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Bicultural Music Team Hitting It Big

December 2, 2013
Plain English Version

The core members of La Santa Cecilia (from left): Miguel Ramírez, La Marisoul, Alex Bendana, and José “Pepe” Carlos.Photo by HUMBERTO HOWARD

Two teenagers singing for tips on Olvera Street in the Los Angles Mexican outdoor market are now called La Santa Cecilia. And they are hot.

Vocalist Marisol Hernandez and accordionist Jose “Pepe” Carlos use their bicultural identity to create hybrid music.

They have a Latin Grammy nomination. Their music is a blend of bolero, bossa nova and Colombian cumbia with jazz, rock and klezmer music.

Singing in English and Spanish, they take a storytelling approach. They see themselves as a voice for young Hispanics. They sing about working-class and immigrant struggles. They sing about paying bills, deportation and the chance to realize their dreams.

Their music of their new band is the music of the huge wave of immigrants who are reshaping America.

They are also Los Angeles musicians. Their music is about Koreatown, little Tokyo and Chinatown. It is about people coming from faraway places. They recently played in New York’s Lincoln Center.

Success came when a music producer heard them. He said, “They had taken all this information they grew up with and turned it into something compelling. I felt they were the future.”

The name of their new album is Treinta Dias. Its biggest single hit is “El Hielo” (ICE), a play on Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. It is about undocumented workers who live with deportation because “ICE is loose on the streets.”

It has attracted more than 500,000 viewers on YouTube. The band will soon perform in Mexico City.

Source: The Wall Street Journal                                                                                     November 28, 2013

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