The New Face of Post-Latin Music:

Carne Cruda Emerges as House Band for Experimental Latin Artists

In a converted warehouse in East Oakland, a group of professional musicians shared an open loft space as they eked out their livings as hired guns for local and nationally touring acts. When they came home from their gigs playing with salsa bands, funk groups, cumbia conjuntos, jazz combos, and rock power trios, they formed a creative collective that brought all these elements and more to a simmer under the fire of the hyphy, norteño, and banda beats blasting from the trunks of lowriders cruising by their South Fruitvale industrial warehouse home. That band is the legendary Carne Cruda, who have teamed up with super-producer Greg Landau to create a visionary new album, named after the place that inspired them to fuse this eclectic creation from the bowels of that diverse city: “Oakland’s Tight.”

Once a happy-go-lucky party band coveted by dance party throwers for their uncanny ability to make every booty shake, Carne Cruda has matured with the experience of touring the world as the backup band for such diverse acts as Ms. Lauren Hill, Omar Sosa, Tito Puente Jr., John Santos, Quetzal, Susana Baca, Kepa Junkera, Rico Pabon, The Cuban Cowboys, Jesus Diaz, Dr. Loco, Alex Cuba; the list goes on and on. “I love the fact that everyone in the band plays with a million other bands,” declares guitarist and vocalist Camilo Landau. “That way everyone brings those various perspectives to the band’s creative process. Not to mention the level of musicianship is incredible.”

And the album is a testament to their musical skill. “Normally, once we get the basic tracks down we have to go back and replace just about everything,” points out four-time Grammy®-nominated producer Greg Landau about the recording process. “With Carne Cruda’s ‘Oakland’s Tight’ we recorded ten songs in one day, and all the parts stayed. That way we were able to really spend the time focusing on the mix, getting killer sounds, and inviting guest artists.”

Because of Carne Cruda’s status as well-respected professionals, they were able to call in all the hotshot guest artists they wanted. Cuban virtuoso free-jazz pianist Omar Sosa takes a hot Fender-Rhodes solo on the track “Chuleta,” a song about the deliciousness of fried pork-chops smothered in cheese, and Dandha da Hora from Brazilian funksters SambaDá sings the Johnny Cash classic “Ring of Fire,” with a Brazilian twist. Kevin Masaya Kmetz from prog-rock legends Estratashpere joins in with an inspired Japanese Shamisen solo over a ska-bachata tune called “Shark Attack!” and Marta Gonzales from East LA’s Chicano pioneers Quetzal chimes in on some coros with her distinctive vocal stylings.

The collaborations delved even deeper when Carne Cruda, at one of their annual Night After New Year’s Eve warehouse parties, invited Brazilian samba queen Dandara Backen to sit in with them onstage. “All of a sudden everyone’s attention was sucked to the front of the room,” recalls bassist Ayla Davila. “We thought we had a high-energy stage show, but Dandara takes it to a whole new level. She’s used to singing and dancing on a carnival float for 8 hours non-stop, so for her two or three hours is nothing.”

Dandara and Carne Cruda meshed together so well that they decided to embark on a series of collaborations. Dandara recorded two more songs for the “Oakland’s Tight” album, and Carne Cruda began learning classic Carnival repertoire for their new Brazilian project De Bahia a Bahia. “I’m from Salvador, Bahia, Brazil,” explains Dandara, described by the head of the Monteux Jazz Festival as the Brazilian Tina Turner, “and they are from the Bahia of San Francisco. So we decided to name the project after the two places, De Bahia a Bahia: from one bay to another.”

And everywhere that Carne Cruda goes, the crowds love them. The fourth of their epic European tours had them focusing on the former Yugoslavia, including Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, and Macedonia. “The craziest gig on that tour was Beerfest Belgrade. We found out that Serbians love beer and they love music,” recounts baritone saxophonist Charlie Gurke. “There were around 80,000 people at that show.”

Carne Cruda’s Post-Latin mix of music sets them somewhat apart from traditional Latin bands, but it’s a difference that their fans have learned to embrace. “I’m so excited that they’re playing here,” bubbles Meghann Welsh about their recent Carnival Brazil San Diego show. “They take all these different styles and mash them up, but it’s always still danceable.” That’s what Carne Cruda fans love. They’ve emerged from the mash-up with the rarely achieved balance of creating music that’s great to listen to and dance to.

