image of CD's

Greg Landau


Music and Video Producer

greg landau


 


Home


Work

Sound design and mixing for video
Music for film and video


Music


Video


Links


E-Mail

Blog

Round Whirled Records


Greg Landau is an award-winning music/video producer, educator and music historian with a doctorate from UC San Diego's prestigious School of Communication. Over the last 20 years he has produced six Grammy nominated CD's and among the over 50 CDs, numerous film sound tracks and videos. He has worked with renowned artists including: Carlos "Patato" Valdez, Maldita Vecindad, Jerry Gonzalez, Kepa Junkera, Buena Vista Social Club Producer Juan de Marcos Gonzalez, Susan Baca, Bobi Cespedes, Dr. Loco, Pete Seeger, Omar Sosa, John Santos, Pancho Quinto,  Quetzal, Los Mocosos, Fuga!, Sambada, Manicato, John Calloway and David Byrne's record label Luaka Bop, Vanguard Records, Six Degrees and many others. His musical productions have been featured in films and television including the new Benjamin and Peter Bratt film, "La Mission", Oliver Stone's, "Comandante", Survivor: Nicaragua, CSI Miami, The Family Guy, Dexter, Burn Notice, Nash Bridges, Punk', HBO's Hemingway and Gelhorn, and several PBS documentaries.

His production credits include work for PBS, Disney, Sony, Warner Bros., CNN, Lucas Film, Six Degrees Records, HBO, McDonald's and StarMedia.

The Mission District

Greg began his musical career in San Francisco's Mission District as a student at Mission High School, where he played guitar in Latin rock bands in the early 1970's. He performed in neighborhood dances and clubs with the Quintana Brothers band, Kabala. Later in 1974, he joined the singer from the band Malo, Arcelio Garcia in the band Zorro on several US and Canadian tours, including a stint with the Wilson Picket Review in Canada, a run in Los Angeles with the group Tierra and shows with El Gran Combo, Eddie Palmieri, Joe Bataan and Orchesta Harlow.

He also composed a song for Francisco Aguabella's classic LP, "Hitting Hard" and performed with him in Cesar's Latin All Stars occasionally.  He began playing thr Cuban tres and soon joined the legendary Cuban music collective, Tipica Cienfuegos, led by John Santos and John Calloway.  This group played big shows all over the Bay Area and shared stages with Ruben Blades, Los Papines, Dizzy Gillespie, Eddie Palmieri, Grupo Moncada and Armando Peraza.

Shorly after this group disbanded he formed a Latin punk group, Los Pachanga Pistols that recorded a ground breaking record that combined Latin rhythms with Funk, Reggae and Punk Rock.  In 1979, he graduated from UC Berkeley, where he studied with Brazilian folklorist, Paolo de Carvalho Neto, author of El Folklor de las Luchas Sociales.  With Carvalho Neto he studied the works of Fernando Ortiz, Roger Bastide, Sidney Mintz, Melville Herskovitz and other scholars of Latin American culture.

The Mission was a hotbed of creativity and musical experimentation, alive with poetry, dance, music from all over Latin America as well as political movments that used combined these cultural currents into their activities. In 1979, the Sandinistas marched into Managua and the Mission District was alive with celebration as this neighborhood was the center of the solidarity movement.

Nicaragua
In 1980, Landau was invited to work in Nicaragua in the newly founded Minsitry of Culture, in the Folkloric Research Department. He spent time travelling across the country recording folk music and documenting the tradition and folklore of Nicaragua and especially the Atlantic Coast.  In 1981, he was invited by Carlos Mejia Godoy to participate in the Canto Epico al Frente Sandinista, an epic poem with music and dance that narrated the history of the Nicaraguan Revolution. that was performed over a week period in the National Theater.  He soon joined the renown Nicaraguan Nueva Cancion group, Luis Enrique Mejia Godoy and Mancotal in 1981 and he toured internationally as a guitarist and tresero.  They shared stages with Silvio Rodriguez, Pablo Milanes, Mercedes Sosa, Chico Buarque, Amparo Ochoa and Nicomedes Santa Cruz in music festivals and concerts all over Latin America and Europe.  He also recorded with Grupo Pancasan and accompanied other artists that visited Nicaragua including Peter, Paul and Mary, Pete Seeger, Alan Ginsberg, Kris Kristoferson, and many others. He lived in Nicaragua for nine years and worked in the Nicaraguan Ministry of Culture, The Nicaraguan Community Radio Network and produced a daily Caribbean music program for Radio Sandino.

