Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
May 22nd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Holy Hybrid

music_LaSantaCeciliaLa Santa Cecilia breaks the Latin music mold
Klezmer music? Gypsy jazz? Covers of Doors and Beatles tunes? Clearly, this isn’t your typical Latin music group. Yes, La Santa Cecilia plays its fair share of cumbia, bolero, bossa nova, tango and rumba, but rather than being mere preservers of tradition, these six Los Angeles musicians are purveyors of what they call a “modern-day creative hybrid of Latin culture, rock and world music.”
According to the ensemble’s guitarist, Gloria Estrada, the diversity of La Santa Cecilia’s repertoire is a reflection of its members’ backgrounds. “The great thing about L.A. is that you can go to one part of town, and you’re in Little Tokyo; you go a few blocks, and you’re in a Mexican community, or a Jewish, Korean, El Salvadoran or Central American community,” she says. The musician adds that five members of the group are of Mexican descent, and bassist Alex Bendana was born in Venezuela, “but he was raised in L.A. by Mexican people—L.A. has a lot of Mexicans—so he’s an honorary Mexican. So we’re definitely bicultural in the sense that we have our parents’ background and culture and so forth, and at the same time, we grew up with American influence, hearing all kinds of music, eating all kinds of food and seeing different holidays be honored around L.A.” Various members of La Santa Cecilia are fans of rock, jazz, heavy metal, mariachi and Afro-Cuban music. These divergent points of reference can lead the musicians to perceive their own material in differing ways. “Sometimes we argue about how to classify a song: ‘Oh, that’s a cumbia.’ ‘No, it’s more like a merengue!’” Estrada says. “Based on our background and our ears, we want to classify it as something else. But it allows us to season a song to our own [taste].”
Whatever you might want to call it, La Santa Cecilia’s sound has generated a sizeable buzz since the group’s inception four years ago. Early on, the band got a career boost when its song “Chicle” was featured on the Showtime series Weeds, and an on-camera appearance on the HBO show Entourage last year further served to raise mainstream America’s awareness of the band. Being huge fans of the latter show, Estrada and percussionist Miguel Ramirez were especially psyched about the TV appearance. “We used to watch Entourage for years,” says Estrada, “so when we got the call, [it was like], ‘Oh, man—from the couch to the set!’”
In spite of getting a bit of mass media exposure, the group maintains a distinct grassroots ethos. One of the most unique examples of this, is the band’s novel approach to packaging its albums: each CD cover is hand-painted by band members, friends or fans. Thus, no two covers are alike. In an era when people tend to download music as opposed to purchasing CDs, these one-of-a-kind covers are a clever way to make a handheld product appealing to consumers. “Records had great artwork, or you could pull out a CD cover, and it would pull out into a poster,” says Estrada. “I think people kind of miss that.”
Interested music lovers can listen to La Santa Cecilia at lasantacecila.com—or, better yet, pick up a hand-decorated CD at the group’s Moe’s Alley gig on Friday, May 6. No jazz afficionados, metalheads, world music fans or classic rock lovers will be turned away.

La Santa Cecilia plays at 9 p.m. Friday, May 6, at Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. Cumbia Tokeson opens. $10. 470-1854. moesalley.com.
Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Gate Openers

Up-and-coming artists like Ryan Bingham are a great reason to show up early to the Santa Cruz American Music Festival

 

Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Off Her Meds

Kristin Wiig runs wild—and transcends her sketch comedy roots—as a truly strange character ‘Welcome to Me’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Flats Bistro

Pizza with an artisan twist comes to Aptos Beach

 

What’s your take on Santa Cruz locals?

Santa Cruz locals are really friendly once you know them. I think a lot of them have a hard time leaving, and I would too. Ryan Carle, Santa Cruz, Biologist

 

Soquel Vineyards

If Soquel Vineyards partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan were walking down the street wearing their winning wine competition medals, you’d hear them coming from a mile away. This year was particularly rewarding for the Bargettos and Morgan—they won two Double Gold Medals and five Gold Medals at January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

 

Enlightened Flavors

Squash & Blossom’s artisanal alternative-flour delights, beet kvass from Cafe Ivéta, and the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival