MACUILXOCHITL: "Five Flower". The Aztec god of music and dance. It is actually another name for Xochipilli.
By Francisco H. Ciriza
Saul Hernandez’s plan to fight the same intolerance plaguing so much of today’s world takes quite a different shape compared to the approaches of world leaders. The leader of Mexico City’s Jaguares, arguably one the world’s most important rock bands, has decided to take up instruments, not of war, but rather of the musical type in order to begin a campaign toward mutual respect and solidarity among American music fans.
This Sunday, Hernandez, along with band mates, Alfonso Andre, Cesar Lopez, and Cucho Mer-chan, will take the stage at S.D.S.U.’s Open Air Theater for yet another unprecedented bi-national music event. This concert will be one in a series of three southern California tour stops his band will play with eighties alternative music icon, Morrissey, former front man for England’s The Smiths. Along with other English groups such as The Cure, Depeche Mode, and New Order, The Smiths were highly popular with alternative music fans throughout the eighties before the infamously gloomy lead singer left the band in to pursue a solo career. This will be only the second time that upper tier artists representing English and Spanish speaking countries will join forces for a series of shows. The first time was in 1994, when Jaguares joined forces with English-language rock acts Live and Red Kross for a set of California dates.
Andre recently took time out from work and some play time with his son to speak to La Prensa San Diego from Nashville, TN. The band was finishing mixing its soon to be released all-acoustic album. Andre spoke lucidly about his and the band’s perspectives on the upcoming groundbreaking shows. “Well, we’re all very happy to have this opportunity to work with people from other countries, from other cultures, and who speak other languages. We feel it is very important for this to happen in order for the barriers to be broken down , especially the ones we seem to encounter here in the United States...in other countries such as in Mexico music from the around the world is played and appreciated. Radio stations play Brazilian music, English music, Spanish music, many different languages and that tends to provide people with vistas to various perspectives and experiences.”
Adding to the climate of open-eness and acceptance, some Latino artists and performers have gone to great lengths to entice American English speaking fans, but few have gone the route of Hernandez, Andre, and company. Most seem content to feed the stereotypes and do whatever necessary to access crossover dollars. Jagaures , however, is inlined to artistic integrity and growth. More important than commercial success is the concept of tolerance and respect. Perhaps best representing Jaguares’ attitude is what can be found within Andre’s words as he comented on the Smiths and Morrissey, “Well, they weren’t all that influential for me, but we all realize their work together was crucial to the alternative music movement of the eighties from which we also came. We are honored to have the opportunity to work together with [Morrissey].”
En Breve: Jagaures, Morrissey, and Monterrey’s power pop kings, Jumbo will perform at San Diego State’s Open Air Theater, Sunday, September 15. 6 p.m. 619-220-8497
The Latino Grammy Awards ceremony will be aired September 18, 2002 on at 9 p.m. on CBS