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 Latinx music. Though the music itself is a contemporary interpretation of traditional Latinx 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 womxn’s sexual empowerment; and “No te enojes,” a sensual yet firm rejection of the hypocrisies of gender roles and power dynamics.
La Mera Candelaria’s newest album,“Si Reina,” released in February of 2020, stays true to, and expands upon, the message of their previous releases. The album is a ballad to woman everywhere. Ranging from a sassy critique of male entitlement; to a tender, queer-centric love ballad; to a bold declaration of the vibrancy of female sexuality, “Si reina,” as an album, will play an important role in the critical movement for the decolonization/detoxification of Latin music, Latina womanhood, and queer Latinx voices.
The project was launched in summer 2017 by Bay Area musical transplant, Stephani "La Mera" Candelaria, a queer third-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." In the past two years, La Mera Candelaria has already shared the stage with the late Mexican cumbia legend Celso Piña and border legends Los Tigres del Norte, and performed on such prestigious stages as LA City Hall's annual Grito celebration, the LA County Fair, San Diego PRIDE, and the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival's opening night gala.
La Mera Candelaria has released 2 EPs, "La Mera Candelaria” (2017) and “No Te Enojes” (2018), as well as a full-length album, "Si Reina," (2020), all of which are available to stream and purchase on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, YouTube, BandCamp, Amazon, and more.
The rotating roster of musicians includes: Vincenzo de la Rossa (bass) Tony Sauza (bass), Joaquin Zamudio (bass), Mario Leal (bass), Abel Canel (timbales), Anita Garay (congas/timbales), Jhonathan Angulo (congas), Pedro Rosales, (congas), Justin Inbar (tres), Angelo Salazar (tres), and Ivan Flores (accordion).