Sunday, January 04, 2015

Celebrate the New Year with "La Santa Cecilia" & "Cascada de Flores"

How about this for a New Year’s resolution:  Fill your 2015 with musica!  Here are two musical groups that deserve our La Bloga attention:  “La Santa Cecilia” and “Cascada de Flores.”  Both groups are different in sound, rhythms, acoustics, and yet they are similar in their efforts to bring us traditional songs with a modern and/or urban/working class twist.  Their music, then, takes on an important relevance to our cultural, political, and historical moment. 

La Santa  Cecilia with their Grammy (Grammy Awards, January 2014)
“La Santa Cecilia” is one bold, brash, and colorful conjunto.  La Marisoul (Marisol Hernandez), the group’s lead singer is a powerhouse of energy.  Her gorgeous singing is accompanied by Jose “Pepe” Carlos, (accordion and requinto); Miguel “Oso” Ramirez, (percussion); Alex Bendana (bass); Hugo Varagas, (drummer); Marco Sandoval (guitarist).  Together, they take rancheras, norteñas, cumbias, Afro-Cuban, Bossa Nova, folk, rock, jazz to create a sound that is fresh, provocative, and intellectual while seducing you to the dance floor.  You can’t help but move with “La Santa Cecilia.” 

 Their latest album, “Someday News” (2014) follows their Grammy-winning album, “Treinta Dias” (2013).  When La Santa Cecilia received their Grammy award, they made sure to dedicate it to the undocumented workers in the U.S.  (click here) The video to their song, “Ice El Hielo,” places a heartbreaking lens on immigration workers and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  (click to watch ithere!)

In “Someday News,” their video cover of the Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields” is another triumph in taking a classic song and offering it to us in a much more sobering light.  (click to watch it here!)

In their website bio, the musical ensemble, “Cascada de Flores,” is described as a group “dedicated to the exploration, preservation, and dissemination of Mexican and Caribbean traditional music and dance.  Arwen Lawrence (vocals) and Jorge Liceaga (guitar) are the creative force behind ‘Cascada de Flores,’ celebrated for their heartfelt and authentic approach to old classics from Mexico and the Caribbean (ranchera, bolero, guaracha) weaving in traditional poetic dance musc from the countryside (son).”
"Cascada de Flores" conjunto
“Cascada de Flores” latest album, “Radio Flor” is an amazing compendium of classic songs.  Like “La Santa Cecilia,” “Cascada de Flores” takes traditional songs and brings a fresh, vibrant patina to each one.  Unlike “La Santa Cecilia,” “Cascada de Flores” seeks to stay in the realm of traditional music.  For example, check out their version of “LaChuparrosa” (click here). 

Together, both musical groups are a lovely blend of transnational, border musica. 

I’m wishing you all a dance-filled 2015!
"La Santa Cecilia" 

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