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Ceci Bastida at Amoeba Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Ceci Bastida looks a little bit like a more mature Mexican M.I.A. and I’m not saying that in a bad way at all, but I thought she had physically something of the British-Sri Lanka singer, and when I read she had covered The Clash’s ‘Spanish Bombs’, I thought it may be a little bit more than her stage presence, since M.I.A.’s ‘Paper Planes’ samples ‘Straight to Hell’ by The Clash.

Ceci Bastida was playing an in-store at Amoeba on Sunday afternoon with her full band, and one of the first thing I noticed was the absence of guitar, there was a bass, but no guitar, and it is something unusual; but there were trumpet and trombone, and these big Brazilian-type drums in front of the stage.

With her aggressive rhythms, hip-hop moves and beats, mixed with slow Cumbias, some Banda music, bursting horns and electronic dashes, she makes an interesting hybrid music, quite surprising at time, but easily familiar by its Latino accents. Her songs, that she sings in Spanish of course, focuses on beats and percussion, wrapped around a bass line and awakened by these blasting trumpets.

She did a barely recognizable cover of ‘This Town’, a song from the 80s iconic band the Go-Go’s: gone the surfing guitars, but replaced by a lot of hard drumbeats and bright trumpets which were slowing down the song like a folkloric Mexican parade.
The song is on her first solo album, ‘Veo La Marea’ (I See The Tide) which features guest spots such as Diplo, XXXChange, Mexican rapper Niña Dioz, and Rye Rye.

Born in Mexico, at 15, Bastida was already the lead vocalist and keyboardist in the legendary politically engaged ska-punk band Tijuana No!, and she produced songs with Manu Chao, Fishbone, Bad Brains and the Breeders.
When Tijuana No! dissolved, she spent eight years playing keyboards in Julieta Venegas' band, and is now celebrating the release of her solo album, after having been nominated for the 2010 Latin Grammy nominee in the category of ‘Best Alternative Song’.

I don’t understand Spanish but I could tell there were some strong political feelings in her songs as she dedicated one of them to the thousands of Mexicans who were ending their four-day march on Sunday, a march calling for peace and justice and an end to the violence related to drugs and organized crimes that has killed around 37,000 people in the country since the Mexican president had declared war on drug cartels in 2006.

She was celebrating her album at Amoeba, and she actually sounded much better than anything I have heard from M.I.A.,… especially without the hype.

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