So it’s perhaps no surprise that musicians from Mexico City have formed what’s proving to be an immensely popular tribute act, Mexrrissey – and they’re coming to Cambridge Corn Exchange this month. The band of traditional musicians is led by Camilo Lara, the force inside Mexican Institute of Sound, together with Sergio Mendoza (Orkesta Mendoza and Calexico). Andy Wood, director of the La Linea Festival in London, approached Camilo Lara with the initial idea to put together Mexrrissey.
Andy says: “It just felt like time. I had a sense of the feeling there was for Morrissey in Mexico and the way that his music could connect with so much in Mexican music. It was time to return the love and Camilo was the man who could round up the right posse of dirty pretty things.”
Camilo continues: “I always thought that there were these invisible lines between what Morrissey and Manchester represents and what Mexico City and Mexican pop culture has. And if these are tiny coincidences, we’re making them a little bit bigger on this occasion with a concert of broken hearts and forgotten dreams.”
Sergio Mendoza made the arrangements and admits they’ve taken a risk with their unique take on such classic songs. One starting point was to either find a song with a Mexican connection or something that Camilo and Sergio could imagine recasting with a Mexican flavour. Another starting point was to simply select a song that they were big fans of, such as Vicar in a Tutu, Everyday is Like Sunday or Bigmouth Strikes Again.
Says Camilo: “I’m sure people will be amazed that the songs can go into these directions of cumbia and boleros and sound actually as if they were written in that style. Though it’s the words, the playful turns of phrase, and the sighs that are the trickiest to translate into Spanish.”
Taking us on a journey of love, loss and longing is an incredible team of big hitters from Mexico’s rock and pop world, who immediately said yes to Mexrrissey’s invitation. On board is underground legend Chetes (Zurtok) on guitar, Jay De La Cueva (Moderatto /Titán) on bass, Café Tacuba’s violin player Alejandro Flores, Alex Escobar on trumpet (Twin Tones), Ricardo Najera on drums (Furland) and Camilo Lara adding his trademark sampling and electronics. Ceci Bastida (Tijuana No!) plays keyboards, and vocals are shared between four of the band, who also add other flavours live from a range of traditional instruments. Viva Mexrrissey – Ven Armaggedon!
The gig takes place on 29th April at Cambridge Corn Exchange, 7.30pm, and tickets are £17.50. To complete the Mexican flavour, Nanna Mexico will be there serving free corn chips, salsa and guacamole (vegetarian, of course – just in case the man himself should stop by).