ORKESTA MENDOZA (FKA SERGIO MENDOZA Y LA ORKESTA)Sergio Mendoza Defines The Arizona Border With Orkesta Mendozas New Release Vamos A Guarachar!
Out November 11th On GlitterBeat Records Orkesta Mendoza
Sergio Mendoza is probably my favourite musician of this time. He has the cumbia and mambo in his DNA, but he has the power to make it sound like today. His Orkesta is as punk as the Sex Pistols and as violent as Perez Prado Camilo Lara, Mexican Institute of Sound
Orkesta Mendoza is one of the best live bands out there. Their music delves into a myriad of directions, rhythms and moods, big band orchestrations mixed with lo fi electronica, vocals en Espaol together with moving instrumentals.Vamos a Guarachar is epic and soulful, it captures that positive spirit of the Southwest Joey Burns, Calexico
(Tucson, AZ) Something is stirring in downtown Tucson. Thats no great surprise perhaps: Calexico have been sending out missives from the desert for 20 years now, Giant Sand for even longer than that, and the Green on Red revival is surely overdue. These three giants of American popular music ask questions of the form, chiefly because of where they are situated. Let us remind ourselves that this isnt a big city but that its hinterland is indeed as big as it gets. About an hour south, Mexico starts and this is where things get interesting.
Born in Nogales, Arizona, raised in Nogales, Sonora, multi-instrumentalist and band-leader of Orkesta Mendoza, Sergio Mendoza grew up listening to the Mexican regional styles jostling for headspace in a young, music-mad mind cumbia mainly, but mambo, rancheras and mariachi too. The border is always a fierce arena of exchange, both commercial and cultural, and so there was American music too. At one point rock and roll, the classics, as Mendoza himself deadpans, seemed to win out and he stopped playing those Latin styles for a good decade and a half.
The return to those sounds was a strong one in 2012s Mambo Mexicano, co-produced by Mendoza and Joey Burns of Calexico a band for which Mendoza has become an increasingly integral touring and recording member. While that record had a studied air, tentative in parts (as befits the renewal of an old love affair), Vamos A Guarachar! is another beast entirely: by turns raucous (Cumbia Volcadora, featuring Mexican electronic pioneer Camilo Lara), tender (Misterio, surely Salvador Durans finest moment with the band so far) and plain serious fun, as in Contra La Marea and Mapache, it also bears a robust electronic edge, a keen pop sensibility and all the hallmarks of Mendozas love of 60s rock, with the closing track, Shadows of the Mind, sure to be included if anyone decides to update the Nuggets collection for the 21st century. This is roundabout way of saying that it appears to have everything, but never too much of anything. Focused, fierce and beautifully executed by a superbly drilled set of musicians, it is a record that fully matches the bands explosive live performances.
Nogales, Sonora, Nogales, Arizona: this is what the border looks like here for now. To talk about borders and the diasporas they create, is to be pitched headlong into our eras most urgent debate, marked by Trumps lurid obscenities and the lines being hastily reinstated across Europe. Orkesta Mendozas contribution to that debate is to show us what the border sounds like and what masterpieces can be achieved by honest cultural exchange. What we decide to do with that information is up to us. With this record, however, well have an awful lot of fun deciding.
You could, of course, take the trip to Tucson yourself, to the home of this essential set of field recordings. The scene hangs out together, so if the stars align and their frantic tour schedules permit, you might see any number of folks from Calexico, Giant Sand or up-and-coming cumbia rockers Xixa deep in conversation somewhere in town with a quiet young man in black. Thats Sergio. Right now, in this endless game of Tucson tag, Orkesta Mendoza are IT.
Orkesta Mendoza: Sergio Mendoza: vocals, keyboards, guitars, drums, percussion, programming, horns Salvador Duran: lead vocals Cumbia Volcadora, Misterio & Cumbia Amor De Lejos Sean Rogers: bass, lead vocal Shadows of the Mind Marco Rosano: sax, clarinet, trombone, keyboards, guitar Raul Marques: backing vocals Joe Novelli: lap steel
LAS CHOLLAS PELIGROSASAll-female Phoenix sextet Las Chollas Peligrosas draws upon multiple subgenres of traditional Latin music from Rancheras to Mariachi to Cumbia and everything in between, even hints of Old World Gypsy Folk.
Six-part multi-lingual vocals, accordion, flute, violin, classical guitar, percussion and upright bass deliver a mix of classic standards and inspired original compositions.
Rich with supporting harmonies, all the ladies take the lead at one point or another in the show and much of the subject matter is catalytic, pointed and poignant in true folkloric fashion. In the spirit of their prickly namesake, Las Chollas Peligrosas speak to truth and empowerment in the name of human rights and cultural awareness.
Each member of Las Chollas Peligrosas have arrived from different musical journeys but share a love for this music and the power it has to unite the community and communicate the voice of the people for positive change.