GlobalFEST’s “New Golden Age of Latin Music” comes to the Hi Ho Lounge, 3/2

(Editor’s note- order of bands has switched) In a stroke of luck for New Orleans music lovers, two of the most acclaimed Latin bands in the United States arrive in the Crescent City for a show at the Hi Ho Lounge on Friday, March 2. Orkestra Mendoza and Las Cafeteras are on a national theater tour and suddenly had a free night. Shows on the rest of the tour have been in theaters including performances at the Manship Theater in Baton Rouge, so this is a chance to see these acts in an intimate setting.

Singer and guitarist Sergio Mendoza founded Orkestra Mendoza in 2009 as a one-off tribute to the Cuban mambo king Pérez Prado. The band, which is from Tucson, Arizona, calls their sound “indie mambo” and plays an amalgamation of Latin styles including mambo, ranchera, and cumbia with a healthy dose of psychedelia and rock ‘n’ roll. The group includes Sean Rogers on bass and vocals, Jaime Peters on drums, Marco Rosano on keys and saxophone, Brian Lopez on guitar and vocals, and Quetzal Guerrero on violin and vocals.

Though based in Tucson, Mendoza grew up straddling the United States-Mexican border in Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora. While the music of Orkestra Mendoza comes across as a high-energy dance band, Mendoza is well aware of the current political climate and the demonization of Mexicans. Yet, his mission is to allow audiences to forget about politics and institutional racism and just dance.

Las Cafeteras hails from east L.A. home of storied Latin-American success stories like Los Lobos and Ozomatli. Their infectious live performances have enamored them with music lovers and other musicians including Colombian superstar Juanes and Mexican icons Caifanes.

Las Cafeteras has created a vibrant musical fusion using traditional Son jarocho instruments like the jarana (a small guitar), and tarima (a wooden platform). They sing in English, Spanish, and Spanglish and add percussive effects by dancing on the tarima. Son jarocho is a regional folk style from Veracruz, Mexico.

The band includes Daniel French on jarana and keys, Denise Carlos on jarana and zapateado, Jose Cano on drums and percussion, Hector Flores on jarana and zapateado, and Gloria Estrada on upright bass. Everyone in the band sings. Zapateado is a style of traditional dance similar to tap. Enrique Chi from the band Making Movies is a special guest appearing on guitar and vocals.

Show time is 9 PM.

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