We can't think of a better way to honor President's Day than premiering 'If I Was President', the first single off Las Cafeteras' forthcoming album. The song starts with a prelude of the Mexican son jarocho song 'Señor Presidente' and then flows into a bilingual hip hop-folk fusion, with lyrics that make you dream, think, come up with alternatives.
Listen to the song - and download it for free - here:
The Los Angeles band, which started in 2005, has been playing 'If I Was President' on tour for the past few years. After the elections, the band - formed by José Cano, Denise Carlos, David and Hector Flores, Leah Rose Gallegos and Daniel French - decided this would be the first single of their new album Tastes Like L.A.
"On tour when we play this song we ask people "What would you do if you were president?" And folks tell us! It's a 'think big' question", says band member Daniel. "We hand the mic around, folks say what they'd do, and the crowd goes wild! What's interesting is sometimes people grab the mic and freeze up, and you realize they never thought about it. Like a light bulb comes on & something shifts. And all of a sudden a whole room is cheering them on."
Las Cafeteras are also working on an interactive music video that will allow for anyone to remix and create their own versions of the song and video.
Tastes Like L.A. will be self-released in April. Produced by Eugene Toale, it comes five years after Las Cafeteras' debut album, It's Time. The album will include guests musicians such as Grammy-nominated bassist Gloria Estrada, bassist Moises Baquiero from Mariachi Manchester, son jarocho maestro Jorge Mijangos, and Stewart Cole from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes on trumpet.
In their almost a decade as a band, Las Cafeteras' mantra has always been about breaking down borders, about being proud of their Chicano identities and immigrant roots and celebrating America's multiculturalism. In 2017, with burgeoning chants of "no ban, no wall" nationwide, Las Cafeteras' grassroots mission takes on a self-fulfilling urgency. This only makes Las Cafeteras want to work harder in taking their music, and message, further. "Borders have manifested, not only in the physical, but also in the interpersonal. What happened? I think we have to ask ourselves how much we are really transcending borders that have separated us from other communities", says Daniel. "This is also true for the work Cafeteras is doing. We intentionally collaborate with artists and organizations in different scenes and communities at home and on tour. Part of music's gift is how it brings together people across different walks of life. "
Often on the road, Las Cafeteras just wrapped a show at the Folk Alliance International Conference in Kansas City and will be touring through March and April, with some summer dates already announced.
"Now, more than ever we need folks to get creative and try something different. Now is the time to stand up, step up and expect more" sayd Daniel. "And maybe, instead of waiting for the president to do something for us, we'll go inaugurate our own projects and dreams in the world. Doing something, anything concrete in our homes, with family, friends, neighbors. Take whatever youre passionate about and do something about it."