In 1987, he began working with a Afro-Nicaraguan reggae group, Soul Vibrations, from  the Atlantic Coast region. Together they recorded, Rock Down Central America, featuring original reggae songs in English and Spanish that became popular all over the world.  He toured with Soul Vibrations throughout Canada and the U.S. playing guitar and tres.  He directed a video, Rock Down Central America, (winner of the prestigious Black Coral Award at the Latin American Film and Video Festival in Havana Cuba in 1989) that documented the group's search for identity in a confusing historical moment.

Music Producer
On his return to the U.S. in 1989, he began his doctoral research at the University of California, San Diego's School of Communication.  In San Diego he began to research the impact of music on social movements in Latin America, looking back at his own experiences and conducting interviews with proponent artists and cultural activists.  His dissertation, "Guitarra Armada; The Role of Music in the Nicaraguan Revolution" will soon be published and has been used as a reference for researchers looking into this influential government.

In 1992 he began a career as a music producer collaborating with Jackson Browne on the Duo Guardabarranco CD, Casa Abrierta.  In 1994 he produced a series of CD's with Puerto Rican poet Piri Thomas, beginning a long time collaboration with Carlos "Patato" Valdes and saxophonist Enrique Fernandez and bassist Joe Santiago.  The first CD, Sounds of the Streets used members of the legendary Mario Bauza orchestra as well as a soulful Oakland based a cappela group, Street Sounds and legendary blues singer, Zakiya Hooker, daughter of legendary John Lee Hooker and her husband legendary soul singer, Ollan Christopher.  Later he helped Zakiya and Ollan build a studio in East Oakland where they recorded Mexican son jarocho group Mono Blanco's CD, Stone Lips, although Landau was excluded from the credits after months of recording.

Ritmo y Candela
This process of creating new textures in Latin music led him to create the Ritmo y Candela project that combined Patato with Changuito, the legendary Los Van Van drummer and Orestes Vilato, a pillar of the New York salsa movement.  This Grammy nominated CD was hailed as a breakthrough in Latin Jazz, as it highlighted the percussion in a way that highlighted the technique of these masters and explored the nuances of their playing styles.  The next chapter of this series, African Crossroads, also Grammy nominated, paired Patato with African singer, Samba Mapangala, Cuban percussionist Miguel "Anga" Diaz, pianist Ivan "Melon" Gonzalez, Walfredo de los Reyes Sr. and Omar Sosa.

Work in Cuba
Inspired by these project, he traveled to Cuba with partner in Round World Records, Robert Leaver to record new music there.  In a two week period they recorded three groundbreaking CD's in an old house on the outskirts of Havana.  The CD's, Pancho Quinto's, En El Solar la Cueva del Humo, brought together a dream team of Havana's guarapahcangeuros to record Pancho's unique blend of rhythms, directed by drummer/babalao Octavio Rodriguez. 

In the same sessions they recorded Los Terry's debut CD, with Pancho, Yosvany, Yoel and Yunior Terry, a groundbreaking Cuban music family.  Also on the session were pianist Ivan "Melon" Gonzalez, who was playing in the vanguard timba band of Isaac Delgado, drummer Dafnis Prieto on congas and the legendary singer Laito of the Sonora Matanacera.  The next day they tracked Bellita y su Jazztumbata, a jazz trio led by Bellita Esposito, a jazz pianist/singer and her husband Miranda, who played bass and congas at the same time.  Many of these tracks have been included in Cuban music compilations on Rhino. Sony, World Music Network and others.

Peru
The success of Ritmo y Candela led to an invitation from David Byrne to produce with Afro-Peruvian singer, Susana Baca in Peru.  This legendary CD, released on Warner/ Luaka Bop, brought Susana Baca to the world's attention, bringing her lyrical approach to Afro-Peruvian music.  During his time in Peru, Landau made important contacts with Peruvian musicians despite the political turbulence of 1996. This CD launched Susana Baca's international career and became an icon of Afro-Peruvian music around the world.

