In Mexico Morrissey has always been a prophet with honor. His songs of love, loss and longing, with powerful imagery and metaphors have found a huge audience and chimed with generations raised on rancheras and mariachis and their singers who were not afraid to cross the line.
Now the love can be returned, with a band made in Mexico City reinventing Morrissey’s songs south of the border. Together they sound like a brass and accordion led combo from the smallest village with the biggest bleeding heart. The first of the gang is Camilo Lara, the force inside Mexican Institute of Sound, who together with Sergio Mendoza (Orkesta Mendoza/Calexico), has put together a team of musical gunslingers from Mexico’s finest bands. Andy Wood, Director of the La Linea Festival in London approached Camilo Lara with the initial idea to put together Mexrrissey. Andy says, “ It just felt like time. I had a sense of the feeling for Morrissey in Mexico and the way that his music could connect with so much in Mexican music. It was time to return the love and Camilo was the man who could round up the right posse of dirty pretty things.”
Camilo takes up the story, “I always thought that there were these invisible lines between what Morrissey and Manchester represents and what Mexico City and Mexican pop culture has. And if these are tiny coincidences, we’re making them a little bit bigger on this occasion with a concert of broken hearts and forgotten dreams.” Sergio Mendoza made the arrangements, “I think we’re taking a really big risk with all these arrangements and the way we’re really flipping these songs.” One starting point was to either find a song with a Mexican connection or something that Camilo and Sergio could imagine recasting with a Mexican flavor. There are some obvious selections like Morrrissey’s paean to the country Mexico. Another starting point was to simply select a song that they were big fans of such as Vicar in a Tutu, Everyday is Like Sunday or Bigmouth Strikes Again. Camilo Lara says “I think for the people that know the songs (which is probably everyone!), I’m sure that they will be amazed that the songs can go into these directions of cumbia and boleros and sound actually as if they were written in that style. Though it’s the words, the playful turns of phrase, and the sighs that are the trickiest to translate into Spanish. Camilo adds “We try to get a glimpse of the poetry in Morrissey’s work and to capture the irony, the anger and the happiness at the same time, that has been a challenge.”
Camilo Lara - Electronics
Jay de la Cueva - Bass
Ricardo Najera - Drums
Liber Teran - Guitar
Ceci Bastida - Keys
Alex Gonzalez - Trumpet
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This performance is supported by Jewel Member Debora Vrana.
Museum of Latin American Art