Los Cenzontles with Julian Gonzalez
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Los Cenzontles with Julian Gonzalez
El Pasajero: Traditional Mariachi Vol. II
Los Cenzontles Mexican Arts Center (www.loscenzontles.com)

A non-profit cultural organization sponsoring an after-school program teaching traditional music and fostering cultural pride, Los Cenzontles [the mockingbirds] Mexican Arts Center of Northern California gives its name to this lively folk string quartet (two violins, vihuela, guitarrón) and dynamic female vocal duo singing in Spanish. Orchestrated by violinist and singer Julian Gonzalez, with several worthy self-released CDs behind them, on El Pasajero (the passenger) Los Cenzontles take on the traditional (pre-brass, string band) mariachi repertoire, with an upbeat mix of canción ranchera, corrido and son abajeño. Dispensing with the dramatic flourishes of the large brass mariachi ensembles that today dominate the genre, by uniting two generations of artists and revisiting the form's essential folk roots, El Pasajero holds out the promise of a revitalized form of cultural expression attuned to the trans-frontier social realities of Mexican-descent peoples in the contemporary United States. - Michael Stone

CD available from the artists: www.loscenzontles.com

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