Cuatro Copas, Bohemia en la Finca Altozano is La Santa Cecilia’s quinceañera : NPR

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Los Angeles band La Santa Cecilia are celebrating 15 years together. They recently traveled to an estate in Baja California to record a new album with friends.

Humberto Howard

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Humberto Howard

Los Angeles band La Santa Cecilia are celebrating 15 years together. They recently traveled to an estate in Baja California to record a new album with friends.

Humberto Howard

As the sun sets in Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico’s wine country, the members of Los Angeles band La Santa Cecilia, their close friends and a few special guests gather around a bonfire The band is playing and singing Mexican rancheras, some ballads and boleros or love songs. Lead singer La Marisoul says many of the songs on their new album are part of their personal history, growing up in downtown LA, surrounded by Mexican musicians who taught them how to sing and play.

“I didn’t really learn this music from recordings; I learned it from live musicians playing in the streets,” she says. “Some of these songs are songs that we like to perform from back in the day, before La Santa Cecilia, when we were Marisol y Los Hermanos Carlos, we sang at weekends in Placita, we sang at weddings, at quinceañeras and things like these.”

This is the band’s quinceañera, a festive and joyous celebration of their 15 years together, playing the music they love. The band wanted to do a live recording at a country estate in Baja California for the celebration. Under the music, you can hear the sound of crickets, birds and light wind. The vibe here in the Finca Altozano can best be described as a bohemian night full of music, conversation and some imbibing. Hence the title of the album, Cuatro Copas, Bohemia en la Finca Altozano – Four Drinks, Bohemia in the Altozano Estate.


Guitarist and accordionist Pepe Carlos says the album includes songs from their families.

“Songs that were inherited from our parents while they were listening to them at home,” he says. “Songs like ‘Pescadores de Ensenada’ de Los Cadetes de Linares. We used to listen to all this music at home. So, I think it’s also a bridge between our parents, our roots musically.”

As a band, La Santa Cecilia was an ideal medium for them to experiment with all kinds of American and Latin music. They played everything from rock to cumbia, pop tunes and ballads. And they recorded albums in English, Spanish and Spanglish. La Marisoul says there is nothing like singing songs with friends around the fire.

“I love being on stage, I love being on tour, I love being on the road, I love playing festivals, like Vive Latino and all that stuff,” she says. “But there’s just something about getting together with your friends and just singing music and just enjoying music in its simplest form, you know, with a guitar, con un Mezcalito, and sin mas, no? ”

This album opens a window into the band’s personal life. It’s an idea of ​​how the group flourishes and creates a community, says percussionist Miguel Ramírez. “And it’s really nice to be able to just be, ‘this is who we are, this is how we live, this is what we do for fun, this is what we do for fun,’ and we hope you get to be a part of it through this record”.

The band invited a few guest singers to join them in the recording for this special anniversary celebration. One of the guests was Patricio Hidalgo, an artist “Son Jarocho” from the Gulf of Mexico state of Veracruz. The Grammy-winning musician says he is impressed by the band’s natural ability to play and record music on the “spur of the moment.”

“It’s amazing how the band can be so laid back and play so relaxed,” he says. “Everything you will hear in this recording was done right here, live. There was no such thing as reaching an agreement, a previous rehearsal or a music arrangement.”


Bassist Alex Bendaña says that this album is a testament to the band’s resilience, being together as a family, and making music for 15 years. “I think it’s very rare that bands start in LA and end up with an amazing career,” he says. “Every year was a different experience of evolution in the band or in our individual person. We were always growing together.”

La Santa Cecilia recently played to thousands of adoring fans at Mexico City’s Vive Latino, the country’s largest music festival. Speaking emotionally and tearfully, singer La Marisoul says that after 15 years of trying to connect audiences in Mexico with their music, they are finally getting it. “To feel that love and to feel that appreciation, and that connection with our brothers and our motherland, con México, that makes me feel very proud, very grateful, that I can live this moment and share the -our history with people, now. ”

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