La Santa Cecilia: ‘We Are As American As Apple Pie And Tacos’

La Santa Cecilia. From left, Marisol “La Marisoul” Hernandez, Miguel “Oso” Ramirez, Alex Bendaña, Jose “Pepe” Carlos.

Humberto Howard/Courtesy of the artist



Grammy Award-winning group La Santa Cecilia takes its name from the Catholic saint of musicians. It’s a fitting moniker; as if by divine intervention, the members of the band — Marisol Hernandez, Jose “Pepe” Carlos, Miguel “Oso” Ramirez, and Alex Bendaña — found each other in the sprawl of Los Angeles.

“I met Pepe Carlos on Olvera Street,” lead singer Marisol “La Marisoul” Hernandez recalls. “I was busking with the older musicians — my teachers who I learned all that beautiful, traditional Latin-American music from — and Pepe was busking with his little brother on the other side of the street.”

They formed a connection, and years later Hernandez roped in her friend, Oso, along with Alex Bendaña, to create La Santa Cecilia, a band “where we could make our own music, write about our own experiences [and] experiment with our influences,” she says. Those influences were vast. They heard Mexican accordions and horns in mariachi bands and fused those sounds with bossa nova, jazz and pop.

They came together to act on their individual, forward-thinking visions.

Some of that fusion is showcased on the centerpiece of the band’s self-titled album, out on Oct. 18. The song, “I’ve Been Thinking,” is about a shared, tragic experience.


“Oso, Alex, and I lost our fathers at different times,” Hernandez says. “It was a very big, big, big blow to the band and to us personally. We were all very close to our fathers, and I don’t know if I could go through this without my bandmates. I feel like this united us even more and we needed to write something and let out these feelings.”

La Santa Cecilia’s members have also all been affected to some degree by the recent political climate and the debate surrounding immigration.

Still, for Hernandez, the band’s political messaging brims with hope.

“In La Santa Cecilia, we will always continue to raise, with pride, our flag of love, of where we come from: of being Mexican American, of being from Latin America and being born here in the United States,” Hernandez says. “And whether people like it or not, we are as American as apple pie and tacos.”

Ginger Baker, Superstar Rock Drummer With Cream, Is Dead at 80 ~ NYT

Credit George Stroud/Express, via Getty Images




Ginger Baker, who helped redefine the role of the drums in rock and became a superstar in the process, died on Sunday in a hospital in southeastern England. He was 80.

His family confirmed his death in a post on his official Twitter account.

Mr. Baker drew worldwide attention for his approach to the drums, as sophisticated as it was forceful, when he teamed with the guitarist Eric Clapton and the bassist Jack Bruce in the hugely successful British band Cream in 1966.

[Listen to 15 of Ginger Baker’s essential songs.]

Keith Moon of the Who was more uninhibited; John Bonham of Led Zeppelin — a band formed in 1968, the year Cream broke up — was slicker. But Mr. Baker brought a new level of artistry to his instrument, and he was the first rock drummer to be prominently featured as a soloist and to become a star in his own right. Mr. Clapton praised him as “a fully formed musician” whose “musical capabilities are the full spectrum.”

Both as a member of the ensemble and as a soloist, Mr. Baker captivated audiences and earned the respect of his fellow percussionists with playing that was, as Neil Peart, the drummer with the band Rush, once said, “extrovert, primal and inventive.” Mr. Baker, Mr. Peart added, “set the bar for what rock drumming could be.”

Rio Blanco (Chile) Avalanche Center end of season staff debrief and asado


Director, señor Tim Lane drinking his first glass of water since he was thirteen.


IMG_0186.jpeg Rio Blanco Director of Confusion, Tim Lane, forecaster Colin Mitchell (r rear) and guest lecturer, rŌbert, enjoying Pisco Hour(s) at La Ruca.





Tim using the Center’s confuser pointing out his favorite site, the ESPN sports page.



Avalanche Center debrief with Frank Coffey, Tim Lane and Colin Mitchell in attendance. 



‘Blind Boy’ Mitchell entertaining the 

rotos de nieve with one of his tunes.


Tim with son Gabriel breaking in the new parilla 


Constructed by Masón de piedra principal y diseñador, Colin Mitchell



Henry Purcell, propietario de Ski Portillo with the boys.


Director Lane with visiting profesor, rŌbert waiting for lunch in Portillo


Paul Theroux’s Mexican Journey ~ NYT

Screen Shot 2019-10-02 at 7.35.35 AM.pngAmalia Cruz Martínez, a member of the Zapotec indigenous group, walks towards the town of San Marcos Tlapazola, near Oaxaca. Credit Cesar Rodriguez


Photographs by

  • In the casual opinion of most Americans, I am an old man, and therefore of little account, past my best, fading in a pathetic diminuendo while flashing his AARP card, a gringo in his degringolade. Naturally, I am insulted by this, but out of pride I don’t let my indignation show. My work is my reply, my travel is my defiance.

