The Renaldo The Ensemble | Why Are You?

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Avant Garde: Avant-Americana Pop: Chamber Pop Moods: Mood: Quirky
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Why Are You?

by The Renaldo The Ensemble

An immediately-accessible work that melds indie art rock with tango and even opera.
Genre: Avant Garde: Avant-Americana
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Moliendo Cafe
2:27 $0.99
2. Beating
3:24 $0.99
3. Good Cry
3:13 $0.99
4. Prendi
4:10 $0.99
5. Up
1:56 $0.99
6. Sleep
7:08 $0.99
7. Poem "A Fools Prayer"
2:33 $0.99
8. Blue Ribbon
3:10 $0.99
9. Beat Poem
2:10 $0.99
10. Una Furtiva L'agrima
4:23 $0.99
11. Rumba
2:53 $0.99
12. Sands In The Glass
2:29 $0.99
13. La Cumparsita
3:00 $0.99
14. Peace Pipe
4:34 $0.99
15. Director's Notes
0:32 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"Instantly catchy tunes." Gothamist
"Marvelously odd." Time Out
"It was so awesome, our heads exploded."Will Forte, Saturday Night Live

New York City rock group The Renaldo The Ensemble are bizarre, compelling, and often compared to Tom Waits and Talking Heads. This classically-trained band of mischief-makers’ inventive songs and comedic live shows are a staple of the downtown scene. Their debut album "Why Are You?" is an immediately-accessible work that melds elements of indie art rock, tango and even opera.

The Renaldo The Ensemble feature a tubist, clarinetist, flamenco guitarist, conga drummer, percussionist, toy pianist and an operatic soprano, and each performs in character. There’s the sexy French maid, the jealous valet, the priest, the rival bandleader, the scientist and Renaldo The, a buffoonish aristocrat with a pencil-thin mustache played by Perez. Formerly named Renaldo The Great, when the character emigrated to America from his native Moldavia, immigration officials crossed out “Great” on his green card, branding him simply “Renaldo The.”

Perez's talents compliment The Renaldo The Ensemble group members Jenny Lee Mitchell, a European-trained soprano, drummer Matthew Talmage – a West African Music scholar and ethnomusicologist -- and conga player Richard Ginocchio. Rounding out the group is tubist Matt Muszynski, a master’s student at Manhattan School of Music whose life’s goal is to “make the brass understood,” and classical and jazz composer Jonathan Roberts, who in 2005 created a multimedia theatre piece with his brother and sister about the Apostle Paul and then bought an RV and traveled across the country performing it for two years.

Why Are You? first single “Good Cry” mixes an ecstatic melody with a woeful, cathartic storyline and features Mitchell on clarinet and Roberts on Yamaha keyboard. “All of my songs are based on a heartbreaking moment,” says Perez. “I don’t write to celebrate. I write to reflect on the horror of everyday life. But it’s a pretty uplifting song. It’s about treating your own self as gently as you might treat an unhappy child.”

Other standout tracks on the album include “Moliendo” (“Coffee grinder”), a cover of a leftist Latin American standard traditionally sung by peasant coffee workers. Tango “La Cumparsita” is the cultural anthem of Uruguay, while “Prendi” and “Lagrima” are from Donizetti’s comic opera Elixir of Love. The group’s 16 mm black and white video for original ballad “Sands In The Glass,” meanwhile, has been chosen for film festivals around the world and won the prize for the best musically-inclined film at The Tregor International Film Fest in France. Then there’s “Peacepipe,” which features a “Purple Haze” Hendrix-like guitar solo and an odd request: “Excuse me, while I pan sear this salmon!”

“I know how every one of these songs effects an audience, because I’ve performed them hundreds of times,” Perez says. “The way they meander, the way they move from mood to mood is very close to what a musical set for us is like. They have a sense of ‘anything can happen.’ Even if our music doesn’t seem like it would fit together, the wonderful thing is that it does.”

For press inquiries contact Wagner

For more on members of The Renaldo The Ensemble please visit

For their theatrical arm visit



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