La Santa Cecilia Mash Up '80s Hits Like "Tainted Love" and Traditional Latin Elements

La Santa Cecilia Mash Up '80s Hits Like "Tainted Love" and Traditional Latin Elements
Armando Corriente

La Santa Cecilia represents a generation of genre-mashing Latino musicians raised in Los Angeles. Their preferred forms of expression remain the Latin American realms of boleros, rancheras, cumbias and salsa; nevertheless, they expand far beyond them. The band possesses an impressive talent for interweaving them with other influential styles that might seem worlds away but are rooted in the diversity of their city. That central dynamic is on full display with El Valor, their latest Rebeleon Entertainment release.

The five-song EP features four ambitious covers and a tantalizing original title track. La Santa Cecilia delve into their '80s musical upbringing with interpretations of Soft Cell's "Tainted Love," U2's "One" and "Viento" by reunited Mexican rockers Caifanes. The late Lhasa De Sela's world music legacy is also honored with the hypnotic "Love Came Here." 

In support of the effort, the Humberto Howard-directed video for "Tainted Love" debuted on Remezcla just this Monday showing vocalist La Marisoul wearing ruby red lipstick and smooching black and white photos of fellow band members.


The covers on

El Valor

keep identifiable elements of the originals intact. But, getting spun in the band's Latin music blender, they wind up accentuated by Pepe Carlos' accordion melodies, Alex Bendaña's upright bass and Miguel 'Oso' Ramirez's rhythmic taps on the congas. Stripped down, the songs allow La Marisoul's vocals to soar, recalling a slowed down but soulful Gloria Jones on "Tainted Love" and Saúl Hernández's spirituality on "Viento."

 

The result fits in with La Santa Cecilia's style as easily as do guitarist Gloria Estrada's mariachi pants, big belt buckles and jazzy influences or the singer's penchant for Buddy Holly retro glasses and elaborately decorated skirts.

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In the end, while it would have been nice to have heard other covers in the band's repertoire make it onto the album, like their version of The Doors' "People Are Strange," El Valor wisely is a short and sweet appetizer. Besides, the title track, an original composition, hints at the main course, a full-length album, whose time is coming.

Members of La Santa Cecilia take the stage Sunday at 2 p.m. at Santa Ana's Día del Niño Celebration, Birch Park, 210 N. Birch Street, Santa Ana. 10 am. - 5 p.m. Free. All Ages.

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