La Santa Cecilia Wows LULAC, First Lady Michelle Obama and Jennifer Lopez with a Multicultural Spin on The Beatles' 'Strawberry Fields' Inspired by Migrant Workers
"I don't think you can better a Beatles song; they are all amazing," said lead singer Marisol "La Marisoul" Hernandez of the Grammy-winning band La Santa Cecilia.
Yet somehow, La Santa Cecilia has managed to do just that, by highlighting the tireless efforts of migrant workers who tend to our very own 'Strawberry Fields' in the United States.
While driving through Central California, the band drew inspiration from the Beatles' 1967 hit "Strawberry Fields Forever," and decided to put its signature spin on it. It's also the second single from La Santa Cecilia's critically-acclaimed new album "Someday New."
"We started playing the song, and one day we started leaving L.A. to play in Bakersfield and we saw the fruit fields and the strawberry fields, and listening to the song on my iPod I thought 'Man, it connected,' seeing all these migrant workers, working for our 'Strawberry Fields Forever.' It was like 'woah,' and you just connect a lyric. It's a trip how a song that was made by these four Brits turned into something that I feel connected to with migrant workers and the beauty of their work," Hernandez said during a recent visit to the GRAMMY Museum.
"I guess it's a way for us to acknowledge their work and for people just to remember where all our amazing fruit comes from, and it's so easy to grab at grocery stores, but it comes from somewhere else, and it's good to acknowledge the people behind the scenes, no?"
On July 10, La Santa Cecilia wowed more than 1,500 Latino leaders, including first lady Michelle Obama and Jennifer Lopez with its rendition of "Strawberry Fields Forever" and Hernandez's take on the National Anthem at the LULAC Unity Luncheon hosted by the National convention of the League of United Latin American Citizens. Teresa Rodríguez, co-host of Univision's "Aquí y Ahora" loved La Santa Cecilia's performance so much that she wanted an encore.
— Universal Musica (@UniversalMusica) July 10, 2014
In conjunction with "Strawberry Fields Forever's" release as a single, La Santa Cecilia made a "bright in style, but serious in message animated video that traces back exactly how the strawberries we enjoy arrived on our tables — likely originating with the hard work of migrant farm workers in the strawberry fields," Universal Music Latino points out. While in the Big Apple, La Santa Cecilia performed at SOB's on July 11, followed by a special Latin Alternative Music Conference performance on July 12 at Central Park's Summerstage — appropriately located near "Strawberry Fields."
Thnxs @theLAMC NYC #SummerStage #CentralPark for an amazing show!!! pic.twitter.com/dnB87YrUxz — La Santa Cecilia (@lasantacecilia) July 12, 2014
"On their [La Santa Cecilia's] reading of The Beatles' 'Strawberry Fields Forever,' a lilting requiento and percussion intro support La Marisoul's smoky croon, but a funky Caribbean groove replaces it and it transforms into a psychedelic cumbia," according to ALL MUSIC, "The album closer is the original version of 'ICE El Hielo' a song about deportation. It connects to The Beatles' tune, in that John Lennon fought deportation from the U.S. himself. He would have understood better than most Anglos."
The L.A.-based, Mexican-American band, who won a 2014 Grammy for Best Latin Rock and Alternative album for "Trenta Dias" (30 Days), is named after the patron saint of musicians. The band also includes accordionist and requintero Jose "Pepe" Carlos, bassist Alex Bendana and percussionist Miguel Ramirez.
Besides highlighting the hard work of migrant workers, La Santa Cecilia is "comprised of immigrant dreamers and the second generation children of immigrants, that has become nationally recognized ambassadors of Los Angeles' young generation of bilingual Latinos." Jose "Pepe" Carlos is an undocumented immigrant and beneficiary of President Obama's deferred action for childhood arrivals, which gave deportation relief to young immigrants brought to the country as children. He was recently featured in the California Endowment's #Health4all campaign.
- La Santa Cecilia (@lasantacecilia) July 8, 2014
"Undocumented immigrants contribute greatly to the prosperity of CA. It's time that CA takes care of its immigrant community," The California Endowment tweeted.
Recently, the band rocked the stages at the Fiesta en la Calle in Sacramento, California, and the Pachanga Latino Music Festival in Austin, Texas, where Latin Post nabbed an exclusive interview with the talented band.
La Santa Cecilia has an affection for both American and traditional music. Its eclectic taste is influenced by a range of artists from Miles Davis to The Beatles, Zeppelin to Janis Joplin, Mercedes Sosa to Ramon Ayala. The band "exemplifies the modern-day creative hybrid of Latin culture, rock and world music" and "draws inspiration from all over the world, utilizing Pan-American rhythms like cumbia, bossa nova, rumba, bolero, tango and jazz and klezmer music."
Check out La Santa Cecilia's cover of "Strawberry Fields Forever" at LULAC 2014.
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