Whether it’s traipsing across Europe on a musical adventure, backing up adventurous artists on the road, or delving into the very definition of Latin music and emerging with a fun yet thought provoking new album, Carne Cruda has blossomed into the house band for the Bay Area Post-Latin movement. “It’s clearly ska, it’s rock, it’s funk, soul, surf, all these things, but with a Latin pulse relentlessly pushing through,” quips Mathew Val Hall of Santa Cruz. “I could dance all night!” This kind of enthusiasm follows Carne Cruda around the world from Oakland to Macedonia as they push their Post-Latin concept on the people of the world.



This dynamic five piece band from Oakland, California brings a new sound to Latin music, incorporating a wide array of influences into one hard-hitting raw sound. Exemplary musicianship is melded with high energy, unbridled enthusiasm, and youthful vigor to produce an exciting, captivating show that leaves no butt un-shaken. With lyrics that reflect current issues facing today’s youth in English and Spanish, Carne Cruda combines socially relevant themes with interesting musical statements. And if you're looking for a great song about Oakland, look no further. One thing for sure- with Carne Cruda, it’s a party every time.

Here at Carne Cruda, we feel that playing booty-shaking Latin and Caribbean music is far superior to working for The Man. Our roster of Capitalism-smashers includes:

Camilo Landau - Guitar, tres, cuatro, vocals

Camilo Landau

Camilo Landau began playing guitar and tres at the age of twelve when his uncle record producer Greg Landau returned from Nicaragua and taught him. During his studies of music and film at School of the Arts in San Francisco under the direction of Wayne Wallace and Malecio Magdaluyo, Camilo performed with Carlos Santana at the age of sixteen. He studied guitar and tres in Cuba with Gorge “Chino” Triana and Palo de Mayo in Nicaragua with Philip Montavalo. While attending the University of California, Santa Cruz, he started a Latin and Caribbean band, Carne Cruda, and played in the UCSC Jazz Ensembles with trumpeter Ray Brown, and he graduated with a degree in Community Studies and a minor in Music. Camilo "con su estilo" Landau lives in Oakland and plays with LaTiDo, AguaLibre, Carne Cruda, La Mixta Criolla, Dave and the Diamonds, The Los Shoegazers, and more. He has performed or recorded with Susana Baca, Omar Sosa, Dr. Loco's Rockin' Jalapeño Band, Quetzal, Ozomatli, Los Lobos, Benito Sereno, Batista, Sambada, Los Mocosos, Fito Reynoso, Arturo Ortega, Santero, Los Compas, John Santos, The Ska Messengers, Medusa, Edgardo y Candela, Bobi Cespedes, Maldita Vecindad, John Santos, Vission Latina, Los Cojolites, Domingo Siete, Jesus Diaz, Francisco Herrera, Azabache, Nina Serrano, Pamela Rodriguez, Burning Star, Stevie Wonder, Carlos Santana, and many more.

Charlie Gurke - Baritone Saxophone, Keyboards

Charlie Gurke

Charlie Gurke plays the baritone saxophone and melodica in Carne Cruda, being sure to take it out. Doubling basslines and inventing mambos, Gurke is always sure to stick it to the man.

"On the island of a thousand bridges, where the three eyed fish swim in the shadows of tall ships, and much was lost to the world, sprung a hero. A ninja among men, a lover among ninjas, a rockstar among lovers, a man among rockstars and a ninja among men. They call him...


-Cara Defabio


Charles Landis Gurke, AKA Carlheinz McGurkenhousen, AKA Chuck G. was born in Oakland, California to Captain and Mrs. Gurke at the beginning of that turmultuous decade known as the eighties. He began playing the alto saxophone in middle school on the Pacific island of Alameda, but soon enough switched his attnetion to the much more earth-shaking saxophone known as the baritone. Attending San Francisco School of the Arts High School with Carne Cruda guitarist Camilo Landau, Gurke played in many Bay Area groups including ska bands Bluebeat Stompers and The Ska Messengers, as well as renowned salsa band Mazacote. For two years he studied Jazz at The New School in New York, and then returned to join Carne Cruda and complete a degree in Spanish from Vista College. Charlie Gurke is one of the most sought-after baritone saxiphonists in the San Francisco Bay Area, playing with such groups as Vission Latina, Orchesta Sensual, Space Invaders Saxophone Quartet, and Dr. Loco's Rockin' Jalapeño Band, Outhead, and Aphrodesia.

