A Tribute to Linda Ronstadt at The Soraya
Southland Sessions: KCET and PBS SoCal Public Television
The Soraya celebrates the legacy of Linda Ronstadt, whose music knows no borders in a special concert filmed live on our stage for television and online audiences. Featuring music trailblazers Aida Cuevas, La Marisoul, David Hidalgo, Sara Watkins, Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar, La Santa Cecilia, and the CSUN Honors String Quartet. Music produced and directed by Cheche Alara, it's a tribute you don't want to miss.
Click the images for more information about the artists.
The “Queen of Ranchera Music,” Aida Cuevas, returns to The Soraya for her third visit celebrating 45 years of performing. Cuevas shows off her stunning vocals in a tribute concert to Linda Ronstadt.
With 39 albums to her credit in a career spanning more than four decades, Cuevas is an iconic figure in Mexico, esteemed for her unswerving devotion to mariachi music and her mastery of its demanding, near-operatic vocal styles. In 2018, she became the first female singer in the traditional mariachi genre to win a Grammy Award.
La Marisoul grew up on both sides of the Mexican-American border and counts her youth spent on Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles among her greatest influences. She is best known for fronting the Grammy Award-winning La Santa Cecilia and playing a blend of cumbia, bossa nova, boleros, and tango music.
Her Los Angeles upbringing, and her parent’s music were huge influences on La Marisoul. “I grew up listening to artists like Juan Gabriel and Mercedes Sosa. But it wasn’t until I saw La Bamba and heard Selena that I realized the beauty of Mexican-American artists. La Santa Cecilia has been a vehicle to discover who I am as a Mexican/American living in Los Angeles. I want to take those experiences, along with what I’ve learned growing up in LA and share a playlist of music that has been meaningful to me.”
‘On Los Angeles’ historic Olvera Street, merchants remember a little girl singing Spanish-language boleros for tourists who sometimes would drop spare change in a hat nearby.’
La Marisoul was born Eva Marisol Hernandez in DTLA (downtown LA), the diverse and vibrant heart of Los Angeles. Growing up part time in Mexico and the United States created the duality of American pop culture and the roots of traditional folkloric music, which helped shaped her musical sensibility.
She recalls; “That’s the root of what I sing—traditional boleros and rancheras I learned from the musicians who played at restaurants on Olvera Street. They taught me how to sing loud and pass the basket around.”
In 2007, La Marisoul became the lead singer for the group; La Santa Cecilia (named after the Patron Saint of musicians). La Santa Cecilia have performed at just about every type of venue from rock clubs to festivals in the US and Mexico.
In 2014 La Santa Cecilia won the Grammy for Best Latin Rock Album for their album Treinta Dias (Universal Music). In 2017 they were nominated in the same category for their album Buenaventura (Universal Music) and in 2018 for Amar Y Vivir (Universal Music).
La Marisoul also performs solo and has made acting appearances in; The Bridge (2013), Artbound Presents: Studio A (2013) and Mavericks (2015). She was featured as a guest performer on Pepe
David Hidalgo is an American singer and songwriter born in Los Angeles and best known for being the driving vocal and lead guitar force of the legendary East LA band Los Lobos (Spanish for “the wolves”). There, he has been a creative force exploring the borders of rock, country, R&B, Tex-Mex, and cumbia for four decades. David is also a member of Los Super Seven and of the Latin Playboys, a side project band made up of some of the members of Los Lobos. He formed as well a side project band called Houndog.
In addition to his work with Los Lobos, David frequently plays musical instruments such as accordion, violin, 6-string banjo, cello, requinto jarocho, percussion, drums, and guitar as a session musician on other artists’ releases.
Sara Watkins is a singer-songwriter and fiddler from California. She debuted in 1989 as a fiddler and founding member of the progressive bluegrass group Nickel Creek along with her brother Sean and mandolinist Chris Thile. In addition to singing and playing fiddle, she also plays ukulele and guitar, and played percussion while touring with The Decemberists.
