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|Latinos in London Magazine on 2017-03-17|
Vacilando '68 recordings presents : Los Hijos De La Montaña - Sergio Mendoza wound up 2016 with two entries in Rolling Stone magazine's top 10 Latin Albums of the year, whilst throughout the year regularly touring those albums (by Mexrrissey and Orkesta Mendoza respectively) as well as travelling the globe as part of Calexico ...he's been a busy boy.
A couple of years previously he recorded this album with Portland based Luz Elena Mendoza, backed up by many of his Tucson compadres and produced by Los Lobos' Steve Berlin.
Snuck out quietly as a digital only release through Cosmica Records in the U.S., it garnered some splendid reviews and found particular favour with NPR who made it one of their picks of the year ...
“What producer Steve Berlin has effectively done is pluck Luz Elena Mendoza out of the lush, wooded Pacific Northwest and place her into Sergio's version of the hippest Southwest cantina you'll ever find. Being a fan of each Mendoza, I hear both of them in these tracks, but the result is one of those "sum is greater than the parts" situations. Luz Elena's voice resonates alongside Sergio's multi-instrumental prowess as she sings poetic lyrics about love and life.”.
Held back until 2017 for its debut vinyl release, the album combines complex indie pop with lush n’ moody Latin traditions - teeming with ornate brass sections, strings, synths, and guitars, it’s joyful, mournful, uplifting and contemplative, its primary language (Spanish) no barrier to the range of emotions captured in these
supremely crafted songs.
The original legend of Los Hijos De La Montaña (The Children Of The Mountain) - part of Mexican folk tradition passed on from generation to generation since the time of the Aztec Empire - is one of love thwarted, but ultimately overcome, and surpassing any kind of human physical form, represented by two majestic volcanoes looking out over Mexico City.
The stories of Sergio and Luz may not be the stuff of legend, but rather the kind of itinerant culture absorbing travelogues that when translated through music inevitably make for some transcendent sounds.... born and raised either side of the US/Mexico border in the dual-identity town of Nogales, but later relocating to
Tucson, Sergio first joined the ranks of Calexico on 2012’s 'Algiers' album and by 2015's 'Edge Of The Sun' was also co-writing and producing. In amongst those releases came the first release by his big band Orkesta Mendoza and like any good Tucsonan a multitude of collaborations with the likes of DeVotchKa, Howe Gelb, Marianne Dissard and Brian Lopez, as well as Mexican Institute Of Sound, which later resulted in the Mexrrissey project. Whilst Luz, of Mexican parentage, born in San Francisco but raised in Southern Oregon formed Y La Bamba in Portland with whom she has released three albums whilst also recording as part of Los Tiburones and collaborating with Edna Vazquez and Lila Downs and featuring as ‘the face’ of Portland Travel.
Together and with the help of their illustrious friends they have concocted an album that does justice to the legend and should over time weave its way into a new generation’s own rich tapestry of story-telling.
~ the eponymously titled ‘Los Hijos De La Montaña’ vinyl LP will be released March 31st , 2017 on Vacilando ’68 Recordings - cat #: V68-19 ~