Café Con Pan have released their latest CD entitled Nuevos Caminos a Santiago (New Roads to Santiago). This exciting duo plays son jarocho music from Veracruz, Mexico. They explore the roots of the genre and build upon its traditional sound by incorporating a variety of styles from Latin America and beyond. Café Con Pan are Alec Dempster and Kali Niño, who have been playing together since 2004. They met in Kali’s hometown of Santiago Tuxtla in 1997, where they learned their craft. The town is a magical place nestled in the folds of a lush volcanic mountain landscape and surrounded by countless rural enclaves where son jarocho has been a tradition for over three hundred years. Kali has been singing and dancing since she was a child. Growing up around the masters of the genre, she learned from the very best. Her passionate singing and zapateado dancing are accompanied by Alec’s contrasting vocals and skilled instrumentation.
Alec and Kali moved to Toronto two years ago and struggled to find any musicians playing traditional Mexican son. Bassist Chris Banks and cellist Nick Storring helped the duo get settled as Kali wrote new lyrics for traditional songs from the homeland she longed for. The result is Nuevos Caminos a Santiago, a tribute to Santiago Tuxtla and its musical history. For this record, Café Con Pan enlisted the help of musicians from Canada, Mexico, Chile, the USA and Iran. La Marisoul lays down some powerful vocals and joins Alec and Kali on a couple of beautiful songs. This impressive album shows how son jarocho can stay traditional while mixing in double bass, cello and violin. Alec and Kali are preserving this rich music and culture through research, collaboration, visual arts, teaching, and producing. Listen to a sample of the CD above or at bandcamp, where you can also purchase the album which comes with original artwork by Alec. Don’t miss Nuevos Caminos a Santiago and to learn more about Alec and Kali’s musical odyssey, watch the documentary Making Sones and Memories.