Mexico and Cuba combine musical forces when infectious indie mambo band Orkesta Mendoza and the Chicano band Las Cafeteras team up for an explosive evening of Latin sounds.
The infectious indie mambo band Orkesta Mendoza mix a multitude of Latin styles like cumbia, merengue and ranchera through a psychedelic mambo and post-punk prism, creating a truly one of-a-kind sound. Bandleader, keyboardist, guitarist and vocalist Sergio Mendoza (who has long collaborated with Calexico and Devotchka) leads a powerhouse band fronted by the rich baritone of vocalist and dancer Salvador Duran, and framed by guitar, keyboard, percussion, drums and brass. Alternative Chicano band Las Cafeteras recreate traditional Afro-Caribbean Son Jarocho music in a wildy vibrant style. Their rousing socially conscious messages, in English and Spanglish, tell stories of a community that is looking for love and fighting for justice in the concrete jungle of East LA. The band is accompanied by instruments including jarana and requinto guitars, a donkey jawbone and a tarima, a wooden platform for dancing.”
The New Golden Age of Latin Music is being created right here in the United States. The Mexican-American communities of Arizona and California have emerged as hotbeds of musical creativity, merging styles that reflect the changing borders and shared cultural identities between Mexico and the United States. Orkesta Mendoza and Las Cafeteras are two of today’s most exciting bands, forging inspired new paths for the fabled Latin sound.
The six-piece band Las Cafeteras began as a group of students at Eastside Cafe, a community space in East Los Angeles, where they learned to play son jarocho, a traditional music style from Veracruz, a state in the Gulf of Mexico. All of the band's members are children of immigrants. The group features traditional Mexican folk instruments including the jarana, an eight-string guitar; the quijada, a donkey jawbone (which serves as a percussive scraper) and a tarima, a wooden platform for dancing. While rooted in son jarocho, the LA Times called their sound a “uniquely Angeleno mishmash of punk, hip-hop, beat music, cumbia and rock.” It’s a mix-and-match of styles and sources that serves to deliver socially conscious lyrics, in both English and Spanish. “We’re organizers. We’re movement kids,” said band member David Flores in a recent interview. “But we don’t say we’re political. We say we’re storytellers. It’s just not the mainstream story."
They have released two recordings. Their song “La Bamba Rebelde”, a politically-charged remake of “La Bamba” (perhaps the most famous son jarocho) from their CD It’s Time (2012) became a theme song for the telenovela Bajo El Mismo Cielo on the Telemundo network. Las Cafeteras’ second album, Tastes Like LA, featuring the powerful song “If I Was President”, was released in April 2016.
Orkesta Mendoza, originally founded by singer and guitarist Sergio Mendoza in 2009 to play a 20-minute tribute set honoring Cuban mambo king, Dámaso Perez Prado, is a dapper sextet that plays a high-energy combination of mambo, cumbia, psychedelia and rock. The Orkesta´s music, arranged to suggest a big band with a touch of lo-fi electronics, speaks of a borderless world in which US culture and Latin traditions come together.
*VIP ticket includes preferred table seating and one complimentary drink.
Appropriate for ages 7 and up. All patrons entering the theater require a ticket regardless of age. This includes children and infants. $5 tickets for ages 13-22 available via cultureshockmiami.com. Active military, senior and group 20+ discount available. Contact the SMDCAC Box Office for details.