La Santa Cecilia: Straight Outta Olvera Street
It's been an epic year for Los Angeles based La Santa Cecilia, the quartet named after the patron saint of musicians. From winning a Grammy for their latest album "Treinta Dias" (Best Latin Rock Album), to touring with Los Lobos and collaborating with Elvis Costello, to being able to play in Latin America's biggest music festival as a complete band, to producing a heart wrenching music video for "El Hielo" (Ice) with acclaimed director Alex Rivera, the patron saint of music has indeed been kind to her devotees.
The band comprised of accordionist and requintero José "Pepe" Carlos, bassist Alex Bendaña, percussionist Miguel Ramírez, and lead vocalist Marisoul "La Marisoul" Hernández, is currently the most visible and critically acclaimed Latin group to emerge from the vibrant L.A. music scene that includes groups like Quetzal, Las Cafeteras and Chicano Batman, among many others. While the band mostly records in Spanish, evident in the group's sound are influences as diverse as cumbia, bossa nova, norteño, and classic rock with a Latin tinge. Case in point, their latest album features a Latinized cover of "Strawberry Fields Forever" and recent solo performances by La Marisoul have showcased a soulful cover of The Smiths' "Shoplifters of The World Unite." La Marisoul's Aretha Franklin-meets-Lola-Beltran vocals and the pan-Latino grooves of her band mates have established the band as a favorite amongst cultural critics and street-corner critics.