HOCO Fest Day 2 – Latin Night
Friday, August 30th 7:00PM
Sergio mendoza y la orkesta
It’s safe to say that most of us haven’t heard the term “Indie Mambo” to describe a group before now, because such a style simply did not exist until young Sergio Mendoza invented it in late 2009, in Tucson, Arizona.
Mendoza was participating in an annual benefit event held at Club Congress, called ‘The Great Cover-Up,’ and had chosen the legendary Cuban bandleader Perez Prado as his coveree. But combining that influence, as well as Cumbia and other Latin styles, with psychedelia-tinged rock music proved to be a formula that was extremely palatable to Arizona music fans and Mendoza’s fellow musicians.
In 2007 Mendoza was asked to be an emergency sub and then became a regular player in the domestic incarnation of Calexio. With Calexico, Mendoza has played the Rhode Island Folk Festival, the World Music Festival in Chicago (at the Frank Gehry-designed Pritzker Pavilion), the 2010 iteration of Vive Latino in Mexico City, and countless shows throughout the Southwest and elsewhere.
Lest you consider it grandiose to call such a group an “orchestra,” you must bear in mind the deadly assemblage of supporting talent that bears that moniker: a six(?)-member horn section-two drummers that put so much energy into Y La Orkesta’s polyrhythms; a Latin Jimi Hendrix of a lead guitarist (Brian Lopez, whose other gig is as leader of the rock group Mostly Bears), who is a great composer and singer in his own right; and the secret weapon of y la Orkesta, the great Salvador Duran.
Duran moved to Tucson from Cananea, Sonora, Mexico. Soon enough he was invited to play with Calexico in various incarnations and on various projects, including lead vocals on the title track of Calexico’s joint EP with Iron and Wine, In The Reins, as well as a haunting contribution on their cover of “The Guns of Brixton” on the iTunes exclusive “Live Session” EP. He has also recorded with Willie Nelson on the song “Senor,” which was released on the soundtrack for Todd Haynes’ brilliant “I’m Not There” Bob Dylan biopic.
Words do not do justice to the alchemy that this combination of performers can conjure up – it is something to be heard, and witnessed, and most importantly, felt. The good news is, this is a band that is going places both physically and metaphorically.
Camilo Lara (Mexican Institute of Sound)
Camilo Lara never set out with the intention of taking his personal musical career very seriously. At first, he was simply creating holiday mixes for friends. But then his friends convinced him that he should take his songs off his computer and into the studio. Now five years later, Lara is building upon the momentum of Mexican Institute of Sound’s third release, ‘Soy Sauce.’
‘Soy Sauce’ traverses Lara’s wild musical imagination with a witty sense of humor… whether it’s converting the traditional sounds of cumbia to a full-on electronic dance track, paying tribute to hip hop luminaries De La Soul or N.W.A with Mexican sonidos or singing a love song as if Serge Gainsbourg had spent time in the Mayan jungle.
While early M.I.S. songs combined a variety of vintage samples into instrumental tracks, ‘Soy Sauce’ features almost entirely original songs recorded with a live band and vocals. Songs like “Yo Digo Baila” are the most to-the-point M.I.S. dance tracks to date. “What I like is that one has the sounds of cumbia but in a very radical style,” Lara explains.
Lara also invited some of his influential musician friends to perform on the album. “When I was working on ‘Soy Sauce,’ I was obsessed with Café Tacuba’s classic album ‘Re’,” he says. “I wanted to record an album like that, going from polka to punk in one second. That’s why I had found it so fascinating. I wanted my album to really cover the entire scope of my musical tastes.”
So Lara ended up recruiting close friend and Tacuba’s lead guitarist Joselo Rangel to play on the tracks “Hiedra Venenosa” and “Alocatel.” From there, Ad Rock, of hip hop icons the Beastie Boys, decided he wanted to remix the track “Alocatel”.
While Lara has been involved with top film projects like arranging the score for “Y Tu Mama Tambien” and the soundtrack for “Rudo Y Cursi,” he has also had M.I.S. songs featured in a variety of major films, TV shows, ad campaigns and video games: from HBO’s “Big Love” to Showtime’s “Californication” and Heineken to FIFA Soccer 2010.
“I guess I always create music for imaginary situations, so this often reflects in where the songs end up,” he explains. As the M.I.S. recording and songwriting process has evolved, so has the live show. It has developed from simply “pushing buttons” to incorporating a live drummer, DJ and bassist. M.I.S. has brought the band to rock stages from Central Park Summer Stage to Japan and onto performances with leading radio programs like KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic.”
Last spring, M.I.S. played the prestigious Coachella Arts & Music Festival in Indio, California. The Los Angeles Times praised the band’s set as one of the Coachella highlights, saying, “M.I.S. obliterated the rhythmic sameness that sinks a lot of U.S. hip-hop acts. Their songs fuse thunderous beats enlivened by real-time Latin percussive accents, lyrics en español, polka, norteño, mariachi, punk, disco and rock flavors.”
In the past, Lara had attended Coachella as a fan but performing for the first time had special meaning. “For me, it is part of the Mount Olympus of rock,” he says. “This includes feats like getting covered in Rolling Stone, Spin, and NME and playing Reading and Glastonbury. Yet another dream to cross off!”
taraf De Tucson
The sprawling brainchild of Gabriel Sullivan, Taraf is a nine piece mex-western -cumbia diorama of muscial delights. Rarely playing these days with Gabriel running off in eight fdifferent directions, this will undobtably be an awesome sweatly showcase, perfectly suited to be the closer in the Club on Friday.
Tesoro has a unique sound that captivates even the most sophisticated Flamenco purists and enthusiasts. With rock, blues, and jazz influences, Tesoro takes Flamenco Fusion to a new level. Performing with groups like Del Castillo and Calexico on multiple occasions throughout the years, memorable experiences both to the band members and fans were created. Flamenco dancer Natalie Fernandez performs with the group on occasion and has performed with such acts as the Gipsy Kings and Esteban.
Logan Phillips, aka DJ DIRTYVERBS is a bilingual poet, performer and trans disciplinary artist. His artist interests are vast, but here, tonight ,he is the best Latin, Cumbia hipster DJ in Arizona. He unerring feel for finding dancable jams with some of the most esoteric and rare Latin tracks is always a pleasure to behold. DIRTYVERBS will be serving as the glue between acts this evening, keeping the night pumping along at a sweaty pace.
Justin Valdez y los Guapos
Stepping out from the boisterous Last Call Brawlers, Justin Valdez has assembled a crack team of Tortilla Makers to produce one of the newest, coolest acts in town. Check out this video for In The Van. You gonna like.
One of the nice surprises that came out of the RAW event we hosted last spring was the discovery of this great Latin tinged rock act, Grite Leon. Combining a touch of the Chili Peppers (band) and a touch of chili peppers (the vegetable) these guys will be the perfect high energy kickoff to the Club stage.