El Bandolero

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Date(s) - 12/15/2017 - 12/16/2017
9:00 pm - 12:00 am

The VLounge


Johnny Al Bazi, better known as El Bandolero considers himself to be the father of all Bandoleros in the greater Chicagoland area. Born in Baghdad, Iraq on October 15th of 1964, Johnny is of Assyrian heritage. He started playing the guitar at the age of 16, when asked why he started playing he states “I feel like music was in my blood ever since I was born.” Due to the ongoing war in Iraq and the unfortunate loss of his brother Al Bazi was forced to flee his homeland and settle down in Greece. During his time living in Greece Johnny performed at small private parties and got his first taste of being onstage.” However, it was not until his immigration to the US that Johnny formally joined a band named “Bandito de Amore.” Following, his brief time with Bandito, Al Bazi finally decided to realize his dream and start his own band which he named Bandoleros. As creator and lead singer of the band Al Bazi wrote many of the well-known songs from the album Maximo including Mi Niña, They Call Me Bandolero, and Tu No La Vera. After a very successful run Johnny left the Bandoleros due to some mutual differences.

Three years ago in 2013, Johnny joined forces with his now current manager Nataly Salazar, together they have taken the reinvented El Bandolero Band and taken it to new levels. El Bandolero has graced the stages of many venues including the Cuban Fest, BC Fest, Latino Fashion Week and Fiestas Patrias of Aurora. Johnny has also had the pleasure of playing side by side with the Gypsy Kings and has been the opening act to such artists as Eddie Santiago, and Brenda K Starr. Al Bazi attributes their popularity to their unique sound coupled with their capability of singing in six different languages English, Spanish, Greek, Italian, Assyrian, and Arabic. This unique sound according to Al Bazi is inspired by The Doors, The Scorpions, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin to name a few; a style that he has dubbed Latin World Rock Rumba.