Taller Sur take their "workshop" namesake seriously!
Taller Sur take their "workshop" namesake seriously!

OCMA's 'Best Latin' Nominees Self-Organize Showcase

As the 10th-anniversary Orange County Music Awards rapidly approach, bands nominated in the "Best Latin" category have come together to organize a showcase of their own. Taller Sur, Signa, Nancy Sanchez and ¡Aparato! will perform in Santa Ana for a special concert aimed at building solidarity and community. Taking the stage one week before the OCMA's ceremony at the City National Grove of Anaheim on March 5th, the musicians will display a diversity of talent, as each nominated band has its own unique style.

Singer-songwriter Nancy Sanchez is a bilingual jazz musician nominated in that genre's category. Signa has a solid rock en español sound with spiritually-minded lyrics. ¡Aparato! is, of course, the innovative jarocho-rock band fronted by one of OC's sexiest people of 2011, Nancy "Cat" Mendez. Taller Sur has been a five-year local mainstay of Latin American-influenced trova music.

As the OCMA's "Best Latin" category had featured many of the same nominated bands for the past two years, 2011's fresh crop of first time-nominees was a pleasant surprise to all. "It was pretty exciting," Signa singer and rhythm guitarist Beto Gudiño noted. "My friend Abel Muñoz, who plays bass in our band, gave me the news. I was thankful that we were considered. It was nice, man."

Taller Sur co-founder

Ruby Castellanos

had a similar response. "I didn't really think we would be nominated, because I didn't even know there was a 'Best Latin' category," she said. "I was under the impression that people had to submit their work. It was a nice and pleasant surprise to see that we were making enough noise for people to start listening."

A singer and multi-instrumentalist in her band, Castellanos was the common link that helped organize the nominees together. "I'm out and about a lot. I've known Beto of Signa for a couple of years. His band opened up for Hello Seahorse! at the Detroit Bar recently and we got to talking about our nominations," she said. "Nancy Sanchez I met at Revolución in Fullerton. We went to play in support of an art event and exchanged CDs. I first met Cat through her old band Mystery Hangup." Castellanos is also quick to note with pride that three of the five nominated bands prominently feature women singer-songwriters - all of whom (Nancy Sanchez, Taller Sur, ¡Aparato!) found themselves in the printed pages of the Weekly last year!

Now that the "Best Latin" musicians have banded together for a special showcase at Santa Ana's The American Barbershop, they promise more than just good music. "First of all,  it's going to be fun," Gudiño says. "There's going to be different bands and styles. There will be a spirit of unity." Castellanos also notes that the effort lends itself to a brighter future beyond the OCMA's. "If we don't have bands that we can play with here in OC, then we have to bring musicians down from Los Angeles to fill a show," she says. She and her musical compatriots see this event as an opportunity to construct a more cohesive local Latin Alternative scene here at home.

There are even rehearsals going on now to crystallize that sentiment within the Santa Ana concert itself. "There might be some cross-collaborative efforts at the show," Castellanos hints, musing once more about possibilities to come.

"I hope this will be a good start overall to begin performing, playing and sharing a stage together."

¡Aparato!, Taller Sur, Signa, and Nancy Sanchez perform at The American Barber Shop, 320 E. 4th St. Santa Ana, Sat., Feb. 26th, 9 p.m. $10 suggested donation.


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