As the ethnic make-up of America changes, so does its music. And with a passel of influences under his belt, Rana Santacruz makes music for that new America.
Santacruz’s solo debut Chicavasco - released March 9, 2010- is the product of a vibrant musical vision that was shaped by growing up in Mexico City and coming of age in a musical world informed by MTV, where all styles of music are accessible like never before.
Santacruz writes and sings the songs, as well as playing accordion and a variety of stringed instruments. To flesh out his tunes, he enlisted a cast of a dozen versatile musicians who add a folk and neo-classical flare with violin, cello, sax and jaw harp as well as traditional Mexican mariachi instruments like guitarrón, vihuela, trumpet and tuba.
The instrumentation, richness of the sound, and delicate touch are reminiscent of Tucson’s Calexico but with a softer edge and sharper focus. Often singing in a lilting falsetto, the melodies soar, inbued with the kind of passion found in Cuban son and Portuguese fado, while the music takes you not only north and south of the border, but across the Atlantic and back.
Born and raised in Mexico City, Santacruz had considerable success with his rock en español band La Catrina. Courted by a number of labels, the group signed with a major label in Mexico in the late ’90s. His first experience with the music industry was a classic crash-and-burn; after recording in Mexico, Madrid and Miami, the CD failed to deliver a quick radio hit and his demoralized group soon disbanded.
In 2002, setting his sights well beyond the insular Mexican pop scene, Santacruz made the move from Mexico City to New York City. Living in Brooklyn and drawing on influences including the golden age of Mexican cinema, the magical realism novels of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, musicians like Tom Waits, the Smiths and the Pogues, and American bluegrass, Santacruz set about recording a collection of songs assimilating those disparate influences.
To date, Santacruz has won over American audiences of all stripes at showcases like Austin’s South by Southwest, New York’s Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival and Los Angeles’ J. Paul Getty Museum. Santacruz’s music is indeed music for a new America, if not a new world. And regardless of your Spanish language skills, you will understand every nuance of emotion in these grooves.
Accordionist and singer/songwriter Rana Santacruz, whose music has been called "Mexican Bluegrass" or "Irish Mariachi," mixes the sounds of Ireland, Appalachia, New Orleans, and Mexico. Part of Celebrate Mexico 2010.