Live Concert Photography: APAP 2017: Orkesta Mendoza and Vox Sambou at DROM 1/7/17
The Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) is a national service, advocacy and membership organization for those within the performing arts such as dance and theater and perhaps more importantly in the case of this site, it’s been an important for those who specialize in “world music.” Along with their annual conference, which features discussion panels, lectures and more, there’s a festival hosted by a handful of music venues across town that feature an incredibly diverse array of artists performing material across a wide range of genres and styles.
Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of months, you probably have come across a couple of posts on the Tucson, AZ-based collective Orkestra Mendoza — in particular, the playful and stomping “Caramelos,” featuring Salvador Duran and the psychedelia cumbia of “Cumbia Volcadora.” Led by its founder and creative mastermind, Nogales, AZ-born, Tucson, AZ-based Sergio Mendoza (vocals, keys, guitar, drums, percussion, programming and horn) and featuring Salvador Duran (vocals), Sean Rogers (bass, vocals), Marco Rosano (sax, clarinet, trombone, keys and guitar), Raul Marques (vocals) and Joe Novelli (lap steel guitar) have developed a reputation for a relentlessly shape shifting sound that draws from the musical traditions of the both sides of the border, as Mendoza grew up listening to cumbia, mambo, rancheras, mariachi, rock ‘n’ roll and pop, and naturally those genres have managed to influence Mendoza, his work with Orkesta Mendoza and the project’s overall sound. Speaking of shape shifting, at several points during the collective’s existence, they’ve managed to go through several sonic departures, focusing on a more rock-leaning sound for several years before 2012’s Mambo Mexicano, which was co-produced by Calexico‘s Joey Burns and was largely considered a return to form for the band. (Interestingly, since then Mendoza has become a frequent touring member of Calexico.)
The collective’s latest effort ¡Vamos A Guarachar! possesses a wild, genre-mashing style featuring enormous tweeter and woofer rocking beats, synths, blasts of organ, twangy country-influenced steel pedal guitar, a bit of mariachi here, a bit of mambo, a bit of cumbia there, a bit of flamenco and a bit of this and that — and it’s done with a mischievous and swaggering fashion, which will remind some folks of JOVM mainstay artist El Dusty. Last month, the Tucson, AZ-based collective headlined a long APAP showcase last month at DROM that also featured Limbé, Haiti-born, Montreal, Quebec-based Vox Sambou.
Arguably, best known as the frontman of world music collective Nomadic Massive,, the charismatic and dynamic, Vox Sambou has also developed a reputation as a solo artist; but both as a solo artist and as a member of Nomadic Massive, Sambou brings attention to injustices both worldwide and within his home country, while also paying tribute to his the proud cultural heritage of his homeland. Sonically speaking Sambou and company’s sound draws from and meshes the variety of sounds across the African Diaspora in an effortless fashion.