Being political in music isn’t a foreign concept. All sorts of articulations of revolt and unrest have manifested throughout time: from Jazz’s post World War chaos to blues’ constant complaints as dissonance. But few acts, say maybe Lila Downs, might embody a full Chicano enthused-identity and attitude. Manu Chao talks immigrant politics and Outernational is rapping the same tune, but LA’s Las Cafeteras are doing something different. They take a hodgepodge of sounds and mix up confusion around the Southwest controversies while spinning a positive anthem, weaved from a traditional and wholesome place.
At this year’s LAMC, we worked diligently to interview and document, film and capture the who’s who and the what’s what of our global compatriots in the press room. One band kept traveling from media outlet to media outlet, jamming away on their instruments in a jovial and unexpected interruption from our business-oriented productions. In every other interview, I’d pause and turn to the happy-noise coming from across the room and marvel, unaware of Las Cafeteras’ lyrics or intention. But, here you have it. Pay attention. Las Cafeteras, accidentally, like all beautiful happenings, set the soundtrack for the conference, and perhaps for the movement with “La Bamba Rebelde.”