“Creative, socially conscious...it’s perfect.”- National Public Radio
At a time when the lines between true and false have been insidiously blurred, Las Cafeteras are the real deal. A product and reflection of the diverse, hard-working, politically active neighborhood of East Los Angeles, Las Cafeteras present songs of activism and celebration on their second studio album Tastes Like L.A., which will be released on April 14. The album offers a powerful counterpoint to the current dominant news narrative, while encouraging people of all backgrounds to cherish both what makes them unique and what unites them all. With open hearts and open minds, Las Cafeteras offer a timely and affirmative statement to confront a troublesome time.
Over the past decade, Las Cafeteras have demonstrated that in art as in life, borders are meant to be crossed. They have collaborated with indie darlings Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Mexican rock icons Cafe Tacuba, Colombian pop star Juanes, singer and songwriter John Legend, hip hop activist Talib Kweli, and even the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Las Cafeteras has brought their infectious energy, positive spirit and inspirational messages to rapturous audiences at Lincoln Center in New York, Montreal Jazz Fest, and Art Basel in Miami among many other high-profile venues.
Las Cafeteras' new album, Tastes Like L.A., reflects the band’s diverse influences and attempts to represent the multiple layers of life in Los Angeles’ Eastside. Recorded at Bedrock Studios in Echo Park, Los Angeles, Tastes Like L.A includes songs about longing for home, love, joy, community and the fight for a better world. Citing inspiration from Nina Simone's quote, "It is an artist's duty to reflect the times", Las Cafeteras use their music to tell stories about the streets where they were raised, the communities they live in today and their dreams for the world they hope to see in the future.
The album's first single "If I Was President" will be released fittingly on President's Day, February 20th. This bilingual song blending Mexican folk traditions with urban hip hop flavors and bluntly political discourse serves as the perfect summation of what Las Cafeteras is all about.
"We wanted to engage people’s imaginations about the future of this country," notes the band. "Everyone knows what’s wrong, but not many know what to do. We hope to push people to think about themselves as presidents of their homes, schools, workplaces and to create the kind of country they would like to see starting from the local and moving outward.”
Las Cafeteras will perform the song across the US during their CD release tour, which brings them to San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Chicago, New York and other major cities. “The President says he wants to build a wall. Las Cafeteras want to build bridges,” says band member Denise Carlos. The song will be released along with an interactive video that encourages the public to submit their own verses answering the question: "What would you do if you were president?" Audio stems will also be made available allowing remixers everywhere to make their own version of the song.
Like modern-day Woody Guthries, Las Cafeteras sing socially charged stories supported by a live performance that combines dance and dialogue. With their infectious and uplifting spirit, Las Cafeteras demonstrates that while the struggle for peace, justice and equality is a serious matter, it doesn’t mean that you can't have a good time along the way. If anything, the joy they bring to listeners offers an inspirational soundtrack for the march towards a better future. If Las Cafeteras have their way, it will be a journey overflowing with dance, song and smiles.