Coffeehouse hosts release party for local band

Deep-rooted soul defines sound, feel of Los Cenzontles

By Magali Mercado, Staff Writer

Los Cenzontles, which translates from Nahuati as “The Mockingbirds,” released a new album Oct 13, titled  “Alma Campirana.”

To promote their album release the group held an album release party at Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley on Saturday.

The group has already released more than 20 albums, documentaries and videos recording their music. They are known for being in touch with their Mexican roots and using traditional Mexican and modern instruments.

The band consists of four members: Eugene Rodriguez, Emiliano Rodriguez, Fabiola Trujillo and Lucia Rodriguez. They have taken a different direction with their new album.

The album is traditional; it embraces traditional Mexican music and culture. The style of the album is a mixture of songs that are known as rancheras and corridos. Music that is known as ranchera is traditional Mexican folk music that is most likely performed by mariachi band or a solo artist. Corridos are narrative songs that can be poetic. They can be about oppression, hardships and the daily life of people. This gives the album a classic feel.

In a press release, vocalist Lucia Rodriquez said, “The lifestyle that created this music from Mexico’s countryside is disappearing. Fabiola and I grew up with these rancheras and corridos.”

There are 10 songs on the album. The songs on the album are classic stories and songs being retold by Los Cenzontles and given a unique twist.

With the song “La Rielera” a story of the Mexican Revolution turned into a corridor. The fast upbeat guitars are what really grab the listener’s attention right away. 

The song “El Asesino” is a corridor composed by Felipe Valdez Leal, and is a classic that has been recorded by many artists. It’s a story about love and murder. It is about a man who is called “the murderer” who is being looked for by law officials because he killed his lover. She made a fool out of him even though he loved her. It is a dramatic song though it does not seem that way because of its slower tempo of the beat.

“El Povorete” has a ranchera style to it. The band accomplishes this sound by using mariachi style instruments, like the guitar called the vihuela, 12-string guitars, and a guitara de golpe.

The song “Ojitos Verdez,” which translates to green eyes, is one of the more favorable upbeat songs of the album. Pepe Albarra originally composed the song and was made a huge success when sung by the Mexican duet group Las Palomas. The song is about a person wondering where his/her lover with green eyes is.

It is important to know Spanish in order to understand the songs because they are all sung in Spanish. It is the women of the group who sing the songs. Their voices are synced perfectly and create beautiful harmonies.

Spanish is not needed to enjoy the Mexican country-style beats.

The album is interesting but if the band had composed more of the songs it would have made the album more creative and authentic.