Artist of the month: La Santa Cecilia

Artist of the month: La Santa Cecilia

Julissa Rangel

Based out of Los Angeles, the bicultural band La Santa Cecilia is advocating for immigrant rights while simultaneously encouraging young Chicanos to embrace both sides of their culture.

La Santa Cecilia, named for the patron saint of musicians, was originally formed in 2007. As teenagers, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient José ‘Pepe’ Carlos and lead singer Marisol ‘La Marisoul’ Hernández sang traditional Mexican boleros and rancheras outside of her grandfather’s shop on Olvera Street in Downtown L.A. They then met bassist Alex Bendaña and percussionist Miguel ‘Oso’ Ramirez, who were the last two members to join. The Chicano band, whose genre ranges from traditional Mexican cumbia to jazz, has released music in both English and Spanish as a way to pay homage to their Mexican upbringing in America.

They’ve since released five records, three of which have been nominated for Grammys: their 2014 record “Treinta Dias” winning the Grammy for Best Latin Rock Album. In their acceptance speech for the Grammy, they dedicated their win to the “11 million undocumented people who that live and work really hard…and still need a more dignified life in (the U.S).” The band’s single “Ice El Hielo” has received attention for highlighting the struggles undocumented immigrants face in the workplace and day-to-day life.

‘La Marisouls’ piquant vocals on every song are undoubtedly what make the band so unique and unreal. Throughout the band’s most recent record “Amar y Vivir,” her smoother-than-honey voice can be heard crying, laughing and singing the lyrics to popular songs from artists like Mexican icon Juan Gabriel, Café Tacvba, Consuelo Velasquez and Violet Parra. Each song off the record is accompanied by a video shot in a street, bar or restaurant in Mexico. Watch all of the videos and their previous ones here.

To try to describe the feeling that comes with watching as Ramirez gently drums, Bendaña strums a wooden bass, Carlos passionately fingers the strings of his guitar or accordion (sometimes both depending on the song) and La Marisoul belts out lyrics in both English and Spanish is something that can’t be accomplished in any language.

listen here for our favorite La Santa Cecilia songs!