The Latin alternative band La Santa Cecilia and the Yuval Ron Ensemble sound nothing alike. La Santa Cecilia draws from rock, cumbia and jazz, while Ron's group combines music from the Middle East, North Africa and Spain. These musical and cultural differences are exactly why they joined forces for the Voices of L.A. Festival, which is all -about cross-cultural collaboration.
Marisol Hernandez, lead singer of La Santa Cecilia, says the first rehearsal for two bands was a bit awkward: "It's like starting a relationship, a friendship, you know? You're kind of shy and we're kind of all in different sides of the room and then slowly started mixing up when the music started."
Once the bands started jamming, they found their different sounds actually complimented each other. Ron said the different approaches meshed, even though his band played with ancient and acoustic instruments while La Santa Cecilia played with more modern and louder instruments.
"What's really cool for us is to hear La Santa Cecilia play Latin rhythms on top of our Middle Eastern rhythms," Ron said. "And it gives us a whole new feeling to groove and to enjoy our music from the Middle East."
Not only did they find similarities in each other's music, but also in their cultures. They each wanted to connect people from different backgrounds through music and saw the Voices of LA Fest as a perfect way to engage the people of Los Angeles.
Miguel "Oso" Ramirez — percussionist for La Santa Cecilia — says they want Angelenos to be open to exploring the different cultures that make up the diverse city. He used a classic L.A. experience as an example: "If I go from the 110 freeway West and I go to this neighborhood, I can see this, I can smell this, I can taste this, I can listen to this and it can affect me in a positive way."
La Santa Cecilia and the Yuval Ron Ensemble perform Tuesday, August 26th at 7:30 at La Plaza de Cultura y Artes in downtown Los Angeles.