Luke Kirley - Trombone, tuba, guiro

Luke Kirley

Luke Kirley plays the disrespectfull trombone and tuba with güiro attatchment to give Carne Cruda that nasty, teeth-grinding sound.


Luke Kirley comes from a long line of plumbers. Maybe that explains why he plays the trombone or maybe that just explains his affinity for crawling around under houses. Anyway, Luke started his musical education at Sir Francis Drake High School, the Alma Mater of Terry Bozzio, under the direction of Phil Wood (the other Phil Wood). He soon began studying privately with trombonist extraordinaire John Gove who would show Luke the extensive possible uses of the trombone in the exciting new musical genre, Woodchuck. It being the 90’s and all, Luke was roped into a Ska band, Focus, which he enjoyed very much but wished the other members of the band were as good at getting gigs as they were at getting chicks. Fortunately, Luke began playing Avant-Garde music early in his musical experience, which gave him a high tolerance for dealing with crazy people. After high school, Luke attended the University of California, Santa Cruz where he studied jazz with Smith Dobson and Ray Brown (the other Ray Brown) and classical trombone with Tom Hornig and Wayne Solomon. While attending UCSC, Luke performed extensively with the University Orchestra, Jazz ensembles, chamber groups, and Wind Ensemble that he performed with at Carnegie Hall in May of 2001. Luke was also very active in the extra-curricular music scene of Santa Cruz performing with Cabrillo Stage under the direction of Lile Cruise, the Robin Anderson Big Band, numerous pit Orchestras and Jazz combos, and recording with the eccentric visionaries, Estradasphere. It was in Santa Cruz that Luke was hoodwinked into playing booty shaking Latin Jazz and Caribbean music with Carne Cruda. Luke blames Charlie and Camilo for his eminent hearing loss due to playing Salsa. If it wasn’t for them he’d probably be happy somewhere listening to 20th century art music at a reasonable level but instead he is active on the San Francisco Salsa scene playing with Avance, Orq. La Verdad, Cubanacan, Tito y su Son, and others. You can also find Luke rockin’ out with the SV House Rockers and Dr. Loco’s Rockin’ Jalapeno Band. If you like a big bottom, and who doesn’t, you might want to check out Luke playing tuba with either the Gomorran Social Aide and Pleasure Club or the Los Surf Cumbieros.

Ayla Davila - bass

Ayla Davila

Ayla Davila plays rocking bass and clarinet for Carne Cruda, controlling the low end to cause the bottom to shake. After spending several years in Boston she's returned to the Bay Area to rock over it.


Ayla Davila, from Berkeley, California, grew up among a plethora of musical influences. As a kid she was one of the original members of "Los Centzotles," the renowned Son Jarocho group playing jarrana and requinto, and she later went on to take up the bass. She studied at the prestigeous Berkelee School of Music in Boston where she refined her floor-rumbling and chord-grounding skills, and after graduating with a degree in Film Scoring she returned to the San Francisco Bay Area to play with a veritable gaggle of artists and bands, including Bobi Cespedes, Los Mocosos, Dr. Loco's Rockin' Jalapeño Band, and Carne Cruda.

David M. Flores - Drums

David M. Flores

Drummer, percussionist & educator. For over 13 years David has shared his passion for music with elementary, high school and adult students. Not only has David had the opportunity to perform internationally, he has shared the stage with San Franciscos foremost musicians including Mark Levine, Orestes Vilato, Jesus Diaz, John Santos, Peter Erskine, Mary Welle, Pete Escovedo, and Ms. Lauren Hill. Constantly inspired by the talent that surrounds him, he continues to flourish, create and share his love of music.