La Santa Cecilia Keeps GrowingBy: José Manuel Simián
La Santa Cecilia's major-label debut, Treinta Días, was released a few months ago, but the summer only made it grow in stature. Not only because the band appeared on FX’s The Bridge, one of the season’s hottest TV shows, or because it was announced that singer La Marisoul would be a guest on the upcoming album of Elvis Costello with the Roots. Treinta Días kept cutting deeper with every additional spin.
Simply put, Treinta Días confirms that La Santa Cecilia is one of the most interesting bands in the country. They’re not inventing anything new here, but their blend of rancheras, cumbia, pop and bolero ends up working as a soundboard for Latino USA and the nation at large. Take “Monedita,” for instance, a song that moves from vallenato to Latin pop with the same ease that the singer alternates between English and Spanish. It could have been recorded by a Top 40 star, but La Santa Cecilia gives it a weight that few artists could achieve. Or listen to the way that La Marisoul’s voice blends with that of guest star Elvis Costello on the loungy, jazzy “Losing Game.”
As if that were not enough, the set’s closing track, “Ice El Hielo,” is one of the gentlest songs about the need for immigration reform ever put to tape. Over a leaping bossa guitar, the voice of La Marisoul sings not with anger, but with a gentle sneer all over her face. As she tells the stories of her characters—immigrants who never give up—her smoky voice bending around the verses, she’s not demanding change. She’s just waiting for the inevitable to happen, for the world to catch up.
Treinta Días may be only eight tracks long, but they are eight essential tracks. Get them while they’re hot.