About La mera Candelaria
La Mera Candelaria is a female-fronted, cumbia-son solo project based in Los Angeles, CA. Stephani "La Mera" Candelaria's unique style of “kitchen cumbia” is light-hearted, humble, and unique in its back-to-the-basics feel. The sound quality and style are reminiscent of those cumbia and son classics you grew up dancing to in the kitchen with your abuela while she cooked on Sunday morning; the type of music that plays in backyard, barefoot family gatherings; or the distant sounds that drift into the dining room from the kitchen of your favorite barrio restaurant. La Mera Candelaria’s music and style itself is a vivacious mixture of Colombian-inspired cumbia with a Son Cubano twist; sassy, humorous, gender-role defying lyrics; and a humble, countryside sabór!
The project was launched in summer 2017 by Bay Area musical transplant, Stephani "La Mera" Candelaria, who has been performing as front-woman/vocalist since 2008-- her previous groups include Tambores de Colombia, La Misa Negra, Candelaria, and she has been featured as a collaborator/guest vocalist with Discos Resaca, Buyepongo, Viento Callejero, Tone Irie, and La Junta Collective. She has also ventured into the realm of musical theater, most recently starring in Luis Valdez' recent production of "Zoot Suit" at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles (2017). After moving to Los Angeles, Candelaria quickly put together a new project focused around her own original material, drawing from her experience as a Bay Area cumbia singer, and her childhood memories of going to rehearsals and gigs with her mother, Leticia Candelaria, a salsa singer. The project's combination of Colombian-style cumbia with Caribbean salsa is what makes it so unique-- while the rhythms and bass lines suggest classic cumbia, the group utilizes a Puerto Rican cuatro (or sometimes a Cuban tres), as the lead instrument, lending to the group's unmistakable earthy, Caribbean sabór. This brand-new take on Latin dance music has quickly gained the attention of venues and other entertainers up and down the West Coast. Though still relatively new to the scene, La Mera Candelaria has already shared the stage with Mexican cumbia legend Celso Piña, Bay Area heavyweights Bang Data, and Los Angeles visionary NKRiot, and has quickly built a reputation up and down the West Coast as an infectious, powerhouse, and ultimately, unforgettable performance.
La Mera Candelaria released her first, self-titled EP in August of 2017 (available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, and more), and is currently in production for a 2nd EP (to be released summer 2018). The rotating roster of musicians includes: Tony Sauza (bass), Abel Canel (timbales), Anita Garay (congas), Giovanni Verduzco (cuatro), Greg Hernandez (cuatro), John Villalobos (tres), and Ivan Flores (accordion).