Feliz Día De La Independencia 2010: Mexican Pop/Rock Primer II

By Arturo R. García

Apologies for the one-day delay, but after the positive response to last year’s Mexican Independence Day post, here’ s another look at some Mexican artists worth keeping track of.

Kicking things off is perhaps the most glaring omission from last year’s list – and I apologize for that – Lila Downs, the Oaxacan-Minnesotan who was nominated for an Academy Award for her contribution to the film Frida. This year, Downs released Live A FIP, a concert album recorded in Paris. So it’s appropriate we spotlight her onstage here, singing “Paloma Negra.”

A couple of old-school rock en español bands also released new albums this year. First up, this is Jaguares, which was itself born from the ashes of another influential Mexican group, Caifanes.

After surviving a break-up in 1997, the group reformed and got back on the road. Their latest release, 45, is their first album in three years. But “No Dejes Que” might still be their most enduring song.

Also back on the scene is El Gran Silencio, who first appeared in the ’90s. The Monterrey natives – same town Kinky’s from, incidentally – just released Chuntaros Radio Power.

If you’re big on Ozomatli, these guys might just be up your alley. For an introduction to their up-tempo style, though, check out “Super Riddim Internacional”:

We touched on Hello Seahorse! briefly last year, but their continued development – they’re garnered both critical praise and awards aplenty -  is worth paying another round of respect. They’ve also got a new album out, in Lejos No Tan Lejos, which includes this track, “Me Has Olvidado”:

We’ll close out the primary portion of this year’s edition with quite possibly the longest-running Mexican rock group in existence, El Tri, who’ve been playing since 1968(!)

The band’s success, though, is bittersweet: as once noted by the Los Angeles Times, the band’s sales have been undermined by piracy to the extent that it cost them their recording contract. That said, Alex Lora and company are still touring – it just wrapped up a swing through the midwest U.S. – and doesn’t show any signs of stopping. Here’s “Las Piedras Rodantes,” which was featured on the 4 Decadas En Vivo live album:

Also Recommended:
Ceci Bastida: Former vocalist for Tijuana NO! and bandmate for Julieta Venegas is now stepping out on her own.
Ely Guerra: I first became aware of her through her appearance on La Ley’s Unplugged album a few years back, but Guerra has emerged as a confident soloist in her own right. Currently on tour in the U.S.
Orlando: The Tijuana native is already attracting attention for his debut album, Capullo.
Carla Morrison: Another Tijuanense on the upswing, got on NPR’s radar for her dreamy-voiced single, “Compartir.”
Sala De Espera: Jose Galvan’s Rock En Español show based out of Los Angeles has become a solid spot for keeping up on what’s out there.