From a flamenco bar in downtown Madrid to NPR's Tiny Desk - a courageous and exhilirating journey for London singer Jenny Ball and the Mexicats
European Tour October incl. Manchester – Retro Bar – 16th // London – The Garage – 18th TIX
Red hot, flamenco-pop protagonists from Mexico via Beckenham return to the fold after an incredible two years touring, playing some of the biggest festivals in the US and finding themselves at the NPR studios in Washington recording a live session for the perenially influential showcase, Tiny Desk.
Fiesta Ancestral is their brand new record and perhaps their most accesible to date with Spanish and English lyrics playfully meshing together sung by Jenny Ball, lead singer and trumpeter from Beckenham in London, who is clearly relishing her role as a front woman for a Latin pop outfit based in Latin Amercian's biggest city, Mexico City (D.F.). Musically the album flourishes in typical Mexicats style, flirting with Latin styles like maricachi, bomba and more modern Latin pop ballads as well as playing with gipsy jazz and of course, the sensual flamenco from Spain.
Jenny has lived in Mexico City for the last seven years having met members of the Mexicats at one of Madrid's flamenco clubs back in 2008. She now lives in a barrio just outside of the city with her two dogs. Her determination and courage to up sticks from her home in Beckenham, in a country she couldn't speak a word of, is remarkable. Not just because Mexico is well known as a tough country in terms of violence but because she took the bull by the horns, with just a trumpet in hand, and with a massive dose of self-belief, steadfast focus and a some luck, made Mexico her home whilst simultaneously leading a band that has become a pop music tour de force in Mexico, the US and now, with a European tour currently underway, in Europe. With no understanding of the Spanish language when she arrived in Mexico, Jenny is now fluent without even taking a lesson. On Fiesta Ancestral, she has written the lyrics to various tracks in both Spanish and English.
A little history lesson
It was 2008 when singer and trumpet player Jenny Ball was visiting Madrid doing some low-key performances and happened upon a flamenco club, the Tablao Las Carboneras. Enjoying her evening, she realised she had cut her heel and found help from the waiter, Alfonso Acosta, who brought her a plaster to relieve her woes. At this point Alfonso and the club's sound technician Luis Diaz were already jamming and gigging in rocksteady, ska and punk bands at local Madrid hangouts. So when they realised Jenny was also a musician based in Beckenham, London they eagerly swapped contact details and that, they thought, was probably that.
Like most occurrences in the Mexicats regalia of 'unbelievable' stories, this unplanned event would lead to the most unlikely partnership. The band have lived and upped sticks across three different countries, been swindled by record industry managers and been banned by UK immigration all of which would provide the perfect underlay for the group to deliver their debut album in 2012 from Mexico City - which would later go gold in Mexico after selling 30,000 copies. No mean feat in 2012!
The debut UK single from the album is 'Bailando Con Las Farolas' in which shares vocals responsibilities with guest Spanish singer La Kanka for a high octane and feel-good slice of Spanish guitar inflected gypsy-jazz.
Jenny Ball | Lead voice, trumpet and accoustic guitar
Alfonso Acosta (Pantera) | Spanish guitar, backing vocals
David Gonzales Bernados | Cajon, voice
Luis Diaz (Icho) | Double Bass