She has two solo albums, Sara Watkins and Sun Midnight Sun on Nonesuch Records. In addition to touring on her own, she just completed a Nickel Creek reunion tour in celebration of the band’s first release in seven years, A Dotted Line. Sara and Sean Watkins also produce the Watkins Family Hour, a monthly residency and podcast at the Los Angeles venue Largo, featuring an eclectic group of guest musicians, comedy, and more.
Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar
Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar has delighted audiences with dynamic musicianship and lively stage presence for over twenty years. Founded in 1994 by Jaime Cuéllar, Mariachi Garibaldi gained popularity quickly due to their constant effort to better their performance in Bakersfield, CA. Now based out of Los Angeles, Garibaldi continues to push for excellence. Over the years, Mariachi Garibaldi has evolved into a premier mariachi ensemble in California, led by Jimmy “El Pollo” Cuéllar, son of Jaime Cuéllar. Garibaldi has accompanied various well-known artists such as Pedro Fernandez, Espinoza Paz, Mocedades, Paquita del Barrio, Ana Barbara, Leo Dan, Steeven Sandoval, Graciela Beltran, Maria Elena Beltran, Yolanda del Rio, Pablo Montero, Mercedes Castro, Humberto Herrera, and Beatriz Adriana, among many more. They have performed on prestigious stages such as The Soraya, Auditorium Theater in Chicago, Teatro Degollado, The John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, Bakersfield Fox Theatre, The Chandler Center for the Arts, and The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, to name a few. Garibaldi has shared the stage with mariachi ensembles and artists such as Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano, Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan, Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlan, Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea, Alejandro Fernandez, and Juan Gabriel. Most recently, Mariachi Garibaldi can be seen alongside Ballet Folklórico de Los Angeles in a recreation of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast’s “Tale As Old As Time,” produced by Mitu Network. This video received over 15 million views.
Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar
La Santa Cecilia
La Santa Cecilia exemplifies the modern-day creative hybrid of Latin culture, rock, and world music. The group draws inspiration from all over the world, utilizing Pan-American rhythms including cumbia, bossa-nova, rumba, bolero, tango, jazz, and klezmer music. Their unique sounds and the experience of their colorful, passionate performances continues to captivate both loyal fans and new listeners. Named after the patron saint of music, La Santa Cecilia is composed of accordionist and requinto player Jose ‘Pepe’ Carlos, bassist Alex Bendaña, percussionist Miguel ‘Oso’ Ramirez, and vocalist ‘La Marisoul.’ With a captivating voice that sings about love, loss, and everyday struggles, the band has become the voice of a new bicultural generation in the United States, fully immersed in modern music, but always close to their Latin American influences and Mexican heritage. La Santa Cecilia’s released their debut album, Noche y Citas in 2011. The album was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award for the single "La Negra." El Valor in 2012 was named one of the best albums of the year by NPR’s Alt Latino. In 2013, Treinta Días was released and went on to win the Grammy for Best Latin Rock Album, Alternative or Urban. In 2016, Buenaventura was nominated for a Latin Grammy in the Best Pop/Rock Album category and a Grammy in the “Best Latin Urban, Rock or Alternative” category.
La Santa Cecilia
Cheche Alara is a composer, arranger, producer, music director, conductor, and virtuoso keyboardist—a skillset expansive enough to make him “one-stop shopping” for creatives. Among those who’ve availed themselves of Alara’s various abilities are Barbra Streisand, Natalia Lafourcade, Christina Aguilera, Mike Patton, Lady Gaga, Alejandro Sanz, and Colbie Caillat.
