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Mendoza founded his Orkesta in Tucson, Ariz., in 2009. (Ebru Yildiz for NPR)

Sergio Mendoza y La Orkesta: globalFEST 2014

Jan 16, 2014

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Mexican vocalist Salvador Duran's rich baritone was at the front and center of Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta at New York City's Webster Hall during globalFEST on Jan. 12, 2014. Mendoza's concept is a band that meshes 1950s-style mambo with psychedelic cumbia and a romantic Mexican style -- all expertly delivered with stop-on-a-dime timing. Mexican vocalist Salvador Duran's rich baritone was at the front and center of Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta at New York City's Webster Hall during globalFEST on January 12, 2014.

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Imagine the 1950s big-band mambo sound of Perez Prado refracted through the lens of the 21st-century Latino experience in the U.S. That gives just a tiny clue to what's in store during a set with this Arizona band, led by keyboardist, guitarist and vocalist Sergio Mendoza. The group also features the rich baritone of Mexican vocalist Salvador Duran, framed by guitar, keyboard, percussion, drums and, of course, brass.

Though Mendoza bills the project as "indie mambo," he pours so much more into the pot, from psychedelic cumbia to splashes of merengue and ranchera — stretching each staple genre (along with a surprising cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk") like taffy. As a result, the music isn't a museum-quality reproduction of eras past, but instead a living, breathing thing. Making their New York debut in this show, the Orkesta closed out the 2014 edition of globalFEST, and as the crowd crammed into Webster Hall's tiny basement space to dance, the room fairly glowed with the band's shimmering heat.

SET LIST:

  • "Mario Tambien Come (Mario Also Eats)"
  • "La Cucharita (Little Spoon)"
  • "Mambo Dukesa"
  • "Toma Tres (Take Three)"
  • "Amada Amante (Lovely Lover)"
  • "Nińo Perdido (Lost Boy)"
  • "La Rienda (The Reins)"
  • "Tusk"
  • "Traicionera (Treasons)"
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