About La mera Candelaria
La Mera Candelaria, a woman-fronted, Caribbean salsa/cumbia project based in Los Angeles, CA, has a unique musical style that is a light-hearted, vivacious mixture of tropical rhythms; sassy, humorous lyrics that deliver a powerfully feminist message; and a humble, countryside flavor! The project's combination of coastal Colombian-inspired cumbia with Son Caribeño is what makes it so unique and unforgettable-- while at times the rhythms and bass lines suggest classic cumbia, the group utilizes a Cuban tres as the lead instrument, and dip in and out of classic salsa rhythms, lending to the group's unmistakable earthy, Caribbean sabór. Featuring only live instrumentation and a small line-up, the group's style lends a unique sense of “throwback” to older traditions of Latine music. Though the music itself is a modern interpretation of traditional Latine musical styles, La Mera’s message is as cutting-edge, contemporary, and timely as it gets. A few of their most notable past releases include “Preséntame a tu hermana,” a sassy, danceable anthem for the spectrum of sexuality and women’s sexual empowerment; “No te enojes,” a sensual yet firm rejection of the hypocrisies of gender roles and power dynamics; and "Si Reina," an infectiously rhythmic ballad to womxn everywhere.
La Mera Candelaria’s newest release ,“Florecer,” released in partnership with the Violence Intervention Program on Denim Day 2021, stays true to, and expands upon, the message of their previous releases. The album is a celebration of the dignity and strength of survivors of sexual violence. The three tracks focus on three important aspects of this wider issue: a celebration of the courage to thrive beyond survival, a response to violence against trans bodies, and a call for awareness and action against street harassment of female-presenting folks.
The project was launched in summer 2017 by Bay Area musical transplant, Stephani "La Mera" Candelaria, a queer fourth-generation Xicana, who has been performing as front-woman/vocalist since 2008. Though still relatively new to the LA Latinx music scene, La Mera Candelaria's unique musical style and powerfully feminist content, combined with a dynamic and energetic performance, have already helped the group to build a strong following on the West Coast. Brett Callwood of LA Weekly writes: "Candelaria is a badass. A passionate and “sassy” (her word) performer with biting wit and no-nonsense feminism in the lyrics. She mashes the traditional and contemporary together, resulting in music that crosses the generational gap."
Support from the group's largely queer, Latine, and women-identifying fanbase has taken the music of La Mera to prestigious stages such as Dodgers Stadium, Universal CityWalk, LA City Hall, the LA International Latino Film Festival, and LA County Fair, as well as presented opportunities to share the stage with musical giants including Los Tigres del Norte, Celso Piña, and more.
La Mera Candelaria has released 3 EPs, "La Mera Candelaria” (2017), “No Te Enojes” (2018), and "Florecer" (2021); as well as a full-length album, "Si Reina," (2020), all of which are available to stream and purchase on your favorite music platforms, including:
iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, YouTube, BandCamp, Amazon, and more.
Currently playing with La Mera Candelaria: Stephani Candelaria (lead vocals), Mario Leal (bass), Abel Canel (timbales), Anita Garay (congas/timbales), Justin Inbar (tres), and Erik Garcia (backup vocals).