Don’t come to see Orchestra Pacifico Tropical if you don’t want to dance. This eleven-member cumbia rhythm driven drum and horn band will be joined by rapper/singer Karma Rivera, hip-hop beat-master Lisa Vasquez and Noche Libre, a Latinx Femme DJ Collective, whose members include She-Shreds founder Fabi Reyna (DJ Suavecito) and Y La Bamba front-woman Luz Elena Mendoza (DJ Lucha). In fact, all of the acts tonight have BIPOC Latinx Femme indentifying homies in them. Karma Rivera is puertorriqueña and Lisa Vasquez and is chicana. Papi Fimbres of OPT says, “I want to showcase the diversity of our hometown and let people know that this city doesn’t HAVE to be the whitest city on the West Coast.”
Orchestra Pacifico Tropical is a genuine labor of love. Getting eleven people together to practice is hard enough; with members moonlighting in innumerable local bands, OPT really is a collaborative effort of individuals whose passion for traditional Latinx music brings them together every so often to make all of us dance. That fact that they infuse this music with their own psychedelic flair keeps it truly dynamic and interesting. I love seeing this band perform; from their energetic front people to the bass and drums dancing in-step with the horns, they are as fun to watch as they are to listen to. While Cinco de Mayo isn’t widely observed in Mexico, that does not mean you should sleep on this opportunity to celebrate some local Latinx culture with some truly gifted performers.
For an additional treat, check out this remix of Rio Frio from their 2014 album of the same name by their bass player, Quiet Countries.
[OPT Plays at Mississippi Studios this Sunday 5/5. Tickets]