To feel. That feeling of connecting, in the flesh; that chilling sensation of goosebumps when an artist’s heartfelt words hit close to home; that insatiable roar of joy symbolizing the camaraderie that live music so effortlessly creates — these were all the feels at La Santa Cecilia‘s recent concert at the iconic Hollywood Bowl. Even two days later, as I write this, I still feel a pit in my throat as my heart and soul relive what it felt like to return to live music. “Why are my eyes begining to water?,” I asked myself numerous times throughout La Santa Cecilia’s marvelous performance. In fact, I’m asking myself that now! Pero, like, Motherhood has legit turned me into a softie.
We’ve been physically disconnected for too long, divided in every possible way that goes beyond politics. That past year we’ve suffered so much loss — but here we are, getting back to it — and experience joy IRL. For me, one of the most difficult things to deal with from the pandemic, was not being able to fill my heart with the love and admiration live music has always brought me. It’s not just from a working perspective — it goes beyond that — needless to say, I sure do love this work. And I’m thankful to see our live music community thriving again, and repairing pandemic wounds.
Opening up with a beautiful thank you to all the front-line, essential workers who worked tirelessly during the pandemic, La Santa Cecilia conveyed their genuine gratitude to the front-line workers: “What’s up, Los Angeles! Just want to say thank you and welcome to all the front-line workers. This is your show. We love you so much and wanna say thank you will all our hearts and for all your hard work in keeping this city afloat.” Right from the jump, the warmth of support and community was radiating from the Bowl.
Playing for about 90 minutes, La Santa Cecilia had fans clapping and snapping their fingers with their GRAMMY award winning tunes, mixing traditional Mexican ranchera music, cumbia and good ole rock ‘n’ roll. The audience was fixed on the stage and jumbo screens once fellow Angelenos and GRAMMY award winners, Quetzal joined La Santa Cecilia for a vibrant performance of “La Morena.” Quetzal’s Martha Gonzalez delivered her signature zapateado fandanguero, making music with both her tap-dancing feet and hands. It’s always a special treat to see this rhythmic magic live.
Oh, but how the warm tears came down my cheeks when La Marisoul of La Santa Cecilia dropped a flawless “Luz.” Her vocals immaculate with just the beautiful strings from Jose “Pepe” Carlos’ nimble fingers on the guitar sent all the feels into system overload. THIS. This is exactly what my heart was yearning: to feel. To feel all the emotions that live music brings us. The stunning heartfelt ballad hit the spot, and that once long-lost feeling was now soaring through my sangre. Warming every inch of my body while getting lost in the lulling words of La Marisoul.
Despite the emotional embrace that “Luz” delivered, La Santa Cecilia brought us back to the party vibes. Apparently, “algien se la chingo” Marisoul’s mezcalito. The charming vocalist made us laugh as she mentioned that someone swooped on her mezcal while making a set change. Please note: never, nunca, swoop on a woman’s mezcalito — even if you think they’re through.
Songs like “Amar y Vivir” and “Me Verás” enveloped us from start-to-finish, just like La Santa Cecilia’s entire performance. It was pure bliss to dance, smile and enjoy the live music. Closing out with a some of the best from La Santa Cecilia, including “Ella Me Enamoró” and “La Negra” — the sonorous, lush tracks had a muy feliz Hollywood Bowl dancing in and out of their seats. Even my toddler and husband were on the floor dancing up a storm. It was an absolute joyous moment to say the least, and the perfect entry back into concert life.
You can catch La Santa Cecilia live at the Observatory in Santa Ana and the House of Blues San Diego this October. Also, Quetzal will be performing a free show at the Skirball this August.
Be sure to check out all the upcoming shows at the Hollywood Bowl!
Words: Sandra Burciaga Olinger