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DeVotchKa and Orkesta Mendoza are throwing a Tucson Cinco de Mayo fiesta

DeVotchKa and Orkesta Mendoza are throwing a Tucson Cinco de Mayo fiesta

When Tucson musician and band leader Sergio Mendoza thought of putting on a Cinco de Mayo fiesta, he turned to several good friends to help him out.

Mendoza reached out to Joey Burns of Tucson’s Calexico and the band DeVotchKa from Colorado. Mendoza is a frequent collaborator with Calexico and DeVotchKa. And he turned to the recently opened Hotel McCoy, a boutique inn at West Silverlake Road and Interstate 10.

“It’s going to have a barrio fiesta feel,” said Mendoza, the multiinstrumentalist leader of Orkesta Mendoza, a popular retro-mambo, cumbia-rock band.

Consider Sunday’s celebration a coming-out party of sorts for Hotel McCoy which opened last fall, taking over a dumpy west-side freeway motel and brightening it up with colorful art. The daylong family festival begins at 2 p.m. and will feature food trucks, local craft beer and activities for the kiddos, in addition to the music.

Mendoza invited the four-piece DeVotchKa, an instrumental and vocal ensemble, with whom he first collaborated with in 2010 at a HoCo Festival at Tucson’s Hotel Congress.

“We had a lot of things in common,” Mendoza said.

Likewise, including Burns in the Cinco de Mayo fiesta was a natural for Mendoza who often performs and tours with the popular desert indie band. Also on the bill is Adrian Perez and Mariachi Tesoro de Tucson and DJ Butta Fly.

“More than anything we’re looking forward to being together,” said Mendoza.

That Mendoza found time to organize the party is a feat in itself. The Nogales-born musician is also an accomplished producer. He currently is working in his south-side studio on a new recording with the Orkesta, tentatively called “Flor de Piedra.” The new album will bring back Tucson favorite Salvador Duran.

Mendoza is also working with Mexico City-based producer and cumbia mixer Camilo Lara in producing several tracks for the widely popular Los Ángeles Azules from Mexico. Mendoza and Lara, along with Calexico, recently created a winsome collection of songs by the late Mexican heavyweight composer Jose Alfredo Jimenez, featuring well-known Mexican vocalists.

Ernesto Portillo Jr. is editor of La Estrella de Tucsón. He can be reached at 573-4187 or On Twitter: @netopjr.

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