La Leche

The Los Angeles answer for an alternative Latin music scene.

By Cynthia Jaquez
Published on LatinoLA: July 19, 2001

La Leche

What do you get when you mix Mexican Norte? cumbia rhythms, and Spanish rock, with electronic techno beats and a whole lot of imagination?
La Leche of course.
Tired of the same mainstream Latino music being played at upscale and overpriced nightclubs, where the overrated term, "dress to impress", has created a subculture for the "Forever 21" crowds?
Well, if so La Leche is for you.
So, what is La Leche?
Basically, it is marketing and promotions project by Sonic 360, a record label based in the UK, to introduce a new wave of international music, people, and atmosphere to the US. Chris Allison, the founder and chairman for the label has produced such bands like Coldplay from the UK, and Plastilina from Mexico.
Under the label there are four divisions, which include: Sombrero (New Latin music), Head + Arm (electronic beats), Raising Grass (Organic and acoustic sounds), and Beyond Beta (back catalogue).
Manny Gonzalez, the director of marketing for La Leche said, that the combination of these four divisions and the Djs who mix them are the result of the music's originality and the success of La Leche in New York and Los Angeles. He also added that La Leche plans for the future include visiting cities like San Francisco, Chicago, and other cities in the US.
Club Sugar, in Santa Monica played host this past Saturday to La Leche, and to a list of people who make up the prestigious who's who list in the alternative Latino music scene.

Josh Kun, the DJ invite, also host to LATV's "Illegal Interns," a show for alternative music and the "Red Zone," started the night by opening up with a storm of electronic beats, with an occasional cumbia and salsa rhythms, and returned to close the nigh with a blend of some original Spanish rock tunes, that kept the crowd dancing in what seemed to be a cumbia/techno kind of way.
Sounds weird, I know, but great to watch.
International Playboy Zen, who comes to LA from the UK, put the crowd into a trance with his mix of Nortec, twisting a combination of horn, accordion, and Mexican ranchera guitar sounds with samples of electronic beats, resulting in an explosive but extremely contagious vibration of music.
Nevertheless, it was Roberto Mendoza or Panoptica as he is better known, who won the crowd over.
This native from Tijuana, mixed a combination of Nortec, funk, and house sounds, along with, Mexican Torolas and electronic rhythms, using a laptop to direct different sound waves into the music creating a historic moment for alternative Latin music that left the public including other DJs in awe.
DJ Zen, sporting a vintage styled t-shirt with jeans, easily blended into the laid back crowd of people wearing everything from vintage, shorts and sneakers, or for that matter skirts with sneakers. "I love this stuff. It's Funky," he said, as he danced to Panoptica.
And "funky," is probably the most fitting word to describe the kind of music experience one will have at La Leche.

About Cynthia Jaquez:
Cynthia Jaquez is an editorial intern at LatinoLA and a recent graduate of CSUN. She can be reached at sintia79@hotmail.com.

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