Hector Flores: The artist’s duty in today’s America

“We are part of a legacy of artists who have used music in order to heal. Like Nina Simone says: ‘It’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times’.”

Before he became a musician, Hector Flores was a local activist and leader, much like the rest of the members of Las Cafeteras whose story began in the East-Side Café, a creative community space in East L.A., where they met and gradually coalesced into a band. Today they use their infectious combination of son jarocho styles (from Mexico’s Veracruz state) with a sprinkle of hiphop and punk as a soundboard to tell stories about the streets where they were raised, the neighbourhoods in which they live and their dreams for a better world.

“It’s easy to be mad, it’s easy to be angry. What we’re trying to use is that energy to celebrate the fact that we’re still here. We’ve been through slavery, we’ve been through colonialism and you’re damn sure we’re gonna get through Trump.”

Fresh off the back of releasing his 2nd album – Tastes Like LA – we caught up with Hector at WOMAD UK Festival this summer to find out more about Las Cafeteras’ unique brand of Afro-Mexican music and to hear his thoughts on the power of pop culture and the role of the musician in an increasingly divided America.


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