San Francisco Bay Area
In 1998 he began working on a CD with Jesus Diaz, Omar Sosa and Rahsaan Fredericks on a project they called, Oaktown Irawo, that featured Tower of Power drummer, Dave Garibaldi, Yosvany Terry, bassoonist Paul Hanson as well Santana trumpeter Bill Ortiz, Marty Wehner and flautist, John Calloway.  This innovative CD, brought together Oaktown funk and Cuban jazz in a unique blend.

At the Grammy awards in 1998, where he attended with Patato to represent their Rhythm at the Crossroads nomination, he ran into an old acquaintance, tresero/producer, Juan de Marcos Gonzalez.  Gonzalez was there with two Grammy nominations for the Buena Vista Social Club and the Afro-Cuban All Stars, both of which he produced.  They began a conversation that led Landau to build a digital studio for Juan de Marcos in his home in Cuba and a collaboration on the Amadito Valdes CD, Bajando Gervasio that Landau and Gonzalez mixed together in Gonzalez's home studio and Landau's garage studio in San Francisco.  The CD was nominated for a Grammy in 2003 and launched Amadito's solo career.


Chicano Music
In the late 1990's joined forces with many local Chicano musicians and produced CD's for Dr. Loco and his Rockin' Jalapeno Band that featured cameos by members of Ozomatli and two songs with the Latino comedy group Culture Clash. The CD, recorded in Dr. Loco's SF garages His nephew, Camilo Landau, began his partnership at this time, helping with the recording.  This marked the beginning of a strong partnership that continues to this day as Camilo has been a part of all of Landau's projects.

Soon after he produced a widely acclaimed CD. Sing the Real, for the LA based Afro-Chicano rock band, Quetzal for Vanguard Records, a daring exploration of the Chicano musical experience that brought together elements of Son Jarocho, Afro-Cuban R and B and good old California Rock.  Camilo, later joined the band on tour as their guitarist that marked his debut as a professional musician, as they toured with Los Lobos, Run DMC, Aerosmith and other major acts. The CD broke new ground in Chicano music by exploring the unique influences that have become a part of the Chicano experience, such as indigenous spirituality, the Zapatista movement, Afro-Cuban music and religions, world music and hip hop.


Six Degrees Records
In 1999, he began his association with Six Degrees Records, which licensed the Ritmo y Candela series that they released as, Patato, the Legend of Cuban Percussion.  At the same time they did a series of innovative remixes of the material, inspiring Landau to try incorporate elements of electronica in his work.  He produced a compilation, Cuban without Borders, and later a solo CD for Cuban singer Bobi Cespedes, that featured the legendary Cuban pianist arranger, Oriente Lopez.   This CD brought together electronic textures, hip hop beats and the spiritual roots of Cuban music in an interesting blend.  The CD features Oakland's premier hip hop producer One Drop Scot and Cuban percussionist Nengue Hernandez creating a dynamic cross genre rhythm section.

In 2004, Landau began working closer to home producing a Six Degrees project for Mission District barrio rockers, Los Mocosos, that featured Santana trumpeter Bill Ortiz, a frequent collaborator and the post-production help of British mixer/producer Gary Hughes and Donal Hodgson in England who also contributed to the Bobi Cespedes project.  

In 2005 Landau received an email from Pamela Rodriguez, a young Peruvian singer/songwriter asking for help on her debut CD.  He added tracks and production elements to her work, Peru Blue, for which she was nominated Best New Artist in the Latin Grammys of 2006.  This CD included ex-Susana guitarist Rafael "Fayo" Munoz and cajonero Juan Medrano Cotito.  He returned to Peru to produce her follow up CD, En la Orilla with Munoz, Cotito and legendary Berkeley drummer Josh Jones.  The widely acclaimed CD combined contemporary beats with Peruvian rhythms including Lando, Festejo, Zamacueca and the cumbia influenced, Chicha. It achieved platinum status in Peru and was given the Record of the Year award by the Peruvian press.

Since then he has traveled to Peru to record a series of three CD's with Susana Baca featuring recently uncovered songs by the great Chabuca Granda that are being released on Luaka Bop and a three CD set in Peru.  They also collaborated with Omar Sosa to record a series of songs by the great Cuban singer Bola de Nieve. He also did post-production work on the new CD by Pamela Rodriguez's brother PP Rodriguez, recorded the first Peruvian surf-rock CD.

