When the Chicano conjunto La Santa Cecilia from Los Angeles sings about immigrants, la migra and deportation, the group knows firsthand what the lyrics reprsent.
“It is extremely personal, said bassist Alex Bendaña. “We’re from immigrant families.”
In the group’s new single, “El Hielo (ICE),” La Santa Cecilia sings about real people facing potential discovery and deportation from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE. Hielo is Spanish for ice.
“Lloran los ninos lloran a la salida, lloran al ver que no llegará mama. uno se se queda aqui, otro se queda allá. Eso pasa por salir a trabajar,” is the chorus about the bewildered children whos parents suddenly disappear into government obscurity. "Cry, Children cry when they get out. They cry when mom’s not coming to pick them up. Some of us stay here, others stay there. That happens for going out to make a living.
While the song is softly sung by the group’s lead singer, La Marisoul, “El Hielo” retains its loud message of the torment and uncertainty that many Latinos live in their daily lives.
“It’s telling a story of what’s happening to our families,” said Bedaña.
La Santa Cecilia, which is earning critical reviews for its mix of Chicano folk, Mexican ranchera, other Latin American rhythms and some punk rock. will perform Tuesday at 7 p.m. at El Rialto. Tickets are $10 before the show, $15 at the door. With local artists Santa Pachita, Vox Urbana, Salavdor Duran and Conjunto Imperial.
In addition to La Marisoul and Bendaña, Miguel Ramírez is the percussionist and Jose "Pepe" Carlos plays the accordion and requinto. The group comes from a long line of Los Angeles Chicano groups that have melded Latino roots music and American rock. From Ritchie Valens to Tierra to Los Lobos to Ozomatli to Quetzal, La Santa Cecilia expresses the city’s and its cultural identity and diversity.
“We are great example of bicultural experience, which we are comfortably navigating,” said Ramírez. “We are super proud of our strong love affair with the music of Los Angeles.
La Santa Cecilia is at home with cumbias, rancheras and mariachi horns as it with crackling guitar rock, blues drenched jazz and Jewish klezmer.
“Stylistically we’re all over the place,” Ramírez said.
The group recently performed in the huge South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, and also has performed in New York and México.
This will be La Santa Cecilia’s first Tucson performance.
If you go
La Santa Cecilia with The Santa Pachitas featuring Salvador Duran, Conjunto Imperial and Vox Urbana at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Tickets are $15 at the Rialto or at the door. Note: This is an all-ages show.