Sometimes, a single person, met casually on a journey, can be a powerful inspiration. I happened to be in Nogales, Mexico, to talk to migrants — and on that visit I saw a middle-aged woman praying before her meal in a shelter. She was Zapotec, from a mountain village in Oaxaca state, and had left her three young children with her mother, intending to enter the United States and (so she said) become a menial in a hotel somewhere and send money back to her family who were living in poverty. But she had become lost in the desert, and spotted by the Border Patrol, seized and roughed up and dumped in Nogales. The image of her praying did not leave my mind and it strengthened my resolve to take a trip throughout Mexico, but concentrating on Oaxaca, one of the poorest states; and on my trip whenever I felt obstructed or low, I thought of this valiant woman, and moved on.

I studied the map. I had no status except my age, but in a country where the old are respected, that was enough — more than enough.

So I took an improvisational road trip along the border and the length of Mexico, from the frontier to Chiapas, with the kind of excitement I felt as a young man. One of the greatest adventures of my traveling life, this trip on the plain of snakes (as I thought of it) was enlightening and pleasurable, Mexico’s splendors vastly outweighing its miseries, and, though I had been warned repeatedly beforehand, I did not die.

She Can Make That Guitar Talk ~ NPR

September 24, 201910:09 AM ET

Sister Rosetta Tharpe on tour in the U.K. in 1964.Tony Evans/Timelapse Library Ltd/Getty Images 

The country’s most distinguished gospel artist, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, arrived in Washington, D.C., to perform a sold-out concert. Sister Tharpe spoke to your reporter before her sold-out concert, sitting on her customized tour bus parked outside the venue. The bus — which Sister Thorpe believes is the first of its kind! — is emblazoned with the words SISTER ROSETTA THARPE – DECCA RECORDING ARTIST, painted in a bright and distinctive blue script along the side of the bus.

Sister Tharpe and her backing singers, the Rosettes, welcomed your reporter into the bus’ interior. Inside, there are dedicated areas for dressing, eating, and sleeping. The Rosettes eagerly pointed out their dedicated sections of the bus, each featuring a closet and dressing area — no one has to share! Sister Tharpe noted that the line of mirrors running along one side of the bus, to be used for hair and makeup, was inspired by the mirrors installed in the luxurious Richmond, Va. home she shares with her singing partner, “Golden Voice Favorite” Madame Marie Knight, a young singer who was discovered by Sister Tharpe, as well as her mother, Katie Bell Nubin, a noted evangelist from the Church of God In Christ, who got her start at Pastor Robert’s Chicago church.

The atmosphere inside the bus is charming and convivial. But its main purpose is an essential one: It assures that the ladies always have a comfortable and discreet place to prepare for their performances; they artists are able to dine in the bus, allowing them to carry-out food and not waste any time on the road. And the sleeping quarters conveniently allow the ensemble the ability to rest while traveling between concert appearances, especially in parts of the country where no suitable accommodation may be available.

When the troupe arrives at their destination they are met by large, sold out crowds. At a recent concert in Macon, Ga., Abner Jay, a disc jockey on local station WMAZ described the scene: “5,000 tickets were sold, that was the seating capacity. It’s estimated that they turned down 6,000. I had never seen nothing like it or heard nothing like it. Downtown near the auditorium the whole streets were full of people, no cars. People — standing room only — trying to get to the auditorium two and three blocks away. I never seen nothing like it, nowhere.”


While the information above is correct and documented in interviews with people who were there (like the Jordanaires’ Gordon Stoker, who toured with Rosetta Tharpe in the time period she had her bus) published in the late ’40s and early ’50s, this article itself is pure invention — nothing quite like it exists in any historical newspaper archive. It’s hard to comprehend that a successful singer with a truly national profile would be driving through American cities and along highways in a personalized tour bus of her own design — likely the first documented instance of what would become a music business necessity as well as a highly sought-after status symbol for musicians in every genre — without dozens of breathless articles capturing every fabulous detail of the musicians’ surroundings, down to the quality of the finishes. The on-the-bus-with-the-musicians trope would become almost standard in artist profiles 20 years later.

Part of Turning The Tables is reflecting back on the originators, the women who defined the sound of popular music, who didn’t get sufficient credit when they were working and, in many cases — Rosetta Tharpe being high on that list — have not received anywhere near enough credit from researchers, scholars and archivists. She only made it into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018, decades after many musicians who were directly influenced by her were inducted into their rolls.

But let’s imagine a world in which the opposite was true, and she was given her propers.

John Coltrane Took a Detour in 1964. Now It’s a New Album.

“Blue World,” culled from the sessions the saxophonist led for a film soundtrack, is a moment of looking back before he pushed even further ahead.


Credit Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images


John Coltrane’s creative flame was burning at its brightest in 1964. The saxophonist had recently let go of his fixation on complex, layered harmonies, and he would soon pioneer a dry, squalling approach to group improvisation — nearly abandoning Western harmony altogether, and changing the course of jazz history.

Amid the transition, that year he recorded what would be his two most potent albums, “Crescent” and “A Love Supreme.” These works thrive at the crossroads: They are in touch with the driving, cohesive sound that his so-called classic quartet had established, but push into a blazing beyond.

Yet history is not this simple. Even for Coltrane — a symbol of tireless creative momentum, who is said to have never stopped hurtling forward — detours came up.

That spring, Coltrane was approached by Gilles Groulx, a young Canadian filmmaker at work on his first feature, “Le Chat dans le Sac.” Groulx asked his musical hero to record the film’s soundtrack, and to his surprise, Coltrane said yes.