Where music meets art: Café Tacvba and Santa Cecilia join L.A. Phil to kick off PST LA/LA

Lead singer Ruben Albarran of the Mexican rock band Cafe Tacvba, performing at Coachella in 2013.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

When Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, the Getty-funded exhibition series devoted to Latino and Latin American art, kicks off this fall, it will be with a bang. More specifically, with a celebratory concert announced Wednesday featuring the Grammy-winning Mexican rock band Café Tacvba, L.A. roots rockers La Santa Cecilia and Chilean singer-songwriter Mon Laferte.

This concert, set to take place Sept. 17 at the Hollywood Bowl, will be followed by other Latino and Latin American musical performances — including a 10-day festival, CDMX, dedicated to the Mexico City music scene organized by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, as well as three other orchestral performances that will feature the L.A. Phil with Café Tacvba (pronounced Tacuba) and Mexican vocalist Natalia Lafourcade. A four-day Cuban music program at Los Angeles’ Music Center will feature jazz and dance, and a hybrid visual arts-meets-music performance is being organized by historian and 2016 MacArthur fellow Josh Kun of USC.

The performances will be funded, in part, by $1.2 million in grants from the Getty Foundation — and will be presented in conjunction with the dozens of exhibitions across more than 70 Southern California institutions that will comprise PST LA/LA, as the series is known.


“It is one of the ways in which we wanted to broaden the span over the first Pacific Standard Time,” says Deborah Marrow, director of the Getty Foundation. “The first Pacific Standard Time featured an amazing diverse group of artists in one city — Los Angeles — in one short time span. Now we have all of these countries and time periods represented, and so much of it is intertwined with performing arts categories that we thought, ‘Let’s support a program of performance.’ ”

La Santa Cecilia. From left: Bassist Alex Bendana, vocalist La Marisoul, drummer Miguel Ramirez and accordionist Jose Carlos.
La Santa Cecilia. From left: Bassist Alex Bendana, vocalist La Marisoul, drummer Miguel Ramirez and accordionist Jose Carlos.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times )

The CDMX festival, devoted to Mexico City’s pop, folk and film music, will feature specially commissioned works by up-and-coming composers.

“It’s been a focus of ours to feature Latin American artists — especially with Gustavo Dudamel as our director,” says Meghan Martineau, associate director of artistic planning at the L.A. Phil. “And Mexico City has really stood out as a really incredible place right now in terms of the music community: The classical composers, the multitudes of orchestras, the musicians — so it made sense to focus on that.”

The festival at the Music Center, titled “Cuba: Antes, Ahora” (Cuba: Then, Now), will feature a performance by the Cuba-based Malpaso Dance Company, in collaboration with Grammy-winning jazz composer Arturo O’Farrill, as well as a late-night event that will include performances by rapper and poet Telmary Diaz and percussionist Yissy Garcia.

Kun’s program, “Musical Interventions,” presented by USC’s Annenberg School of Communications, is a series of six public events exploring the ways in which Los Angeles and Latin American musical sounds have intersected over the decades.


This will include a tribute to the Latin American composers of Hollywood by the Mexican Institute of Sound at the Getty Center, a sound installation by award-winning Mexican composer Guillermo Galindo at the Huntington Library and a performance by experimental soul rockers Chicano Batman, who will be creating a piece inspired by the paintings of Carlos Alamaraz at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

“It’s really exciting,” says Marrow. “The performing arts component, it will make this Pacific Standard Time very different.”

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