Las Cafeteras visits Eastern with cultural music


Rob Le Cates

Las Cafeteras members, from left, drummer Jose Guadalupe Cruz Cano, vocalist Denise Carlos, vocalist Hector Paul Flores, keys player Jesus Gonzalez Ramirez and base player Moisès Baqueiro take bows after an encore of their performance in the Dvorak Concert Hall Thursday night.

Ryan Meyer, Multimedia Reporter

Las Cafeteras, an energetic live band from Los Angeles, took the stage in the Dvorak Concert Hall on Thursday night for the last Doudna premier event of the 2021-22 school year.  

The six-piece band played a 12-song set and returned for a two-song, fast-paced encore. They played a variety of instruments, primarily stringed instruments resembling guitars in appearance that hailed from a style of Mexican folk music called Son Jarocho, according to the event’s program. 

The group is composed of Denise Carlos on vocals, jarana primera and zapateado, Hector Flores on vocals and zapateado, Jorge Mijangos on requinto jarocho, vocals and jarana, Moises Baqueiro on bass, Jesus Gonzalez Ramirez on the keyboard and Jose Guadalupe Cruz Cano on the drums.  

Drums were not the only thing providing rhythm, however, as percussive dancing by both Flores and Carlos on a wooden box also contributed to Ramirez’s beats.  

After taking the stage to their own version of “Still D.R.E.” by Dr. Dre, the setlist saw Las Cafeteras play a new song that has yet to be released and also what Flores referred to as an oldies medley.  

April Pickett, a senior music open studies major, said she enjoyed the concert. 

“I had fun with it,” Pickett said. “It was definitely a different culture to experience.” 

Isaac Navarro, a junior music performance major, said seeing a Latin group made him feel represented. 

“I enjoyed it a lot,” Navarro said. “I was glad… It was like my first time seeing Latin performers here so that was really cool to see.” 

Las Cafeteras did a workshop earlier in the day Thursday, and Carlos said she appreciates a student audience because of their honesty and desire to learn and said that workshops are an opportunity to be in conversation together.  

“I think students are the best audience because they’re hungry,” Carlos said. “One, they’re going through this moment of deciding who they are in the world and how they show up in the world. And two, it’s also a time where they’re very expressive and question a lot and critique a lot.” 

Of all the messages Las Cafeteras delivered, Carlos said the most important was that someone can only tell their own story, and that she’s still learning how to do just that, in a career that has spanned over a decade.  

“If there’s one thing I’d like folks to take away; it’s that the world absolutely needs your story to be told,” Carlos said. “Because all I can do is tell my own story.” 

Carlos said she hopes Las Cafeteras return to play at Eastern and that Thursday’s performance was part of a time period where the world is still emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic with a desire for live music. 

“I hope we can come back and meet more people,” Carlos said. “And what an interesting time that we’re living in, coming back from a quarantine, people still in the trauma of a pandemic. But you can see people are still thirsty and hungry for joy and for connection and for music and dancing, and let’s do that, let’s do that together.”


Ryan Meyer can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].