Mikey Reyes’ Acoustic Movement
The name Mikey Reyes is synonymous with local reggae music. His band Soul Opus has performed to capacity crowds in numerous venues throughout the Coachella Valley. Now Mikey has formed a more expansive project dubbed Mikey Reyes’ Acoustic Movement, a neo roots reggae approach to acoustic music. The base of the band is Mikey on vocals and guitar, his lovely romantic companion Bryanna Evaro on bass and vocals and the accomplished Pedro Cancino on drums and vocals. They perform on a monthly basis at Hamilton’s Sports Bar & Grill in La Quinta. You can usually catch them on the last or second to last Saturday of the month. Joining them from time to time are Giselle Woo, Bobby Nicholls and Bryanna’s sister Shavaughn Evaro.
According to Mikey’s aunt Chery, he was only an infant when the gift of music was identified in his DNA. He would smile and react positively when family members sang to him. This was expected as his great-grandfather wrote and published hymns in the early 1900’s and his grandfather performed in a mariachi band. Mikey is 26 years old now and looks back on his upbringing in a challenged area of Indio. “Being in Indio is a comfortable feeling; it will always be my home.” He grew up listening to a lot of Motown and Michael Jackson. He admits hijacking his sister’s guitar, which was a Christmas gift, at the age of ten. In his adolescent years he found himself participating in hip-hop and rapping with friends. In retrospect, Mikey feels that music was what delivered them from the perils of the streets. Mikey states, “That‘s what saved us. That was our outlet.” At 18 Mikey recorded his first song singing back-up vocals for a friend. In chronicling that experience you could recognize how he was captivated with music at an impressionable age. “I loved that feeling and I just chased it, I’m still chasing it.” And so the pursuit began.
Mikey’s first considerable encounter with reggae was with the band Sublime. “Sublime made the California reggae scene what it is today,” Mikey contends. Mikey recalls a question asked by a friend that was a turning point in his decision to pursue singing, “You’ve got a great voice, what are you rapping for?” The answer to this question was parlayed into him singing Bob Marley and Sublimes songs. Mikey then realized he could communicate with people’s souls through voice. “I always felt like I was a messenger. It wasn’t until I found my voice as a singer where I could actually reach people.” After this musical provocation he was in for more of a rude awakening. Sitting in a circle with friends a guitar is passed around so that each person can sing a song. Each friend sings their own song. Finally the guitar reaches Mikey and he plays a Bob Marley tune. In his hands again he plays a Sublime anthem. Finally a friend asked him to play one of his songs and he replied that he does not have his own songs. At the end of the evening Mikey was approached by his friend and was lauded for having such a great voice. He then brought Mikey back to earth by pointing out, “You ain’t shit unless you have your own songs. Write some songs!” This was the ass-kicking Mikey needed.
Soul Opus began in June of 2008 and is currently on an extended break. Soul Opus is illustrated as a “composition from the soul”. Soul Opus was a huge outlet for Mikey’s original material. He began to write about relationships and heartbreak. In Soul Opus Mikey found a musical brotherhood. Juan De Lara, on bass guitar, showed Mikey different types of reggae such as roots, contemporary, melodic and instrumental. Mikey describes how De Lara showed him how to remain steady and in ‘the pocket of the groove’. Jimmy Becerra, drums, and Matt Sanchez, guitar, were the first two members of Soul Opus. Soul Opus performed across California, Colorado and New Mexico while self exploring and seeking spiritual enlightenment. Locally they played practically every locale imaginable, including high schools and chamber of commerce events. Soul Opus’ incarnation is indefinite. In Mikey’s words, “Soul Opus is everyone.”
Although Soul Opus is not currently performing, the Mikey Reyes’ Acoustic Movement is not too far a departure from what Soul Opus does. Including other diverse musicians will only enhance reggae’s influence on the desert region. Mikey is happy and he exudes love when speaking with him. “I’m doing this because it makes me happy and makes other people happy. The more we choose to love on each other, the easier it gets.” I asked Mikey what his favorite Bob Marley quotes or lyrics are. This was his answer: “Trodding through creation in an irie meditation.” I then asked him what it means to him. “Walking in this world with a higher state of mind. Choosing to look towards beauty and being present.” Mikey has a pretty good grasp on the meaning of life for him. I believe that he will prosper and my son will ask a future reggae musician what his favorite Mikey Reyes quotes or lyrics are. I’ll leave you with a Mikey Reyes quote: “Give yourself a hug”.
Find more information on Mikey Reyes’ Acoustic Movement check him out on Facebook & Soudcloud