Anastasia Tsioulcas writes at NPR Music for “Deceptive Cadence” (http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecadence). Widely published as a writer on both classical and world music, she is the former North America editor for Gramophone Magazine and the classical music columnist for Billboard. She has also been an on-air contributor to many public radio programs, including WNYC’s Soundcheck, Minnesota Public Radio’s The Savvy Traveler, Public Radio International’s Weekend America, and the BBC’s The World.
Imagine the 1950s big-band mambo sound of Perez Prado refracted through the lens of the 21st-century Latino experience in the U.S. That gives just a tiny clue to what's in store during a set with this Arizona band, led by keyboardist, guitarist and vocalist Sergio Mendoza. The group also features the rich baritone of Mexican vocalist Salvador Duran, framed by guitar, keyboard, percussion, drums and, of course, brass.
Though Mendoza bills the project as "indie mambo," he pours so much more into the pot, from psychedelic cumbia to splashes of merengue and ranchera — stretching each staple genre (along with a surprising cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk") like taffy. As a result, the music isn't a museum-quality reproduction of eras past, but instead a living, breathing thing. Making their New York debut in this show, the Orkesta closed out the 2014 edition of globalFEST, and as the crowd crammed into Webster Hall's tiny basement space to dance, the room fairly glowed with the band's shimmering heat.
- "Mario Tambien Come (Mario Also Eats)"
- "La Cucharita (Little Spoon)"
- "Mambo Dukesa"
- "Toma Tres (Take Three)"
- "Amada Amante (Lovely Lover)"
- "Niño Perdido (Lost Boy)"
- "La Rienda (The Reins)"
- "Traicionera (Treasons)"