La Santa Cecilia Make Some Night Moves With 'Noche y Citas'

Categories: album review
NocheyCitas-1.jpg
La Santa Cecilia
Noche y Citas
Rebeleon Entertainment


With their new EP Noche y Citas, Los Angeles Latin music makers La Santa Cecilia are signed, sealed and delivered. Released by the ambitious new label Rebeleon Entertainment, the band gifts us with four brand-new songs and a remake of an old standard by multi-Grammy award winning producer Sebastian Krys. The collection was released on Tuesday and is available for preview on NPR music's First Listen.



According to Krys, the new songs--"La Negra," "Vengo," "Uzumaki" and "Finita"--off Noche y Citas were recorded live in the studio, all in one day. The approach displays the cohesion of the band, faithfully capturing their infectious energy. "La Negra," the first single, sets the tone at the onset. A cumbia-flavored crowd-pleaser at live shows, the "shake your nalgas" song displays the same spirit on record as Marisoul sings, "Cuando la negra te invita a bailar no le digas no!" ["When the black lady invites you to dance, don't tell her no!"]

Gypsy, jazz, and klezmer influences coalesce in the uptempo "Vengo," which features a duet between Gloria Estrada's electric guitar and the requinto of Jose "Pepe" Carlos. "Uzumaki" is the album's only song with English lyrics (but a Spanglish chorus) and is inspired by a positive dream La Santa Cecilia's singer had after watching a horror film based on the Japanese comic by the same name. Estrada's distorted strums give the song a gritty feel, and the numerous changes throughout the arrangement make for one very intricate track. 

The last new offering off Noche y Citas is "Finita." Sounding very much like a live version of the Gotan Project, Marisoul's vocals are sung with powerful sentimiento, transmitting emotional upheavals of love and betrayal.

Producer Sebastian Krys has a reputation of being a go-to guy when musicians need a change of sound. This influence shines through with La Santa Cecilia in their remake of "El Farol"--the final track of the new album. Transformed into a hypnotic and sultry tango, Krys takes to the keys himself while accordionist Pepe Carlos coaxes gorgeous tones out of his box.

In the end, Noche y Citas displays the same genre-mashing ways La Santa Cecilia is known for, but with a keener focus that sacrifices none of the fun. It's the natural outcome of the band's maturation onstage and in the studio over the years. The rhythm section of drummer Hugo Vargas, upright bassist Alex Bedana and percussionist Miguel "Oso" Ramirez keeps the sounds disciplined and danceable. Marisoul, Estrada and Carlos give the songs off of the new album wonderful melodic charisma. 

La Santa Cecilia--the Mexican patron saint of music--would be more than pleased with the offerings of Noche y Citas.

[Update] 'La Negra' is iTunes' 'Cancion de la Semana
' (translation: free download of the week!)


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