REVIEW: Las Cafeteras

This group boldly marched on the Michigan Theater stage yelling and rallying everyone in the audience to start standing, clapping and dancing. They did this while strumming a tune on their jarna jarocha’s (an instrument that looks like a blend between a guitar and a ukelele). I stayed sitting because I prefer when bands run on and immediately start playing great music that ignites everyone to naturally stand, or after proving their worth rally everyone to stand up. However, my bad mood quickly changed when the music started playing because it was very fun and upbeat music. Music that would be very hard to be upset while listening too.

This concert had a lot of ups and downs for me. Which I will explain in the following paragraphs.

I enjoyed the lead male singer’s voice. It was harsh, nasally, and whiney, but all in a good way.  It was very unique and could be the voice of a TV shows opening song. He also acted as the hype man of the group. After seeing a couple of latino shows this year, I realize that it is custom for the audience to break out into big applause and start hollering when the singer yells a phrase they like. He did a good job at this role I assume because even though I don’t understand Spanish, he got the people sitting behind me very exuberant.

I was not a big fan of the lead females singers voice, but only in the context of the music. She has a very beautiful voice, it is airy, fragile, and soft, which is great, but didn’t fit the style of the music well and didn’t sound good when harmonizing with the other singers. I even had trouble hearing her sometimes.  Granted there were songs, always the slower and stiller ones, where her voice sounded beautiful. These were actually by far my favorite songs of the night.

There were some good songs. Whenever the lead female singer was singing a song with the lyrics “I Love You”, which mentioned above also happened to be the slower songs, it was very pleasant and beautiful. They played an Afro-mexican song that had great instrumentals. My personal favorite song had a Spanish name that translated to “The Most Beautiful Ugly Person” or “Long Live the Ugly”. My favorite musician of the night was the lead jarana player. He had the ability to play extremely fast, and was the only one who offered some instrumental variety. My favorite scene was when the lead singer started tap dancing to one of the songs while simultaneously showing the lyrics in sign language to the audience.

Most of the songs sounded like they had the exact same tune, background, and beat. It was like I was listening to one song for most of the night which got a little boring. I also did not enjoy the rapping, which dominated the second half of the performance. I thought it sounded childish with the tuney music in the background, and none of the English lyrics were very clever, it was all pretty cliche. It felt like the whole thing was a freestyle they came up with on the spot (to their credit some of it was).

As both an up and down for me, the group was very political. They talked/sang about migration, healthcare for all, Trayvon Martin and other victims of racism and police brutality, environmental issues, and our current presidency. It was mainly just generic chanter, which I didn’t care to hear unless it directly related to a song. I did really enjoy one line that was said: “We got to get organized, how can we get organized if we can’t dance together”.

Ronald McTrump

I am a senior studying business and I have lots of travelling experience in Asia. I am very pessimistic and opinionated about life, but art brings me happiness and I hope my pessimism isn't apparent in my reviews, for the sake of the artists!

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