“The band’s forte since forming in 2001 is the serpentine, percussion-heavy, Gipsy guitar flavored rock numbers that shake hot sauce all over an Allman Brothers jam ethic.”
- Michael Corcoran, Austin Statesman
“The 13-track disc isn’t a departure for the band that fuses flamenco, rock, blues, salsa, cumbia, reggae, ranchera and all things ridiculously rhythmic. These guys are in super-tight, totally loose form. The twin classical guitars, the soulful vocals, the thick bass and drums section come together like black beans on white rice. When they step off the platform, drenched in sweat, the mixture of adrenaline and elation is palpable. They could do it again… and again.”
- Dallas Morning News
“The members of Del Castillo wrote most of the songs on this self-titled album together in the space of one week. Maybe that’s why they have a unity and strength that makes the band’s fourth release their best yet. A balanced mix of ballads and higher-intensity tunes sung in English and Spanish, Del Castillo conveys a new level of nuance fluidity with a greater maturity in vocals and lyrics, particularly on the sweet love song “Little Angel.” Of course, guitarist Rick and Mark del Castillo are never less than impeccable. But it takes more than skill to pull off what they do; it takes soulfulness and you can hear it clearly on songs like “Castles,” an album highlight.”
– Lynne Margolis, Texas Music Magazine
“Del Castillo’s frontman keeps coming back to a “rumba that kills” on leadoff cut “Boricua del Cielo,” he’s not kidding. Neither is this veteran Austin sextet. Its flamenco panache soothes the savage beast as effectively as a world-famous gypsy institution of Catalonian descent.”
– Texas Platters
“La banda tejana de rock latino Del Castillo estará sacando su nueva placa titulada con el nombre del conjunto para el 7 de abril de este año.
Si bien el grupo se orienta a rock fusión con predominio de flamenco y rock latino, también se notan claras influencias de reggae y AOR, habiendo compartido escenario con músicos de la talla de Styx.
La banda se conforma por Rick del Castillo guitarra y voz, Mark del Castillo guitarra y voz, Alex Ruiz voz, Albert Besteiro bajo, Mike Zeoli batería y Carmelo Torres en percusión.”
– Mundo Rock
“… boy are they good! The harmonies are good. The guitar playing is just outstanding. I mean they are amazing…”
- GRACE SLICK (Jefferson Starship), Ed Bernstein Show
“Del Castillo has become a symbol of the cross-cultural power of music with their blend eclectic blend of Flamenco, Rock, Latin, Blues and World Music.”
By 6 p.m. the 30-minute set begins. They play six songs; four are from Del Castillo. Highlights include the Latin jam, “Boricua del Cielo,” the gorgeous ballad “Castles,” the cumbia-meets-reggae scorcher “Anybody Wanna” and the incendiary closer “Talkin’ to Ya.”
– Dallas Morning News
“Boricua del Cielo” and “Anybody Wanna?” are both upbeat, festive songs that ensure that the CD starts and ends on a high
note with beautiful songs like “Castles” and “Home” in between.
“Percussive rolls like the one opening Del Castillo seemingly stamp every Latin rock LP since a certain guitarist from Tijuana made his name at Woodstock. In that same genus, when Del Castillo frontman Alex Ruiz keeps coming back to a “rumba that kills” on leadoff cut “Boricua del Cielo,” he’s not kidding. Neither is this veteran Austin sextet. Its flamenco panache soothes the savage beast as effectively as a world-famous gypsy institution of Catalonian descent. Capping Del Castillo’s complete game, “Everlasting” comes on with a radio chorus not heard since a little ol’ trio of brothers from San Angelo put its town on the map (although this gang precedes those boys in penning top-shelf Latinate crossovers on their previous three albums). Ditto “Castles,” although at almost five minutes, the tune eventually pokes into tourism ad territory. (See also: “Home.”) “Anybody Wanna,” appended a second time at album’s end as a radio edit, completes (and, by such a designation, apparently tops) Del Castillo’s commercial trinity and backbone. The group executes even better in Español, as on “Noche Brava” and in the mariachi cantina of “Corazon Loco.” When the boys go instrumental by pulling the rip cord on Del Castillo brothers Mark and Rick, guitars do all the dancing (“Cafe sin Leche”). Ultimate testament to these local all-stars comes from the fact that the only name that needs recall after spinning this eponymous disc is Del Castillo.”
