A celebration of Latin music is coming to south Louisiana this week.
Globalfest: The New Golden Age of Latin Music, featuring the Orkestra Mendoza and Las Cafeteras, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27, at the Manship Theatre in the Shaw Center for the Arts, 100 Lafayette St., Baton Rouge, and again at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 1, at the Acadiana Center for the Arts, 101 W. Vermilion St., Lafayette.
The merger of Mexican-American communities of Arizona and California has produced new musical creativity, found in the sounds of Orkesta Mendoza and Las Cafeteras.
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 Mexican state in the Gulf of Mexico. All of the band's members are children of immigrants.
"We're organizers. We're movement kids," said band member David Flores. "But we don't say we're political. We say we're storytellers. It's just not the mainstream story."
Orkesta Mendoza, originally founded by singer and guitarist Sergio Mendoza in 2009 to play a 20-minute tribute 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 U.S. culture and Latin traditions come together.
“I think it has to do with being near the border,” explained Mendoza in an interview with the online magazine Rhythm Passport. “I grew up in Nogales, Sonora. Living in Mexico exposed me to cumbia and many regional styles of Mexico, such as mariachi and norteño. When I was 7, I moved to Nogales, Arizona. I started getting into American music and that is where the mixture of cultures begins.”
Tickets are $30 to $45 for the Manship Theatre show and can be purchased by calling (225) 3440334 or visiting manshiptheatre.org.
Tickets are $21 to $35 for the Acadiana Center for the Arts show, and can be purchased by calling (337) 233-7060 or visiting acadianacenterforthearts.org.