Are You Ready For Mexrrissey?
When checking upcoming shows on the Echo/Echoplex page, I was intrigued by this one: ‘Mexrrissey, Mexico goes Morrissey’; it’s happening at the Regent Theater on Monday May 11th, and yes it is an homage to Morrissey by Latino musicians!
We all know what a deep affection and connection exist between people from Mexico and the Moz, so it is hardly a surprise that Andy Wood, Director of La Linea Festival in London, approached Camilo Lara (Mexican Institute of Sound DJ) with the idea. Camilo contacted Sergio Mendoza (Orkesta Mendoza/Calexico) and they brought Mexico’s finest bands together. The renditions of the songs will add horns and accordions, borrowed from cumbias and rancheras, but the tunes will definitively be sung in Spanish.
Thus, Camilo Lara underwent to tricky task to translate Morrissey’s lyrics in Spanish, but for example how do you translate ‘The Last of the Famous International Playboys’ with the line ‘Reggie Kray – do you know my name?’ Will Mexicans get the reference?
‘Thankfully, we also have a bunch of amazing crooks here,’ said Lara to the Guardian. ‘We’re world famous for that!’ So, he switched Kray’s name for ‘Rafael Caro Quintero, a notorious drug cartel boss known to cover his misdeeds with acts of philanthropy’… ‘He was very loved in the north of Mexico’ explained Lara, ‘so he became my version of Reggie Kray.’
And thanks to tricks like these, Mexrrissey was born, revamping the Morrissey/Smiths catalogue with flavors of cumbia and mariachi, however, it is supposed to be done with taste:
‘I would hate to see a cheesy Mexican tribute to Morrissey,’ added Lara. ‘I knew I had to use well-known Mexican artists and to mix it with electronic elements and other non-Mexican elements. To just play these songs with mariachi trumpets would be touristic – we didn’t want to come and dress in ponchos.’…
How does he explain this strong connection between the Moz and Mexico?
‘Mexico is a melodramatic country. We love drama and tension and irony. In a way, his music is very similar to a telenovela [Mexican soap opera]. I wouldn’t say Morrissey’s songs are about losers, but they are about the people who never win, and unfortunately I live in a country where we always come fourth or fifth in competitions, we are never the stars of the show.’
And this is so true, I live in a very Latino-oriented city and there’s not a week that passes when I don’t see someone with a Morrissey tattoo!
Mexrrissey will feature Ceci Bastida (Tijuana No!), Sergio Mendoza (Orkestra Mendoza/Calexico) Camilo Lara (Mexico Institute Of Sound) Chetes, Jay de la Cueva, Alejandro Flores, Ricardo Najera, Alex Escobar, Jacob Valenzuela (Calexico), Alejandro Flores (Cafe Tacuba) and many more.
Musicians even found that most Morrissey’s songs were a perfect fit for a Mexican-over. ‘Everyday is Like Sunday’ is completely a mariachi song,’ said Lara. ‘They have the same structure, and the synth line is totally replaceable with a trumpet.’ He even thought that ‘Panic’ has a lot in common with norteño, the music of Northern Mexico. ‘It has a similar rhythm, you just need to add some accordion.’
Mexrrissey will have its first date in London on April 25th before landing in New York and Los Angeles,
Here are a few tracks, which sound very interesting, the melodies are very recognizable and they totally work! But my question is… what will Morrissey think about all this? Will he be touched? Will he hate it?