- Texas Platters
This Austin-based sextet has become one of the happening bands in a town where catching ears is no small feat. The del Castillo brothers, Rick and Mark, play Spanish guitars, which gives the group a distinctive string sound, underwritten by a heavyweight rhythm section. “Brotherhood” features songs in English and Spanish, and includes Willie Nelson on a tune he wrote, “I Never Cared for You.” Whether Del Castillo works in Spanish or English, it rocks righteously. The Spanish guitars’ flamenco vibe gives a dramatic flair, abetted by Alex Ruiz’s passionate vocals. They pull together Latin music’s romance and rock’s grit. The result is such blistering tracks as “Vida Latina” and “Arena Al Viento.”
- Philip Van Vleck, Billboard
Even before they hit the stage, Austin’s six-man flamenco Latin rock band Del Castillo set the mood Thursday night at the Lakewood Theater. A large tapestry hung from the back wall, with its psychedelic mosaic and group name in emblematic letters engulfing the platform. Votive candles on pedestals adorned either end of the stage. And plenty of incense burned, filling the room with an alluring scent.
But the decor was nothing compared with the show. For an hour and 45 minutes Del Castillo sizzled, delivering tight musicianship, passionate showmanship from lead singer Alex Ruiz and an intoxicatingly rhythmic combination of flamenco, Latin rock, blues and some R&B. The band went on after a short set by fellow Austin rockers Vallejo.
Del Castillo owned the night. The gig formed part of their Texas tour in support of the new CD Brotherhood, a rich mix of its signature sound plus a Mexican corrido and a gypsy-styled country tune. The sextet – which also features Spanish guitarists Mark and Rick del Castillo, bassist Albert Besteiro, percussionist Rick Holeman and drummer Mike Zeoli – plans to tour the rest of the U.S. soon, but for now it’s all about the home state.
That’s good. We get them fresh. More like fiery, actually. From the opening number “Si, Mi Amor” to the encore finale “El Corrido de Don Lulai,” the band was tireless. Sure, the Del Castillo brothers had to stop and stretch their hands after many flamenco jams that had them furiously strumming their instruments, but they never lost the energy.
Neither did Mr. Ruiz, a compelling frontman whose powerful voice carried through each tune, no matter whether he was singing in Spanish or English. He’s also a stylish dancer who had the flamenco hand gestures and deliberate movements down pat. His knee-length scarf billowed as he spun.
Now combine that with killer songs, most of them culled from Brotherhood. “Ganate el Mundo” showcased a soulful shuffle with so much Latin flavor. “Vida Latina” worked as a percussive, harmonica-laced Latin rocker. “Talkin’ to Ya” started out Santana-inspired before it broke into a wicked R&B-rock groove during the chorus. “Sueños Madrigales” was pure flamenco fire. “Arena al Viento” was a fierce flamenco Latin rocker that had folks dancing in the aisles.
Watching Del Castillo perform makes you rejoice over independent music. While the group no doubt deserves to be heard by the mainstream multitudes – great music should always find a large audience – doing it the grassroots way as they have ensures we clearly hear that smoldering hybrid of flamenco, Latin rock, blues and R&B. So why mess with a great thing?
- MARIO TARRADELL / The Dallas Morning News
MUSEXPO Unearthed Compilation (industry event exclusive)
– features the Del Castillo track “Talkin’ To Ya” -
“This Austin, TX-based band has developed a huge regional following through their unique merger of flamenco music and rock. Since forming in 2001, the sextet has won a total of 10 Austin Music Awards, while also touring with Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys and Ozomatli. Their MUSEXPO performance was absolutely MINDBLOWING, even for the most jaded, too-cool-for-the-room industry executive. Rolling Stone says the band ‘…conjures images of Eddie Van Halen front early Santana (with an assist from the Gipsy Kings)’ and that description pretty much nails it.”
- A&R Worldwide MUSEXPO 2005
DEL CASTILLO LIVE DVD
“Del Castillo, Austin’s Band of the Year in 2003, plays steamy nuevo flamenco —- and plays it damn well. This concert flick, produced by Robert Rodriguez, focuses on the slick Gypsy-inspired licks of virtuoso guitarists Rick and Mark del Castillo. Jawdropping.”
