Las Cafeteras crossed another musical border Wednesday night hosting an exclusive release party for a remix EP of their songs. La Junta Sound System deejays radically re-imagined cuts off the son jarocho-flavored Latin Alternative band's popular 2012 It's Time debut album. Las Cafeteras, having already carved out an identity as hybridistas, premiered the songs designed to get the social justice club turnt up before a sold out crowd at East LA's Cities Restaurant & Lounge.
"The remixes came to us," vocalist Leah Gallegos tells the Weekly. She also plays a rattling donkey jaw called the quijada and dances zapateado. "La Junta approached us a few times to talk about remixing some of our songs. We felt like it was a good opportunity to give our music an additional twist but also work with another collective."
Of the ten tracks off It's Time, "Mujer Soy," "El Chuchumbé," and "La Bamba Rebelde" got the remix treatment. Early into the night, 89.3 KPCC education reporter Adolfo Guzman-Lopez hosted a Q&A with band members and La Junta deejays about the story behind each of the songs before playing them for the first time.
They delved into the feminism of "Mujer Soy" and centuries-old history of "El Chuchumbé" on a stage in front of a dance floor while people got their social drank on as opposed to a more typical formal workshop setting.
With his unmistakable charisma, Hector Flores got the crowd moving with every song premiere. Later on in the night, the listening party turned into an impromptu performance with Las Cafeteras playing their new remixed songs live!
"Our music is a remix. Our 'La Bamba' is a remix. It would be a mistake to say that ours is a pure music. We encourage people to make history," says requinto player David Flores in a rare interview. "That's what Chicanismo is to me. We take things that speak to us and make it our own whether its religion, music, sports, lo que sea. We make it uniquely LA and uniquely Chicano. I'm very proud that someone took our music and made it their own."
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La Junta deejays will be joining the group to promote the remixes when Las Cafeteras head out for the start of their 2015 West Side tour at the end of this month. "It's going to be conscious clubbing!" la mera mera marimbolera Annette Torres says with a laugh! The concept perfectly sums up the metamorphosis of a band that started out taking traditional music classes at the Eastside Cafe cultural space in El Sereno and has since taken its music to non-traditional spaces.
"When we put out the event, the tickets sold out in about 20 minutes. People are eager to hear more of Las Cafeteras," Torres adds. "We're working on an album right now, but it has been taking longer because there has been more demand for the group to show up at different events, other states." The band's been touring up a storm but came back to East LA to give its community a night of new music that will later be released digitally in early March.
"Being home," she says, "genuinely we all just want to give people the best of us."