Many of us at NPR Music fell hard for Arizona's Sergio Mendoza and his band La Orkesta this year. Together, they mix myriad Latin styles — what Mendoza calls "indie mambo," salted with generous handfuls of cumbia, merengue and ranchera — and then feed all that through a psychedelic prism. They perform their songs with charm and panache, set off by the fireworks of the group's resident showman, the multi-talented Salvador Duran.
While NPR Music was in Austin for SXSW this year, we coaxed Mendoza and his crew into a three-song backyard party after a little local coffee. But they didn't really need the caffeine to get everyone's blood pumping.--ANASTASIA TSIOULCAS
"La Cucharita" (Little Spoon)
"La Rienda" (The Reins)
Producers: Mito Habe-Evans, Saidah Blount, Anastasia Tsioulcas; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Director: AJ Wilhelm; Videographers: Mito Habe-Evans, Becky Harlan, Olivia Merrion, AJ Wilhelm; Editor: Olivia Merrion; Production Coordinator: Kate Kittredge; Special Thanks: Friends & Neighbors; Executive Producer: Anya Grundmann
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