“Orkesta Mendoza is one of the best live bands out there. Their music delves into a myriad of directions, rhythms and moods, big band orchestrations mixed with lo-fi electronica, vocals en Español together with moving instrumentals. ‘‘Vamos a Guarachar’ is epic and soulful, it captures that positive spirit of the Southwest”—Joey Burns, Calexico
Born in Nogales, Arizona, raised in Nogales, Sonora, multi-instrumentalist and band-leader Sergio Mendoza grew up listening to the Mexican regional styles jostling for headspace in a young, music-mad mind—cumbia mainly, but mambo, rancheras and mariachi too. The border is always a fierce arena of exchange, both commercial and cultural, and so there was American music too.
At one point ‘rock and roll, the classics’, as Mendoza himself deadpans, seemed to win out and he stopped playing those ‘Latin styles’ for a good decade and a half. The return to those sounds was a strong one in 2012’s Mambo Mexicano, co-produced by Mendozaand Joey Burns of Calexico—a band for which Mendoza has become an increasingly integral touringand recording member. While that record had a studied air, tentative in parts, ¡Vamos A Guarachar! is another beast entirely: by turns raucous, tender and plain serious fun, it also bears a robust electronic edge, a keen pop sensibility and all the hallmarks of Mendoza’s love of 60s rock, with the closing track sure to be included if anyone decides to update the Nuggets collection for the 21st century. This is round about way of saying that it appears to have everything, but never too much of anything. Focused, fierce and beautifully executed by a superbly drilled set of musicians, it is a record that fully matches the band’s explosive live performances.