Benefit Bailongo! With La Santa Cecilia

LA's La Santa Cecilia is coming down to Santa Ana today for a benefit bailongo. The six-piece's cross-generational appeal brings its mesh of various Latin American musical genres to a community dance party at Taco Adobe.

They're lending the OC their talents, in part, to assist one of Santa Ana's most active community organizations; The Orange County DREAM Team. The Dreamers were recently able to pressure Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez to co-sponsor the DREAM Act,--legislation that would establish a pathway to citizenship for undocumented college students--but the action doesn't stop there. Knowing that "a revolution without dancing is not a revolution worth having," La Santa Cecilia hopes on Friday to generate fun and funds for the OCDT's future activism.

Traveling outside LA's bars, clubs, and community centers, La Santa Cecilia spent the first half of this year getting to know audiences outside its home base with shows in Santa Barbara and Bakersfield. The sextetplan to visit the Bay Area later this year.

"It's been challenging but at the same time it's been fun," says guitarist Gloria Estrada. "Anytime we have gone out of LA, we've been well received and people have welcomed our music," she adds. Last March, La Santa Cecilia traveled to Austin for the annual South by Southwest Music and Media Conference and Festival.

Wherever they go, they conquer. From infectious cumbias to clever klezmer, La Santa Cecilia loves to mix up its musical style during performances, even adding a bilingual cover of The Beatles' classic "Strawberry Fields Forever" to set lists. The formula works like a charm as audiences are slowly seduced onto the dance floor.

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The chemistry of the musical lab technicians is responsible for the phenomenon. "We're always experimenting with styles and genres," the guitarist says of her band's eclectic approach. Accordionist/Requintero Jose Carlos' melodies, along with Estrada's clean tone and jazzy influences fit perfectly with charismatic lead singer Marisoul's passionate, commanding vocals. Bassist Alex Bendana, percussionist Miguel "Oso" Ramirez, and drummer Victor Hugo Vargas come together to forge a disciplined and ever improving rhythm section that keeps the beat going.

Performing for causes is also a familiar part of La Santa Cecilia's resume. Though none of their songs are explicitly political, community organizers know the power of a good band to bring people in to an event. The band members are more than happy to help--whether in Los Angeles or in Orange County, where their previous engagements in Santa Ana and Anaheim have already developed a small, but growing following. "Orange County is becoming our home away from home," Estrada notes in the middle of band rehearsal. "Sometimes we underestimate ourselves, but our crowd is growing out there for sure. Even people from LA drive out there to see us play."

On Friday, in benefit of the OC DREAM Team, the spaceless Latino youth of OC will get to enjoy a night of music with a band their primos in LA have had the privilege of dancing to all too often! Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and space is limited, so plan on getting there early. Who knows? Now that Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez is a co-sponsor,  maybe she'll even show up for this opportunity to throw chancla for the DREAM Act!

La Santa Cecilia with Special Guests at Taco Adobe, 1319 N. Main Street, Santa Ana, 92701. 7-11 p.m. $6 suggested donation.


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