He’s been brought in to produce Natalia Lafourcade’s Latin Grammy-winning Musas Vol. 1 & 2, Thalia’s Habítame Siempre, and Il Volo’s Grande Amore; served as Music Producer and Musical Director for the Grammys Premiere Ceremony, the Latin Grammys, and Person of the Year galas for Caetano Veloso, Shakira, Alejandro Sanz, and Placido Domingo; lead Mike Patton’s Mondo Cane orchestra, penning arrangements, conducting, and playing keys; and composing for projects like The Titan Games, (NBC) Death by Magic (Netflix), and To Tell the Truth (ABC). Barbra Streisand invited him to join The Music, The Mem’ries, The Magic tour as keyboardist—then tasked him to arrange and record the opening and closing sequences for the production of the tour’s Netflix concert special.
Whatever the musical adventure, Alara brings something fundamental to the table beyond his considerable musical chops—a profound warmth and good humor that makes him the guy that artists and musicians want in the room. And whether that room is a recording studio, a concert hall, or a rehearsal space, what you get is a guy whose joy in creating music is utterly infectious, and whose generosity in composing, arranging, and playing lifts up everyone in its presence.
Those qualities have helped him orchestrate moments, not just tunes—like pairing Luis Fonsi and Martina McBride at the Alma Awards or spearheading a duet between Robbie Williams and Thalia. His musical sensibility is global, but so is his ability to connect and establish trust with creative professionals. They may bring him in for his chops, but they want him around for that essential spark.
CSUN Honors String Quartet
Alisa Luera (violin)
A native of Seattle, Washington, Alisa is a very active violinist, violist, and chamber musician. Alisa has performed widely in Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Italy, and the US, and has appeared as concertmaster with LAYO's Symphony Orchestra (Los Angeles Youth Orchestra) from 2011-2017. In 2014, she joined JCM (Junior Chamber Music). She was accepted in their Debut Artists Program and selected for JCM's Honors Tours to perform in masterclasses at Longy's School of Music, New England Conservatory, Juilliard School of Music, and has performed in Carnegie Weill Recital Hall. Alisa began playing the violin at the age of four and was raised in Seattle and Los Angeles. Her mother is a piano instructor who helped her by applying her knowledge and practicing methods to her learning, including playing alongside her for many years. Prior to her studies with Prof. Gamma, Alisa took violin lessons for twelve years under the Suzuki Music Program of Los Angeles with Yoko Honda and former Director Emeritus, Idell Low. Alisa has been a member of the CSUN Honors String Quartet for two years as the first violinist and co-first violinist. The members took masterclasses with Arnaud Sussmann of Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Bin Huang of China Conservatory, Yuan Sheng of Beijing Central Conservatory of Music, Ben Hong of USC, and LA Philharmonic, and the Calder Quartet. Since attending CSUN’s Department of Music, she was co-concertmaster in Symphony Orchestra from Spring 2018 - Spring 2020 and chosen to perform chamber music with Dr. Lorenz Gamma, Dr. Julia Heinen, Dr. Robert Berg, Ben Hong, and Jonathan Moerschel of the Calder Quartet in faculty concerts in the school. Outside of school, she took part in projects and performances with Debut Orchestra, Brightwork NewMusic, Disney XD, Shari Sutcliffe, David Grohl, the Foo Fighters, Tony Visconti, and with LAYO as a fellow in Walt Disney Hall. Alisa is a Senior pursuing her B.M. in Violin Performance, studying with Lorenz Gamma.
Pedram Pourghazi (violin)
A native of Esfahan, Iran, Pedram started learning the violin with his uncle at the age of 7. He continued taking lessons with his uncle and cousin until he was 18 when he started his bachelor’s studies in Violin Performance at the Art University of Tehran. During this time, he played with multiple chamber and symphony orchestras in Iran and Turkey where he was honored to perform under the baton of maestros Alexander Rahbari, Aram Talalian, Nader Mashayekhi, and Manouchehr Sahbaei. Pedram continued his music education as a graduate student at the same music school in the field of World Music. During that period, he focused more on other music genres including the Middle Eastern music in general, and specifically Persian music. He plays SETAR and KAMANCHEH, Persian Musical Instruments, alongside with the violin and viola. He achieved first place in the nationwide Music Performance Competition among 254 participants. He graduated from Tehran University of Art as an Honored student. Pedram moved to the United States in 2014, and soon after, started playing with the San Fernando valley symphony and Santa Monica symphony orchestras. He also got to play string quartets with CSUN former music students Thomas Lovasz and Ramon Osa and that was how he heard about and loved the CSUN Music School and its Music Performance program. Pedram started taking lessons with Dr. Lorenz Gamma around a year ago. He is a first-year graduate student pursuing his M.M in Violin Performance, studying with Lorenz Gamma.
