La Santa Cecilia
Los Angeles-based La Santa Cecilia is a "new thing" Latin rock group that draws musical inspiration from across the globe, utilizing Pan-American rhythms from cumbia, bossa nova, rhumba, bolero, and tango and marrying them to rock, soul, R&B, ska, jazz, and even klezmer. All children of immigrants, they began their musical journey singing in backyards and alleys in L.A. Their acclaimed 2013 debut album, 2013's Treinta Dias, offered an uptempo yet intensely personal view of Latino life, and delivered the hit single "ICE el Hielo" -- it became an anthem for the 14 million undocumented denizens of the U.S. and paved the way for the band to win a Grammy for Best Latin Rock Album.
La Santa Cecilia most recently decided to cut an "audio-visual album" in Mexico City. The band got its start as a street band in Los Angeles, singing rancheras and boleros, as well as Spanish- and English-language pop, soul, and rock tunes. To reflect this on the other side of the border, they cut each track -- 11 covers, one original -- in the plazas, parks, bars, and theaters of the great metropolis. Each song was cut live to tape and had an accompanying video. The material reflected their roots. There were versions of classic rancheras, boleros, and mariachis from some of Mexico's greatest songwriters -- including Violeta Parra, Consuelo Velazquez (composer of the standard "Besame Mucho"), and Tomas Mendez -- as well as modern tunes from Cafe Tacvba, Juan Gabriel, and Smokey Robinson. La Santa Cecilia also enlisted a host of collaborators to perform with them for the project, including Chilean singer/songwriter Mon Laferte, Argentine-Mexican singer Noel Schajris, Eugenia Leon, and rockabilly upstarts Rebel Cats. The band previewed the album with three videos -- all issued on the same day in April 2017 -- including a version of the title track, "Amar y Vivir" (written by Velazquez), featuring the chart-topping Mexico City-based rock band Comisario Pantera. The full-length project was issued in mid-May. It peaked at number 28 on the Top Latin Albums chart, and also received a Grammy nomination for Best Latin Pop Album.