- Bob Gulla, Guitar One Magazine
“Del Castillo are a high-energy Chicano band from Austin that sings in Spanish, combining old-school Gitano with flailingnuevo flamenco florishes and churning polyrhythmic percussion. Their secret weapons are brothers Rick and Mark Del Castillo, whose tumbling brilliance on nylon-string classical guitars features jaw-dropping dual leads. These eruptions of technique and taste conjure images of Eddie Van Halen fronting early Santana (with an assist from the Gipsy Kings).”
- Rolling Stone
“The new album Vida (life) extends (Del Castillo’s) ethereal ideas with 10 new, original songs. (With its release), Vida is expected to send Del Castillo soaring. This album is sure to bring them to the attention of those not yet acquainted with their talent to mix old world “gitano” and new world flamenco with rock and blues. Del Castillo is influenced by a dedication to spiritual connection and positive energy. They bring this to their live performances on a stage glowing with candles and are a refreshing mix in the Austin music scene…. Locals should catch them now while one can still sit yards away from the band on stage and meet them and hang out after the show. It’s one of the pleasures of living in a city home to musicians on the cusp of stardom. Frequently you get to say, ‘ I knew them before they got big.’ ”
- Jossilyn Mikow – Austin Monthly Magazine , Austin Texas
“Some say that you can’t improve upon perfection. Del Castillo proves that wrong with Vida, the follow-up to their debut CD Brothers of the Castle. Unlike many bands who fall flat with the release of their second CD, Del Castillo has managed to pool the talent of the band and produce a collection of songs that leaves the listener in awe…. With the release of Vida, Del Castillo will become one of the standards by which other musicians will be measured against. I know all of this seems like high praise, but it’s very deserved. Vida is by far one of the best CDs I’ve heard this year, and definitely the best CD I’ve heard this year from an Austin band.”
- Jason Massey, AustinExperience.Com, Austin, Texas
“It’s hard to find enough adjectives to describe Del Castillo, but here are few that come to mind: passionate, fiery, joyous, and amazing. They play with fluidity and emotion, with guitar work that seems faster than humanly possible. I find it impossible to stand still when I see them live. Some favorite tracks from Vida are: Para Mi Sobrina, beautiful, bittersweet – Dame Un Momento, a hooky, rockin’ track – Yiddish March, makes this white girl wanna dance like a gypsy – Por Que, the guitar jam on this epic track is astounding – Back from the Grave, rambunctious and wild, sung in English.”
- Loris Lowe, Music Director/DJ – KLBJ Radio 93.7 FM
“Each (Vida) track is a passionate conversation. The songwriting is better, and singer Alejandro Ruiz moves confidently to the forefront for a record that should forever bury lazy comparisons to the Gipsy Kings. The Del Castillo brothers, with their flying fingers, are crowd-pleasers in concert….Credit this band with going beyond the flash and creating material that hits deeper.”
- Michael Corcoran, Austin American Statesman, Austin, Texas
“Austin’s Del Castillo has won a devoted following in a relatively short time with its innovative flamenco/Latin fusion sound and fiery, frequently astonishing performances around town. The new release, “Vida,” is the first Del Castillo record conceived as such…. and the result is a blistering, more cohesive effort.”
- Jeremy Egner, Austin American Statesman, Austin, Texas
“It’s all too easy to understand why Austin’s Del Castillo has captivated so many local fans. Part old-world “gitano,” part new-world flamenco with generous shots of rock and blues and a twist of soul, Del Castillo brings it all together in Vida, the group’s vibrant second album…. The buzz around Del Castillo is, see them while you still can. If Vida is proof, their road to fame will be as short as an I-35 entrance ramp.”
- Brenda Acosta, Austin Chronicle, Austin, Texas
“If you mix the flavorings of Spanish guitar with rockin’ Latin vocal melodies and true live performance grit you’ll get Del Castillo!”
