A psychedelic Afro-Latin rock music project, Ojos Feos consists mostly of musicians who have lived in developing countries. The rhythmic elements of their original music is based on samba, reggaeton, cumbia, cha cha cha, reggae, Cuban son and African highlife.
Band leader and music director, Robbie Cree is a native of north-central Montana and the surrounding reservation lands. Witnessing the plight of Native Americans in his hometown, along with his experiences working internationally on charitable medical missions, raised his awareness of social justice and human rights. After meeting lead guitarist and former music professor from Cuba, Dashel Ruiz, Ojos Feos forged musical compositions that combined African and Latin rhythms with American music styles. Percussionist Eric Johnston’s exposure to Caribbean rhythms, while residing in the Dominican Rebublic, adds authenticity to the music and bassist Chris Hale adds creative and unique jazz and rock grooves. Electric violinist Jeff Sulllivan defines Ojos Feos signature sound with a variety of effects from his pedal board and Colombian-Canadian, Cristina Amaya adds back up vocals.
To the best of my recollection, I can’t recall ever being tear-gassed.
My first instinct should probably have been to turn around and run away from the plaza, just like everyone else who went scampering, screaming and covering their mouths. The old, indigenous woman, with the multiple petticoats and black pork pie hat, sitting at her usual location half-way up the block, from whom I usually bought a daily newspaper, suddenly bent over and vomited. Moments before, I had heard a “pop-pop” and saw white, billowing clouds of smoke. A young Ecuatoriano adult, running in a hooded sweatshirt, gave a sudden yelp and stumbled, after getting hit in the leg with one of the tear gas canisters.
It is Free!! It costs nothing!! Stated the elderly anesthesiologist to the boy’s family. To put your son to sleep for his surgery costs absolutely nothing!! It is Free!! Free!! But to wake him up??………very very expensive!!
Moments earlier, in the same pre-operative area in this public hospital in a large Central American city, I witnessed another local medical doctor, drill a metal rod horizontally and completely through an indegenous patient’s femur, with the patient wide awake, and only after injecting numbing medicine, not much deeper than the skin, on the entry site of the thigh.
Such is the plight of the poor and marginalized, of which I have witnessed as an anesthesiologist, in over 30 international surgical missions, and which dominate the lyrical content of Ojos Feos’ original psychedelic Afro-Latin rock compositions.