Hector Flores, seated at right, and his band Las Cafeteras are coming to Field Arts & Events Hall on Saturday night. (photo by Yulissa Mendoza)

Hector Flores, seated at right, and his band Las Cafeteras are coming to Field Arts & Events Hall on Saturday night. (photo by Yulissa Mendoza)

Las Cafeteras to bring musical blend to Field Hall

Group sings in five languages

PORT ANGELES — Hector Flores grew up with soul music and Motown. He loved the mix of Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross and Stevie Wonder — the “sound of young America,” as it was known.

Flores grew up to found a band called Las Cafeteras — the coffee makers — that pours out a blend of dance beats, Mexican folk music and Afro-Latinx rhythms.

This Saturday, Las Cafeteras will take the stage at Field Arts & Events Hall, 201 W. Front St. in Port Angeles, for a 7:30 p.m. concert; tickets start at $15 at fieldhall org.

“The set we have now takes people on a journey,” Flores promised in an interview from Corvallis, Ore., a stop on the band’s tour this week.

Las Cafeteras has just released “A Night in Nepantla,” an ode to the vibrant space between worlds. Nepantla is a Nahuatl word meaning “in the middle,” a place where “emotions, feelings and sounds intersect,” Flores said.

It’s not a place we can literally see, but we’ve all been there, he added.

“We’re not just one thing. We’re not just a dance band. We’re not just a cumbia band, or just a good-looking band, although we are good looking,” quipped Flores, who sings, plays the jarana eight-string guitar and dances the zapateado, a Mexican dance not unlike flamenco.

Zapateado accompanies son jarocho, an Afro-Mexican style of music from the port city of Veracruz. It’s done on a wooden platform, the tarima.

“You become an instrument,” Flores said, adding Las Cafeteras delivers a modern take on zapateado.

His bandmate Denise Carlos also dances and plays the jarana and glockenspiel.

In addition to Flores and Carlos, Las Cafeteras are Jose Cano on drums and percussion, Moises Baqueiro on bass and vocals, Jorge Mijangos on requinto jarocho (a four-string guitar), jarana and vocals, and Jesus Gonzales on keys and vocals.

The band sings in five languages, according to LasCafeteras.com: “English, Spanish, Spanglish, Love and Justice ... and they believe everyone understands at least one of those languages.”

After 10 years together, Las Cafeteras “are the band we’ve always wanted to be,” Flores said.

“We’re playing a style of folk music that’s 400 years old, and we’re also playing music that’s from the future,” he said.

Electronic dance music, soul and jazz flavors are stirred in.

Flores has never been to Port Angeles before now, but he remembers a boyhood trip to Whidbey Island. He has a godmother with family there; “we got on a ferry and went to this island. It was magical,” he said.

Flores hopes to take his audience to a transcendent place Saturday night. Music, when done right, can do that, he said.

When that happens, everyone in the space cries together, sings together, dances together.

“Strap on. We’re going to go for a ride,” he said. “It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be joyful.”

________

Diane Urbani de la Paz is a freelance writer and photographer who lives in Port Townsend.

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