- Chris Maley / Program Manager – KMBH Radio, Harlingen, Texas
BROTHERS OF THE CASTLE
“If you like the Gipsy Kings, you’re going to love Del Castillo. My ears could not believe the sounds that came out of my earphones as I hit the play button to hear another of many CDs. The first thing that caught my attention was the vibrant Spanish guitar playing by Mark del Castillo and Rick del Castillo. Then Alex Ruiz kicked in some very authentic sounding gitano vocals. Spanish Castle Tango, cut number two, continued with more of the same, only better. Both tunes featured the much-missed sounds of the castanets. Ruiz also shines on Dias de los Angeles, which almost sounds like a moorish chant. Next the brothers do Song for Jordan, another instrumental. Then, one is compelled to yell out ‘ole’ when the brothers launch into the flamenco-laced 29/11. In summary, this mystical production, especially the instrumental tunes, are the perfect companion for spiritual meditation since it brings peace to the mind. As it soothes the senses, it also transports the listener to another dimension in which one flows in a relaxed state through the universe.”
- Ramon Hernandez, Latino Star Magazine, San Antonio, Texas
“Absolutely some of the best Spanish guitar that I have ever heard! Austin is extremely fortunate to have access to these guys. I regretfully have to admit that I don’t speak Spanish, but that doesn’t keep me from listening to the Del Castillo’s Brothers of the Castle. A fair amount of the CD is instrumental, but even the the songs with lyrics are sung beautifully and make me long to learn the language. The band lineup includes Alex Ruiz (vocals), Albert Besteiro (bass), Mike Zeoli (drums and percussion), Rick Holeman (percussion), Mark del Castillo (guitar), and Rick del Castillo (guitar). All of these guys have obvious talent that is showcased on the CD, but Mark and Rick del Castillo are mind-blowing. If you love Spanish guitar, you will worship these guys. The finger-picking is extremely precise, well defined, and at times incredibly fast. On top of that, the music is extremely well written. Being the live music capital of the world, Austin has a wealth of talented musicians. Some eventually gain national attention. I have no doubt that Del Castillo will get the recognition that they deserve. After being voted Best Traditional Mexican/Latino Band and Best World Music in the 2001-2002 Austin Music Awards, they’re sure to be traveling more. So, catch them while you can. If you’re a fan of Strunz & Farah, Ottmar Liebert, or Acoustic Alchemy, you need to add Del Castillo to your CD collection.”
- Jason Massey, AustinExperience.Com, Austin, Texas
“All I can say is ‘Wow!’ (Del Castillo’s Brothers of the Castle) CD sounds awesome! Five stars…I was amazed at the beauty, the fluidity, the lightning fast guitar work. Ten ORIGINAL songs, infused with a swirling mix of emotions–passion, longing, sorrow, joy.. I don’t know what the lyrics say, but I know this is a beautiful CD.”
- Loris Lowe, Music Director/DJ – KLBJ Radio 93.7 FM
“There’s a simple reason why this Austin band sells so many CDs at their shows. They kick serious ass.”
- David Lynch, Austin Chronicle, Austin, Texas
“I found out what the hype is all about! I wandered on into The Vibe last night and experienced Del Castillo at the height of an instrumental that was scorching! Lightening quick guitar work pounded in by a thunderous rhythm section. The setting was near perfect as a cool breeze blew threw the open-air club. I’d recommend catching these guys next performance, then the one after that and another after that!”
- Eric Rothschild, Austin360.com, Austin, Texas
“While not at all familiar with Latino music, I thoroughly enjoyed Del Castillo’s Brothers of the Castle. It’s an excellent showcase of Spanish guitar, an artform I’ve always appreciated. Fast finger-picking, clear solos, it is indeed beautiful. Alex Ruiz does do a wonderful job on lead vocals… very smooth voice. Brothers Mark & Rick del Castillo are simply amazing guitarists! I’m going to loan this CD to a friend who studied Spanish guitar. He’s going to love it! Any guitar enthusiasts out there should have this in their collection…”
- Ali, AustinLive.com, Austin, Texas
“The dueling guitars of the two Del Castillo brothers are an inspiration to hear and see. Don’t miss this band!”
- John Aielli, host, Eklektikos, KUT Radio 90.5 FM
“I’m going to make a prediction,….. and I hardly ever make predictions. I say within a year, (Del Castillo’s) going to be in Miami,… Los Angeles,… San Francisco… y todo! And you guys can say that you were listening to them right here in Austin, Texas.”
- Isidoro Lopez, Music Director – KO-OP Radio 91.7 FM
“Del Castillo has a torrid twosome of flying fingers to soar over the big beat of drummers Mike Zeoli and Rick Holeman and the four-stringed rumble of bassist Albert Besteiro.”
- Michael Corcoran, Austin American Statesman, Austin, Texas