STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
Pepe Carlos is traveling to Fresno, Calif. with his bandmates in La Santa Cecilia.
The 2014 Grammy winners for Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album are touring to share songs from their sixth album, “Buenaventura,” which dropped in February. They’re due to arrive in Wilmington for a show April 15 at World Cafe at the Queen.
La Santa Cecilia’s lead singer, Marisol “La Marisoul” Hernandez, is the focal point when the quartet plays live. “It’s so much (fun) to be on stage with the whole band, particularly Marisoul. It’s amazing how a singer can go on stage every night and just pour her heart out,” said Carlos.
“You can cry. You can laugh. You can dance. You can do everything at our show,” said Carlos, who supplies the Los Angeles-based, Mexican-American band’s accordion sounds.
Accordion is so prevalent in the mix, he said, because La Santa Cecilia’s varied influences include tango and the folk sounds of cumbia, bolero and norteño. “We love so many styles of music. We all have our own tastes. When we’re on the road, whoever’s driving gets to pick the (road trip) music,” he said, mentioning recent selections ranging from bossa nova to Flaco Jiménez, Stevie Ray Vaughan and The Black Keys.
It’s quite apropos considering St. Cecilia is the patron saint of music.
Some of their songs are in English, including unexpected re-workings of U2’s “One” and “Tainted Love” by Gloria Jones/Soft Cell. In 2009, a Spanglish cover of The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields” became necessary, Carlos said, because at that time “we didn’t have enough of our own songs to fill a 45-minute set.” It’s remained in their repertoire ever since.
Their songs have found their way into the TV shows “Weeds” and “The Bridge.”
The Grammy win for the “Treinta Dias” album, according to Carlos, has “opened so many doors for us.” He said much has changed from the days when they first started playing music to make a living to playing for crowds as far away as Argentina and Colombia.
Besides the accordion, Carlos also plays the requinto, a small guitar that’s tuned higher than a regular guitar. The classical acoustic sound of the instrument is associated with romantic Mexican ballads, he said, adding a strong flavor of nostalgia to the music. “During the concert, we have a few songs — I think it’s four songs — (when) I pick up the requinto. It’s exciting to showcase the requinto,” he said.