Music

Las Cafeteras

This land is our land

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

To see Los Angeles’ Las Cafeteras perform is to watch a confident Chicano sextet that embodies with every eclectic note pride in their origins and influences.

However, it was not always that way.

In fact, members of the band remember feeling confusion about their place in their community and society as a whole, as well as pressure to conform to a white, English-speaking world.

But when the six future band mates met at a community space that encourages expression, activism and positivity, and bonded over their love of Son Jarocho, the folk music of Veracruz, Mexico, the combination of supportive atmosphere and musical like minds instilled in them a sense that their heritage was to be honored and celebrated—as joyously as possible.

And so Las Cafeteras was born. The name is an homage to the space that spawned and nurtured them, feminized to pay respect to women, not least the ones in the band.

If you’re beginning to think this isn’t your standard-issue musical act, you’d be right.

Their music is a lively and evocative blend of the aforementioned Son Jarocho and Afro-Mexican, augmented by spoken word and zapateado dancing, which is hallmarked by rhythmic striking of the dancer’s shoes, a distant cousin of tap dancing. They incorporate such instruments as jarana, requinto jarocho (both guitar-like instruments), cajon (a box-shaped percussion instrument), and quijada (made from the jawbone of a mule or donkey)—along with a little glockenspiel and Native American flute, just to make things even more interesting.

Into this multifaceted cultural stew of exotic instruments and performance elements, Las Cafeteras then adds a hearty dash of progressive politics, with songs that touch on immigration reform, the DREAM Act, the civil rights movement, the United Farm Act, and the underreported epidemic of feminicidio—female homicide—in the violent border town of Ciudad Juarez.

Given the current political climate of the United States, and the attitude of its President toward Mexicans, immigrants and basically anyone who isn’t white, it would be easy to assume that Las Cafeteras’ brand of musical politics has become increasingly angry and fiery to suit. But the band has insisted that is not the case, that they feel their message is best presented with positivity, that they want to be a force that brings us together instead of another wedge driving us apart.

It’s hard to believe they could feel this way, but all one needs to do is listen to their rendition of “This Land is Your Land,” in which the lyrics to the classic song are beautifully interwoven in both English and Spanish, to understand they really mean it and that this is a country with room for us all.

More Music...
McIntyre Hall
South to Skagit

Before I become consumed by Halloween in Bellingham and all of the various and plentiful happenings that come with it, I must first turn my attention southward, to Skagit County.

Generally speaking, when I journey south across the county line during this time of the year, I am seeking a…

more »
Bellingham Irish Festival
No one’s second fiddle

Maybe it’s because we too live in a place where we exist between green land and gray skies. Perhaps it’s because some of our favorite musicians came to us from the Emerald Isle. Maybe it’s because we have a touch of romance in our heart and a bit of melancholy in our soul.

Whatever…

more »
Back to School
Of gown and town

I would like to say that when I moved to Bellingham all those years ago to attend Western Washington University, I immediately explored and immersed myself in the community.

But that would be a piece of revisionist history, or if you prefer, a big, fat lie.

I probably didn’t come down…

more »
Events
Today
Rainbow Reads

3:00pm|Ferndale Library

Cook It and Book It

3:30pm|Lynden Library

All-Paces Run

6:00pm|Fairhaven Runners

War Through the Eyes of Women Book Club

6:00pm|Bellingham Vet Center

Peru Novoandina

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Mind-Body-Food Connection

6:30pm|Cordata Community Food Co-op

WAKE Meeting

6:30pm|Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Center

Beginning Square Dance Lessons

7:00pm|Ten Mile Grange

Skagit Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Bayview Civic Hall

Books on Tap

7:00pm|North Fork Brewery

Fancy Bingo

7:30pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Comedy Open Mic

7:30pm|Shakedown

Trove Web
Tomorrow
Bellingham at Home Informational Meeting

1:00pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

Endangered Species Curator's Tour

1:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher Building

Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market

3:00pm|Hammer Heritage Square

Prosecutors race is a referendum on reform

6:00pm

Creekside Open Mic

6:30pm|South Whatcom Library

Where the sidewalk ends

7:00pm

Walking to the End of the World

7:00pm|Village Books

Brian Dean Trio

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Climate Change and Forests

7:00pm|Sustainable Living Center

Modified documentary and Panel Discussion

7:30pm|Pickford Film Center

Trove Web Village Books
Thursday
Parkinson's Dance Class

10:00am|Ballet Bellingham

Fall Craft & Antique Show

10:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Komo Kulshan Ski Swap

4:00pm|Bloedel Donovan

Jazz Jam

5:30pm|Illuminati Brewing

Camber Exhcange

5:30pm|1820 Scout Place

Falling Out of the Box Jewelry Challenge

6:00pm|Jansen Art Center

Squash Celebration

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Chuckanut Radio Hour

6:30pm|Whatcom Community College

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Nooksack River Travelogue

7:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

The Duck Variations

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

The Skriker

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Side Show

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

see our complete calendar »

Village Books Trove Web Siro Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1