out performance at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Alfredo's percussion was also featured on the Beastie Boys' Grammy Award winning instrumental album, "The Mix-Up".
Ortiz has worked and performed with many other well-known artists and musicians, including Money Mark, Los Lobos, Tenacious D, The Offspring, Morningwood, Blackalicious, Tito Larriva (Tito & Tarantula), The Julie Ruin (Kathleen Hanna), Salvador Santana, Ozomatli, Sean Lennon, Chromeo, Mariachi El Bronx and Tommy Guerrero (just to name a few). He has made appearances on Saturday Night Live, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, TRL, Top Of The Pops and Carson Daly.