Just as the U.S. has the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the U.K. has Radiohead, Mexico has Café Tacvba, a band that boldly reinvents itself with every album.—Isabella Raygoza for Rolling Stone
My adult children have followed Café Tacvba attending many concerts in or near San Francisco over the years and have always raved about them. I have been intrigued but as most of you out there with kids will know, you can’t crash their party. However, on a recent occasion I watched my grandkids for two concerts in a row and was honored with an invitation to join my son and daughter for the last performance of Café Tacvba’s San Francisco tour as a reward for my babysitting and because it was, after all, Grandparents Day! I promised to behave myself and not get lost in the mosh pit and Sunday night was on my way with them to the Independent Theater in the City of San Francisco.
Let me catch you up. Café Tacvba is a super popular band out of Mexico City. They started out together in the early 90’s, a time when “rock en español” was just coming of age, playing in their garage in Ciudad Satélite a suburb of Mexico City. Soon they were playing clubs and other events in their often outrageous style of Alternative rock, Latin rock and Norteño music. While changing players and themes as they moved along the original group composed of Rubén Albarrán, Emmanuel del Real, and brothers Enrique Rangel and Joselo Rangel created a solid force that tours and records proficiently and leaves their audiences begging for more. Sunday nights concert was at a relatively small venue creating an intimacy not possible in big auditoriums. I had done my homework and knew somewhat what to expect but was never the less blown away by this energetic and simpático group! The individual members compose incredible pieces and together their ebullience carries the audience to such a level of enthusiasm that it is difficult to come down to earth as they wrap up with abrazos and greetings for all the crowd. I am definitely a fan!
The group has a legacy of eight studio albums including several Grammy winners. Each CD has been a discovery of new territory and mode of expression. They say they have felt free to express exactly what they are feeling regardless of trends.
Their newest CD Jei beibi (Hey Baby) released in May of 2017, according to Ruben signifies the desire to reach out and communicate. The music “…touches on everything from reggae and rock balladry to dubstep and Beach Boys–style harmonies” according to Rolling Stone Magazine.
In an interview by Rolling Stone with Rangel on the eve of their lengthy 2017 North American tour promoting the CD he said he enjoyed the reaction of all Latino people at the concerts “being part of this ritual of identity where people see Café Tacvba as something Mexican, as a representation of the Mexican” This is a very modern group that is nevertheless tied to the traditions of the indigenous peoples of Mexico. Their respect for different cultures and styles of living worldwide colors their music. Rangel says he sometimes feels that there’s not much decision making on their part, it is “like there’s something that leads us to this [music]. Something beyond.”
The group will move on to play in Seattle, WA, Portland, OR and 18 more US and Canadian cities finishing up their 2018 US Tour at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, AZ just outside of Phoenix in late October. Let’s hope for a Mexico tour very soon!
By Christie Seeley