Pasatono Orquesta

Cascada de Flores opens

Wednesday, December 17, 2014, 8:00 pm
(doors open at 7:00 pm)

rescuing and reinterpreting Mexican folk music

$23 advance / $25 door

Purchase tickets online
December 17 8:00 pm

Pasatono OrquestraThe Pasatono Orquesta, recently featured on NPR’s First Listen and PRI’s The World, is a large ensemble of multi-taskers – musicians and academics, ethnomusicologists and entertainers – with an abiding interest in the native folk music of the Mixtec community of central Mexico. Their debut album, Maroma, is named for the vintage Mexican circus music that string bands of the past two centuries played to accompany solo circus performers who traveled from village to village in the Mexican states of Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Pueblo. In these rural outposts, the big-tent circuses were pared down to a single clown who told jokes, juggled, performed light acrobatics, and even recited poetry. The village musicians provided accompaniment, maroma music, with influences from Africa, Europe, and Dixieland, along with elements of polka, paso doble, danzon, and mambo.

The mission of the group is not only to seek out and perform traditional Mexican folk music, but also to reinterpret it from the perspective of 21st century Oaxacans and to compose new music that carries on the tradition. Ruben Luengas is the group’s artistic director and composer. Other musicians sing and play violin, banjo, bass, guitar, clarinet, and horns. Their sound is joyous and mournful, ecstatic and other worldly. To hear them is to travel to another place and time, where, in the flickering light, magic happens!


Cascada de Flores specializes in achingly beautiful songs from Latin America ’s golden age, including Cuban canciones de bolero to fill your heart to bursting, Mexican rancheras to break it, and Cuban guarachas that make you want to jump up and dance. At the heart of the music is the gorgeous voice of Arwen Lawrence and the expressive guitar of Jorge Liceaga. Together they create a wonderfully lush, intimate atmosphere. Their latest album, Radio Flor, is as “a musical love letter to the Golden Age of radio, when songs reigned and a melody grabbed your heart for a lifetime.” The San Francisco Chronicle has called their music “delightfully upbeat, mournful, whimsical, and wistful.” “Cascada de Flores explores the musical traditions of Mexico and Cuba with grace and sensitivity,” says Sing Out! Magazine. “The result is rich, delicate, and lovely.” The ensemble features Arwen on vocals, as well as dancing and playing rhythm guitar, Jorge on a variety of traditional guitars, Saúl Sierra-Alonso on leoncita and double bass, Marco Díaz on trumpet and piano, and Brian Rice on percussion. The music of Cascada de Flores evokes the wonder of a world gone by, with family and friends gathered around a radio made of wood and tubes and wires, each song inspiring joy or tears or wild dancing, the stuff of cherished memories.


Listen to a track from Pasatono Orquesta:



visit the Pasatono Orquesta website

visit the Cascada de Flores website


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Listen to sample tracks from upcoming artists.