A new day
Members of La Santa Cecilia discuss their Grammy win and music at the Grammy Museum Wednesday night
By Bliss Bowen 02/26/2014
On Thursday, Jan. 23, La Santa Cecilia was the much anticipated highlight of a solid pre-Grammy party lineup that also featured Jesca Hoop and Yuna. West LA’s venerable Village Studios (more famously known as the Village Recorder) thrummed with the sound of musicians performing, smartly suited industry veterans networking, and women in Kim Kardashian heels clomping up and down stairs — most of whom swarmed the ballroom when La Santa Cecilia started pounding out its cumbia-soul-rock beat from the stage. Jaded execs smiled like fanboys as the amiable foursome’s infectious energy and dynamic frontwoman Marisol Hernandez’s soulful belt thrilled the room.
By that Monday, Jan. 27, La Santa Cecilia was in headlines across the nation, and beyond. The night before, the hometown heroes had inspired cheers around Los Angeles when the group won the Grammy Award for Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album for the joyful “Treinta Días.” An exuberant acceptance speech added a page to the nation’s ongoing discussion regarding immigration.
The band had already lit up YouTube and the Internet with a video for its song “El Hielo (ICE),” which employed undocumented workers in its depiction of three immigrants struggling in LA. Its rather polite call for immigration reform was spelled out more explicitly in Hernandez’s speech: “Thank you to our family, our friends, our beautiful City of Angels. We’re proud to be children of immigrant parents, and we dedicate this award to the more than 11 million undocumented people that live and work really hard in this country and that still need to live a more dignified life in this country. Viva la musica, migration is beautiful! Gracias!”
The political complexities of immigration reform continue to be hashed out ad nauseum, but they pale beside its human dimensions. For instance, 30-year-old accordionist Jose “Pepe” Carlos came to the United States at age 6 with his Oaxacan parents; a beneficiary of the DREAM Act, Carlos has been trying to obtain citizenship for years. The day after the Grammys, he was set to meet his lawyer to discuss immigration parole.
All that has positioned La Santa Cecilia as conversation starters in what is shaping up to be an eventful year. The eclectic foursome recently announced its inclusion in this summer’s Bonnaroo festival lineup, and released “Cumbia Morada,” the lead single from their new album “Someday New,” which also features “El Hielo (ICE)” and a Spanglish take on the Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever.” The celebration party continues Wednesday night, when members sit down long enough for a Q&A with Grammy Foundation/MusiCares Vice President Scott Goldman at the Grammy Museum, before performing a short set. n
The Drop and Amoeba Music present La Santa Cecilia at the Grammy Museum, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Downtown LA, 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 5; $20. Info: (213) 765-6803. lasantacecilia.com, grammymuseum.org