In 2006, Landau began working with Mexican rockers, Maldita Vecindad, one of Mexico's legendary bands that were one the pioneers of Latin American rock.  Together they began composing new songs and recorded a CD, Circular Colectivo, over a three year period that will be release din October 2009, that features Cuban pianist Omar Sosa, Santana timbalero, Karl Perraza, drummer Paul Van Waggeningen, legendary Mission District percussionist Roberto Quintana and the Veracruz Son Jarocho group, Los Cojolites.  This project launched a new production team, El Sindicato Creativo, with producer musician Hector Perez, Camilo Landau and mixer mastering engineer john Greenham. The CD was just released in Mexico and has enjoyed great commercial and artistic success as the group has re-emerged with a new contemporery sound, forged with Greg and hector's input.

The Landau production team of Greg and Camilo also composed music for Santero, a local MC/rapper which has recieved wide acclaim and was featured on NPR's, "All Things Considered" and "Latino USA.  In 2006 he produced the groundbreaking CD, Salve A Bahia with Sambada, a Brazilian group from Santa Cruz that features members of the legendary Bahian group, Ile Aiye.

Recently he has been busy with local Bay Area groups, 2 CD's with Santero, a ground breaking Central American DJ, Manicato, a Latin Reggae ensemble and the punk cumbia Fuga!.  Along with Camilo and John Greenham, Landau has produced over 35 CD's since 2006 with Pat Wynne, Francisco Herrera, Los Cojolites with Lila Downs, Amnesia, Susana Baca, Phil Serrano, Jeremy Goodfeather, The Creole Belles, PP Rodriguez, Arturo Ortega y Teoria Hibrida,  Sambada, John Calloway, Quijerema, Carne Cruda and Cascada de Flores.

Kepa Kunkera

Recently, Landau produced several tracks on the new CD, Kalea, by Basque accoreonist, Kepa Junkera for Warner Spain that feature Columbian rocker Juanes, Susana Baca, Lila Downs, Palo Milanes, Ivan Lins, Barbatuques, Mayito Rivera, Pamela Rodriguez and many others. They are currenly working on a new CD that will feature Kepa collaborating with American musicians from several "Americana" genres./p>

Film and Video: Composer/Music SupervisorHis experience in music and film has also pushed into music supervision and composing for films, including the Peter and Benjamin Bratt film, La Mission, now touring the festival circuit, including Sundance and San Francisco and New York Latino film festivals.  He also composed music for several PBS documentaries including the Emmy nominated film, The Judge and the General, Haskell Wexlers', Who Needs Sleep, The Bus Rider's Union, Five days in March, Pam Yates, Paco de Onis and Peter Kinnoy's, Cause for Murder, Ripe for Change, Maquila, We Don't Play Golf Here, Yank Tanks, Steve Fagin's Tropicola and several others. His music is also featured in Oliver Stone's film "Comandante" as well as many TV shows including Nash Bridges, Dexter, Burn Notice, Family Man and others.

Over the last three decades, Greg has worked extensively with Oscar winning filmmaker Haskell Wexler and with his father, Saul Landau making documentary films in Latin America. He has also done extensive cultural research in Latin America and has received a doctorate in Communication from the prestigious University of California, San Diego.


Art Projects
Recently Greg Landau, Babatunde Lea, and John Greenham composed and produced "The African Diaspora Suite" for a permanent installation in the newly built Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco.  He also composed music for Steve Fagin's  Haudenshild's Garage project, The Last Book, Recently he collaborated with performance artist Guillermo Gomez Peña and video artist Gustavo Vasquez on several videos to be premiered at the De Young Museum in San Francisco and the soundtrack for Gomez Peña's latest bus performance tour of the Mission. District.

Teaching
Greg currently teaches at the University of California at Santa Cruz and San Francisco City College.  In addition, he also continues his professional work producing music and videos while pursuing research about the role of music in contemporary societies.



Currently in production:
Patricio Hidalgo: Afro-Jarocho
Susana Baca/Omar Sosa
Sambada "Gente"  Remix
 
 

Home | Resume | Music | Video | Links | E-Mail