Las Cafeteras by Piero Giunti

(KCRW Music Blog Contributor Jose Galvan previews a handful of bands performing at the 2012 Latin Alternative Music Conference in New York City, hosted by KCRW DJ Raul Campos)

For the last 7-10 years, the Son Jarocho revivalist movement, aptly named Movimiento Jaranero, has been thriving within Chicano communities all over the U.S. It is propelled by cultural centers whose main goal is to preserve and teach the unique musical style indigenous to Veracruz, Mexico.  Offering lessons in Jarana (small guitar-like instrument) and creating environments conducive for the Fandango (half to full circle “jam out” sessions) these cultural centers have been able to expose a new generation to the traditions of Jarocho storytelling.

It is out of this cultural movement that a group like Las Cafeteras emerged in 2005.

Taking their name from the community organization where they studied, Eastside Café, a group of 15-20 students began integrating and playing Son Jarocho at protests & art galleries around LA. Evolving over the years to a core group of 7 members that now tour all over the U.S. and play festivals and proper concert venues.

In a couple months they will be releasing their first studio album entitled, “It’s Time”, in response to the demand for their music. To date all that exists is a widely circulated recording from one of their live performances at Mucho Wednesdays — which even made its way onto KCRW’s airwaves thanks to DJ Chuck P.

Check out an exclusive preview off their forthcoming record. It’s “Cafe Con Pan“:

I’ve had a chance to hear the rest of the record, and it does not disappoint. They were able to keep the spontaneity of improvised lyrics and capture the excitement of the playful, back & forth verses onto a studio recording. All without losing the high-energy vibe of the Fandango you’d see at their shows.

Check out another track, “La Bamba Rebelde“, and download it here.

La Bamba Rebelde (from new album out Summer 2012) by Las Cafeteras

Las Cafeteras have gone from being mere students recreating a traditional music style to being masters of the genre. Integrating their refreshing perspective to an LA music scene that has wholeheartedly embraced them.

While the studio album is a great representation, this is definitely a band you have to experience live… and if you have a jarana or jawbone lying around, bring it. Just don’t tell them I said so.

– Jose Galvan

 

 

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  • Joaquin Peralta

    Thanks for the article, I agree with you that Las Cafeteras are much better live than recorded. Also, it should be noted that while Las Cafeteras can play their instruments adequately enough they are by no means masters of the genre–there are many nuances of the music (particularly special cadences and syncopated rhythms) that they have not yet discovered. Still, a very good article about an exciting band to see live.

    • RoCHE

      It takes some kind of courage to break the mold of historical, well-respected genres and create something new. I don't understand why any criticism "should be noted" after an article that is clearly highlighting the best of Las Cafeteras. It sounds like you're trying to downplay the beauty of their new music, Joaquin. It's a shame that gente still feel the need to pull each other down–no matter how subtle your snide remark.

      • A.R. Rullero

        But are they really creating something new? Have they become "masters of the genre?" I do not know how such hyperbole helps a band of your performers improve their music and lyrics. It is always best to work and create con los pies en la tierra.

        • A.R. Rullero

          I meant to write 'young performers.'

      • Joaquín

        Roche, I am not pulling anyone down–just calling a spade a spade. The cafeteras are an exciting band to see live because of the immense talent they have to get the crowd excited and into the presentation–this is something that can't be taught or learned through any conventional means and it is completely reliant on charisma (of which the cafeteras have A LOT). My problem is calling them 'masters' of a genre, of which they are not (and they would probably be the first to tell you so). Insofar as "breaking the mold" Las Cafeteras play straight-ahead son jarocho as it is learned in talleres in México and the US and do not really push any boundaries other than through their thought-provoking lyrics. If you want to hear musically genre-pushing son jarocho I suggest you listen to bands coming out of México such as Semilla, Los Macuiles, or Sonex (not that I necessarily feel these bands are amazing but more so that I feel they push the envelope of son jarocho much more so than Las Cafeteras.) Con respite, Joaquín

        • Joaquín

          Perdón, con respeto…

          • A.R. Rullero

            Agree!

  • Daniel

    I like how you sneakily invite people to take their jaranas & jawbones to the show. The more the merrier. :)

  • conrazon

    Love this band!!! Can't wait to see them on 8/18 at The Satellite!!!!!! LA BAMBA REBELDE!

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