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INDEPENDENT EP RELEASE: John Camacho, “A Suite for Xela Zaid”


I’ve been a dear friend of John Camacho’s for a few decades, so he could release a double album of armpit noises and I would defend it ferociously--but this collection of songs is truly one of the best things I’ve ever heard from John. He’s a PHD piano player and poetic songwriter. This is highlighted in this release from having the songs mostly stripped-down piano numbers. My favorite is the jaunty “4th of July,” which uses rapid piano notes over quick breakbeats. 

“Middle 8: Down-bound baby, won’t you 
Kick it around for a while 
Found wound, you’ve been holding 
Everything so close inside 
Set to pop like a firework on the 4th of July 
This could be your Independence Day…”

The EP ends with the appropriately titled “Friends,” another great track, which seems to speak to shared times with close friends, inside and outside the South Florida music scene. A place where there were more musicians supporting each other than competing.

“Don’t worry about the local scene 
My friends are from Anywhere 
Through my ups and downs and in-betweens 
My friends always will be there…”
  
Speaking of friends, “Suite for Xela Said” has an extra purpose, which is to raise money for the South Florida musician, songwriter Alex Diaz, better known as “Xela Zaid.” He suffered a massive stroke in 2016, which has restricted his speaking. John wrote these songs over two days while visiting his native-Miami from North Carolina. John then performed the songs as a suite for a benefit at Churchill's Hideaway in Little Haiti. He pulled a tight band together and recorded these songs a week later.

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