Las Cafeteras: Local Band We Love

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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