Project Description

¡Chiringa!
Year performed at 4 Peaks:
2018
Bio:

¡Chiringa! is a 4-piece Latin dance rock band is based in Bend, Oregon and plays rockin’ covers of tropical and popular dance tunes as well as funky-soulful original Latin music. The band is fronted by lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter, Shireen Amini, followed by Johnny Riordan on congas and timbales, Tom Freedman on bass and trumpet, and Matthew Williams on drum kit. Samuel Thompson from Los Angeles, California is an honorary guest member who adds the trumpet and keys. Shireen is the only member of actual Latino descent, but these “gringos” offer incredible flavor and spice from their background in styles as diverse as jazz, funk, r&b, klezmer, West African, baladas románticas and straight-ahead salsa.

Shireen Amini is of Puerto Rican and Iranian descent and was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her early musical training in piano and guitar, passion for songwriting, and exposure to the joy and passion of Latin music growing up lead her to study Ethnomusicology at UCLA. There, she deepened her studies of Afro-Latin styles under legends like Cuban conguero, Francisco Aguabella, and also had the chance to study abroad in Cusco, Perú where she learned how to play the Afro-Peruvian cajón. After college, she relocated to Central Oregon, where she began her professional career as a musician both performing her soul-based original music and accompanying other local acts with percussion and backup vocals. In early 2012, Shireen was asked to put together an all-Latin band for a Cinco de Mayo festival. She called the band ¡Chiringa!, (pronounced Chee-reen-gah), which means “kite” in Spanish, or Puerto Rican-style Spanish to be more precise. When Shireen was young, Puerto Rican family members would play with the “sh” sound in her Iranian name (a sound which does not exist in Spanish), leading to her nickname, Chiringa.

This one-time project ended up becoming a huge hit on the local scene, packing top Central Oregon venues such as the Silver Moon Brewing Co., Les Schwab Amphitheater, Volcanic Theater Pub, McMenamins Old St. Francis School, and performing the largest festival stages in town including Bend Summer Festival main stage. In February 2016, Shireen had the opportunity to open for Pete Escovedo Orchestra featuring Sheila E. at the Tower Theater in Bend, Oregon (the source of inspiration for the track “Sheila E.”) and in August 2016, ¡Chiringa! played the opening Performance Garden Stage at the Britt Fest in Jacksonville, Oregon for one of their great musical influences, the Gipsy Kings. ¡Chiringa!’s debut album, ”Familia,” was released in the summer of 2017, and the band has since toured in the Portland, Ashland, and Eugene areas starting to make waves in the greater Pacific Northwest region with their passionate, joyful, and high-energy shows and inviting people of all ages and backgrounds to get down together like one big family!