By Erik Luna
With a perfect blend of traditional Son Jarocho music from Veracruz, spoken word, poetry and Afro-beat, Las Cafeteras’ new and first studio album, “It’s Time” brings together an old but refreshing sound that brings people together to dance.
The energy given out from this seven-piece band is apparent from their first song, “El Chuchumbe” to their last, “Trabajador Trabajadora”.
This English and Spanish speaking band, which features former East Los Angeles College students, uses traditional instruments such as jaranas, a marimbol, cajones, quijada and a requinto guitar.
This album brings together a politically-charged message and sets it to music, sending the message of equality, community appreciation, unity and love.
Their most politically infused song is a spoken word piece named “It’s Movement Time,” in which vocalist and jarana player Hector Flores discusses the plight of the Chicano and the African-American.
Jarana player and vocalist Daniel French also brings the lyrical flow in spoken word to center stage in the piece “Trabajador Trabajadora,” in which he gives thanks to everyone for the inspiration for the band, which culminates in a very powerful piece.
One distinguishing aspect from this ten-song album is Flores’ voice, which brings the feel of the ’50s Pachuco movement and cuts through songs with an enthusiastic fling.
Each instrument that is used is crucial to the success of every song, whether it’s the backing of the marimbol, which gives the song it’s bass line, or the jaranas and requinto.
The music created by these instruments mixes perfectly to give a fine-tuned vessel for the singers Leah Gallegos and Denise Carlos’ vibrant voices to flow on.
Gallegos, whose voice is strong and sharp, contrasts Carlos’ voice, which is more soft and soothing, creating well balanced and powerful vocals.
Former ELAC student David Flores uses his Requinto to lead most of the songs on this album. Its usage works perfectly with every song, giving it that little something extra.
The album is interspersed with fast paced and colorful songs, like “La Bamba Rebelde,” which samples the traditional folk song, “La Bamba,” to slow and calming songs like “Luna Lovers.”
“Luna Lovers,” uses Carlos’ sultry and ethereal voice to pull you into the song and Gallegos carries you into the poetic imagery of the night. French, who also sings in the song, carries himself well with the femme fatales.
The inside layout shows the band’s humor. When you take out the disc, there is a panoramic picture of them recreating the famous Beatles album cover of “Abbey Road.”
“It’s Time” was recorded at Bedrock Studios and runs for approximately 50 minutes. It was officially released to the public last Friday at the band’s CD release party in Mariachi Plaza.