I met Sharon Benitez and her sister Tanya Benitez Sunday busking on University Avenue, near Oren’s Hummus. They peform in a grupo called Los Panaderos (The Bread-makers) and also teach folkloric dance to children under the name Quetzal.
They were here as part of the World Music Day/World Music Month activities that are sponsored by Palo Alto Recreation Foundation and City of Palo Alto (our version of Fete De La Music / Make Music Palo Alto / World-Wide Music Day, held ten times on Father’s Day since 2009, when I was on the committee with Claude Ezran).
I saw Los Panaderos doing a traditional version of “La Bamba” which people (Anglos) know from Richie Valens, Los Lobos and a movie also called “La Bamba”.
They had a platform for Mexican clog dancing, which got hacked by some Asian guys who were also B-Boys – I got a bit of that on film.
Sharon has a degree in ethnomusicology from Santa Clara University and a budding career as an artist/educator/activist and producer.
I sent this tape to Tommy Manzi who manages Cake and to Bruce Solar, their agent.
Cake played twice in my Cubberley Sessions, back in the day — I mean fall, 1995 and summer, 1996. They almost played here about 10 years ago, a benefit for solar power — not their agent, the thing from which we all derive our power.
I would love to have Los Panaderos record “Mexico” by John McCrea and Cake for my Lions With Wings Bandcamp label.
Meanwhile, you can catch Los Panaderos again Saturday, June 26 — this Saturday — from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on University, maybe near Oren’s or maybe near Cafe Venetia – -they are sharing the street with the Mark Wong-VanHaren family band also known as Camacu.
PS: Cake uses a Vibra-slap, which imitates quijada, made from the jaw of a mule. There is no Vibra-slap in either “Mexico” or “You Part the Waters”. “Is This Love”, yes. I’d like to see the Benitez sisters and maybe their whole band have a side project that does nothing but Cake covers with accentuated Mexican flourishes. Although I have to also add, as an Old G Cake fan, that the band uses the word more like “caked with mud” like if you stepped into some fine dust and your boot was coated or caked with earth; intense. Layered. Vale?
And1: Oren’s Hummus features pita. I spoke to the manager who said he is open-minded to spornsoring or at least not thwarting a continued music presence next to his parklet of tables in the streets, this summer.
Andand: I spoke briefly with Sharon Benitez about her fellow musician Cecilia Peña-Govea also known as La Doña — I had come from the Ledisi/The Seshen/La Doña event at Stern Grove (see the laminate I’m wearing, with my Superchunk hoodie).
This is from today’s email message to Miguel Govea, father of La Doña; I hereby induct Los Panaderos, Tanya Benitez and Sharon Benitez into the pantheon: