Song Review: La Santa Cecilia’s "El Hielo (Ice)"

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There are an estimated 2.8 million immigrants living in the U.S. Many left their home countries in hopes of a better future and in pursuit of the illusive “American Dream.” These immigrants are part of a shadow workforce that faces daily barriers, live under persecution and with constant fear of being deported just to provide for their families. On their moving new single, “El Hielo (Ice),” La Santa Cecilia brings into the limelight some of the people that strive to survive, day in and day out. The tragically beautiful and melancholic track uses some of these stories as inspiration to address this poignant issue in a melodious way.

The lyrics are personal and were inspired by three people close to the band. Take the story of Eva, who is inspired by La Marisoul’s mom who is a housekeeper herself. She represents the plight that many domestic workers face, always fearful that one little mistake could potentially get them deported. Jose was a taxi driver in his homeland that now tends to lush gardens and commutes to work without a driver’s license. His story represents those who had better jobs in their home countries as well as those who drive around risking being pulled over and deported. Martha’s story is inspired by a good friend of the band who was brought to the U.S. when she was just a child and has been adamant about pursuing higher education despite the obstacles she has faced. Her story represents the thousands of Dreamers (Dream Act applicants) that due to their immigrant status face an uphill battle but are making their dreams come true.

She represents the plight that many domestic workers face, always

fearful that one little mistake could potentially get them deported.

The chorus addresses the stories of families that have been divided by deportations at the hands of the Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE). One of the most moving visuals of the lyrics is the line about children crying at school when they realize that their mom is not coming to pick them up. It states that ICE is on the loose and one never knows when your number is up. Some stay here, the other stays there. This is what happens when you go out to make a living.

The catchy track features La Marisoul’s beautifully soothing vocals that are accompanied by a bossa-nova inspired plucked guitar, swaying accordion arrangements and subtle hand-clapping. If it wasn’t for the lyrics you could easily mistake this song as light-hearted lullaby. The real beauty of the song is its simplicity and honest storytelling. La Santa Cecilia could have easily made this song sound gloomy and preachy but instead they use a lively rhythm to reflect a reality of life in the U.S.
Prepare to grab your tissue, you just may need it.

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Download “El Hielo” below: