Concert review

Two fresh takes on Latin pop-rock at Revolution Live

La Santa Cecelia and Jesse & Joy, two captivating Mexican-rooted bands with innovative though very different takes on Latin pop-rock, played Fort Lauderdale Sunday night, and even competing with the NBA finals they attracted several hundred ardent fans to Revolution Live.

Fronted by the charismatic and joyously eccentric singer La Marisoul, Los Angeles-based Santa Cecelia is the more original of the two, blending the melodic richness and thudding rhythms of Mexican regional music with blues, rock and a punchy energy reminiscent of zany ’80s punk-pop.

Costumed as a Technicolor Mexicana punk-party princess in cat’s-eye glasses and leopard-print dress over baby-blue crinoline, the passionate Marisoul showed off her heart-ripping ranchera diva/Janis Joplin-esque voice in powerhouse ballads like Falling.

She and accordionist Jose “Pepe” Carlos have terrific chemistry, shimmying back and forth on the rollicking Monedita (about how money can’t buy happiness), his accordion weaving rhythmic and harmonic patterns around her voice. Bassist Alex Bendana played a funky, thudding backbeat that evoked norteño-style brass.

Santa Cecelia showed its fun-loving streak in a cover of Soft Cell’s Tainted Love, and was heartbreakingly sincere on ICE (El Hielo), its ballad about the injustices of deportation and the immigration system.

On the strength of 2011’s Con quien se queda el perro? (Who gets the dog?) and two other albums, the Mexico City brother-sister duo of Jesse & Joy are the rare Latin music newcomers to be recognized in the commercial mainstream, with four Latin Grammys to their credit.

By turns husky, shimmery and sweetly powerful, Joy’s voice was the center of the band, and her easy confidence, fresh face and flowing hippie hair made her a relaxed contrast to the stereotypical seductive, highly groomed Latina singer. The crowd, which was filled with women, responded enthusiastically, singing along to most of the songs.

While Jesse & Joy don’t play traditional Mexican music, neither are they radicals a la Café Tacuba and the Mexican rock rebels of the ’90s nor electronica experimenters like groups from Monterey or Tijuana. Instead, they play fresh and adroit pop, and apart from the lush loveliness of their melodies, there’s little to mark it as Mexican. The performance featured the siblings on acoustic guitar with additional musicians on electric bass and guitar, drums, occasional piano and robust trombone.

Almost all of their compositions are love songs, most of the heartbroken variety, but they add a wry sensibility as on Con quien se queda el perro?, where the question of who gets the dog is the poignant accent to a division of appliances and CDs. Flowery lyrics to emotionally extravagant love songs have a dose of earnest introspection.

They’re not entirely convincing when they try to rock hard, but Jesse & Joy are plenty engaging and assured in their own vision of a new style of Mexican pop.

Read more Music & Nightlife stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category