Known for bold Latin American sound, Las Cafeteras performs in Whitefish

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Las Cafeteras is a dynamic ensemble of musicians known for their bold fusion of traditional Latin American folk rhythms with the attitude of urban worldbeat. (Courtesy photo)

The Whitefish Theatre Company is delighted to present Las Cafeteras, a dynamic ensemble of musicians known for their bold fusion of traditional Latin American folk rhythms with the attitude of urban worldbeat. A family-friendly concert not to miss, Las Cafeteras will perform their captivating show, full of music, dance, and fun, one night only on Friday, Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the O’Shaughnessy Center in Whitefish.

Hailing from East L.A., Las Cafeteras are taking the music scene by storm with their urban folk sound. Remixing traditional Son Jarocho style music from Veracruz, Mexico with Afro-Caribbean, folk, hip-hop, and pop sounds, Las Cafeteras brings this vibrant musical fusion to life with eclectic world instruments like the West African marimbol and cajón, Spanish stringed jaranas and requintos, and Latin American quijada, or donkey jawbone. As part of their edgy, cross-genre sound, Las Cafeteras integrates inspiring lyrics as well as zapateado dancing, a form of Latin American tap marked by rhythmic stomping of the feet. The BBC has praised Las Cafeteras for creating “urgent, relevant music” and their infectious live performances have been called “magnetic” by the LA Times.

Las Cafeteras formed as a band in 2008 with the purpose of documenting the histories of their neighborhoods through music. As musicians, they started as students of the Eastside Café, a Zapatista-inspired community space in East Los Angeles where they were influenced by the culture, storytelling, and poetic music of Son Jarocho, the centuries-old tradition from the Mexican state of Veracruz. Their Afro-Mexican beats, rhythms, and rhymes – sung in English and Spanish - deliver inspiring lyrics and stories about a community seeking love, joy, and justice in the concrete jungle of Los Angeles. With their uplifting spirit, Las Cafeteras uses music as a vehicle to build bridges among different cultures and communities, demonstrating that while the struggle for peace and equality is a serious matter, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a good time along the way.

Las Cafeteras features seven musicians who each play several instruments. Daniel French sings and plays the jarana segundo and keys; Jose Cano plays the drums, cajón, Native American flute, and harmonica; Denise Carlos sings and plays the jarana primera and glockenspiel; Hector Flores sings and plays the jarana tercera; Chrisol Lomeli sings and plays the quijada; Gloria Estrada plays the bass; and Xocoyotzin Moraza plays the requinto jarocho. Both Denise and Hector also perform zapateado tap in several of their songs, adding an intricate layer of percussion with their fast footwork.

Over the past decade, Las Cafeteras have demonstrated that in art as in life, borders are meant to be crossed. They have collaborated with folk/indie darlings Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Mexican icons Cafe Tacuba, Caifanes, and Lila Downs, Los Angeles legends Ozomatli, Colombian pop star Juanes, singer and songwriter John Legend, hip hop activist Talib Kweli, and even the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Las Cafeteras has brought their infectious energy, positive spirit and inspirational messages to rapturous audiences at Lincoln Center in New York, Montreal Jazz Fest, Art Basel in Miami, WOMAD in the United Kingdom, and SXSW in Austin, among many other high-profile venues.

Tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for students with reserved seating. Tickets can be purchased at the Box Office, 1 Central Ave., Whitefish, or by calling 862-5371. Box office hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and one hour before a performance. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.whitefishtheatreco.org. This show is sponsored by the WTC Board of Directors. A free outreach concert for local students is sponsored by Ann and Paul Jeremiassen. These concerts are also supported, in part, with funds provided by the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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