Logan Sacino (violin)
A native of Los Angeles, California, Logan grew up around the arts from a young age, his grandfather being a former accordion teacher, and his brother who plays the flute. Inspired by this, he began studying violin in his school music program at the age of 8, where he was encouraged to begin taking lessons under Heather Crawford, who helped him discover his love for performing. Under her direction, he was able to attend Hamilton High School’s Academy of Music and Performing Arts, where he additionally played under the batons of Susan Thiroux, Stephen McDonough, and Jim Foschia. During his time here he got the opportunity to play with LA Opera, at Fox Studios, fundraisers for various politicians, and at a variety of other events throughout the Los Angeles area. At 16 he was accepted into the CSUN Youth Orchestra led by Dr. John Roscigno, where he decided that he wanted to continue furthering his studies in music. Since then, he has continued performing and has occasionally played with the American Youth Symphony. This is his first year in the CSUN Honors Quartet, and he is very excited to have this opportunity to play alongside such great musicians. Logan is currently a second-year undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Violin Performance, studying with Lorenz Gamma.
Kevin Massin (viola)
A native of Glendale, California. started learning violin at his local elementary school in fourth grade, following with viola, cello and contrabass not long after. It was not until his high school years where he truly found his passion for music by his music director, Mrs. Amy Rangel. Then in 2015, is when Kevin got his first violin teacher Barbara Don, and then from 2016-2020, studied under Tamsen Beseke, the inventor of the famous shoulder rest, “Acoustifoam” and Elizabeth Hedman from Pasadena City college, on both violin and viola. Since Kevin had the advantage of learning the string family, he used this as his tool to help his local middle school, Roosevelt middle school, where he had attended as a youth. He has been participating as their assistant music director and string technician since he graduated high school in 2016. Kevin has also participated in a wide set of orchestras throughout the years such as “Crown City Symphony, West Coast Symphony and Numi Opera and Filipino American Symphony Orchestra” This is Kevin’s first year in the Honors String Quartet and a transfer student at CSUN, pursuing his B.M in Viola Performance, studying with Lorenz Gamma.
Alec Glass (cello)
A native of Ridgefield, Connecticut, Alec started playing cello at the age of 9 and continued playing in orchestras through middle school. In 2012, he moved to California and began attending Westlake High School, where he played in several honors orchestras and worked his way up to the Principal Cellist of the Chamber Orchestra in 2015, the same year he graduated. Alec then started at Moorpark College where he first studied privately with Andrew Cook and performed in the Pepperdine Symphony. He later studied cello with Ashley Walters and performed in the Moorpark College Symphony for 3 years. During his time at Moorpark, Alec found interest in teaching privately and at local schools, and now has a private studio of his own and is a cello coach at many schools including alongside his high school orchestra director, Elizabeth Blake. Since transferring to CSUN in 2019, Alec has found his passion for performing in chamber ensembles and as a part of the CSUN Symphony under the direction of John Roscigno. As part of CSUN’s inaugural Cellobration series in February, Alec had the opportunity to play for many renowned visiting cellists including Ben Hong, the Associate Principal Cellist of the LA Philharmonic. Alec is currently a Senior pursuing his B.M. in Cello Performance, studying with Diane Roscetti.
CSUN Honors String Quartet
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