Reina del Cid announces residency at Amsterdam Bar & Hall

Reina del Cid announces residency at Amsterdam Bar & Hall
Photo by Peter Lee

To be able to translate a name from something that people hear to something that they know is a tough transition for a lot of artists these days. Reina del Cid & the Cidizens run into that a lot. The young artist has been playing around town for a bit now, working hard and making a name for herself. Beginning January 21, Reina & the Cidizens will be taking over the Amsterdam for their Monday night residency.

Gimme Noise spoke to Reina about her plan for their Mondays in St. Paul and how it all came together.

When you hear the name Reina del Cid, you may think Latin music, but it truly is not the case with the Minneapolis singer. A stage name taken because she named her guitar "El Cid," (a knight) the artist came to the conclusion that she would be the "Reina," meaning queen in Spanish.

Reina spent a lot a time in college engrossed in her studies, most of those nights spent in libraries. Naturally shy, she figured she would have to be able perform her music live to get it heard. Getting some videos on the internet was the first step -- which led to the band's diverse and wide-spread audience -- but was able to break into the local scene a little more when Quillian Roe of the Roe Family Singers took the band under his wing.

The writer draws much of her influence from Regina Spektor with smart lyrics and convincing melodies. While not Latin, Reina's music is flavored with a retro vibe. She doesn't take all the credit for the success of the songs, though, making sure to bring up how her band contributes to the writing process and, more importantly, the live show.

"When I bring the songs that I write to the band, I usually have the skeleton of the songs, and they either add parts I would expect and it works well, or they totally change the genre of the song. Usually it's a fruitful collaboration. Toni [Lindgren], our lead guitarist, is great because she comes from many different backgrounds. She played with a jam band, a bluegrass band -- so many different kinds of bands. Her musical library that's in her head is so vast that she'll hear the base of a song and come up with things that I never would have thought of. Chris [Wiberg - upright bass] and Clay [Whitney - drums] are wonderful. I met them both through a friend of mine that's in the School of Music at the U of M. They added a lot to what I had when we started playing together."

Reina isn't concerned about lacking songs for their indefinite residency in St. Paul. The singer attributes her constant music writing to her continuous reading and and writing -- mostly fiction and poetry. She says, "I'm just writing a lot in general, so the amount of songs that come out are numerous. I also listen to music all of the time, but I really don't watch T.V. People talk about Breaking Bad, and I'm like, 'What's that?'" The band will throw covers into their sets at the Amsterdam, stuff that is nothing like their originals. "I like to bring in songs that are very different from what I would ever write, to throw people off."

While making the decision to have a permanent residency was difficult, the band decided that it was a good way to connect with the audience, and even expand it. Known for their compelling live shows, shows that they have worked and honed over their year and a half together, Reina acknowledges the lack of a music scene east of the river. "I'm really excited about the residency. If word spreads that there's music in St. Paul, we're hoping to catch people before they head to Minneapolis, or possibly even rejuvenate the music scene in St. Paul."

Reina del Cid & The Cidizens will be begin their Monday night residency at the Amsterdam Bar and Hall on January 21, 2012 with a kickoff party that will include a special guest.
21+, Free, 9 pm

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