Blues legend Taj Mahal and master guitarist/multi-instrumentalist David Hidalgo (Los Lobos) have collaborated with Mexican-American roots group Los Cenzontles (pronounced los senn-sont-less) to tell a timely story of hope, struggle and gratitude of the American worker. Traversing traditional Mexican, blues, cumbia and psychedelic rock styles, they create a distinctive, fresh and exciting sound. The November 3 release will be distributed through ADA Distribution.
Taj Mahal is one of the most prominent and influential figures in late 20th century blues and roots music and a two-time Grammy winner. Starting his career more than four decades ago with American blues, he has broadened his artistic scope over the years to include music representing virtually every corner of the world — western Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe and the Hawaiian Islands. In American Horizon, Taj explores the deep connections between his own cultural roots and those of Mexican American traditions.
Best known for his work with three-time Grammy winners Los Lobos, David Hidalgo has a musical trajectory that is broad and deep. As songwriter, vocalist, guitarist, accordionist and keyboardist he has delved into rock, traditional and experimental styles. His productions reflect the intimacy and creativity of Latino music and its place in the American cultural landscape.
Los Cenzontles (The Mockingbirds) are a group of musicians deeply bonded to folk roots while incorporating other styles and genres into their music. With fluid harmonies by Lucina Rodriguez, Fabiola Trujillo and Hugo Arroyo they incorporate a sound of California into everything they record. Their first collaboration with David Hidalgo in 2008, Songs of Wood & Steel, brought the group wider recognition from the press. Vintage Guitar magazine said, "The group has created an album that seamlessly incorporates rock and blues elements into traditional Mexican forms, smacking of neither academia nor compromise."
On American Horizon, Los Cenzontles, David Hidalgo and Taj Mahal share composing credits on this groundbreaking bilingual release. Los Cenzontles founder Eugene Rodriguez served as producer with Hidalgo. He and Hidalgo met when Rodriguez produced Los Lobos' 1995 children's album Papa's Dream, which was nominated for a Grammy.
Los Cenzontles (The Mockingbirds) evolved out of the Los Cenzontles Mexican Arts Center, a community cultural center founded in San Pablo by Eugene Rodriguez in 1989. An innovative group of musicians and dancers that amplifies the roots of Mexican culture, they are led by Rodriguez, who has been schooling them in arcane Mexican folk music styles since their youths. Through numerous CDs and DVD documentaries, Los Cenzontles adds an essential voice to the global conversation among cultural traditions, attracting collaborations with internationally recognized artists like Linda Ronstadt, the Chieftains, Ry Cooder and others. The Chieftains' Paddy Moloney said, "Meeting Los Cenzontles was just like meeting a medieval clan of wonderful musicians from the West Coast of Ireland. The fusion of their music with ours was something that just had to happen. It was inevitable." And Ronstadt enthused, "Los Cenzontles' gutsy rhythms and delightful voices reinvigorated my love of Mexican music."
On Sunday, October 3, Los Cenzontles along with Mahal and Hidalgo will perform before an audience of 18,000 at Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl as part of "¡Bienvenido Gustavo!," a free concert celebrating the L.A. Philharmonic's new director, Gustavo Dudamel. The show will also feature Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Herbie Hancock, as well as the L.A. Phil and others. Tickets were quickly snapped up and are no longer available.