No one ever steals the show at the Cotati Accordion Festival, as there are just too many world class performers in such a wide variety of genres. Because everyone has their own tastes and preferences, the “show stopper” label can be put on any number of this year’s acts. However, one act could stand out as a “surprise attack”.
I knew Mariposa Del Alma was a very dynamic and talented act just from watching the small bits of video I was able to find online. However, I was amazed, along with the rest of the crowd, at how engaging, versatile, upbeat, and just plain talented they are. Half way through the first song most of the crowd was already on their feet and moving to the Cumbia styled music.
However, they were not just listening to Cumbia, a Columbian product made up of a fusion of sounds from Africa, the Islands, and Mexico. The dancing audience was also totally enthralled amidst the band’s flow from soul/Cumbia to disco/Cumia to Cumbia/eclectic. All these styles were then tied together by the polka based accordion of Ivan Flores, and sweetly and flamboyantly wedded to the singing of the three Meza sisters.
As if that wasn’t enough, and as if the crowd wasn’t all in on the band’s every move, they then hit them with hip hop Cumbia. What did the crowd do? Even more people started dancing! There were people who came on the senior discount dancing among hay bales to hip hop Cumbia. How often do you see that in La Plaza Park?
The rhythmic nature of Cumbia, and the natural tendency to move the body when listening to it, is well known. But, three young women from Oakland, singing with their Accordion player, while backed by great Island like sounds of percussion, took that instinctive need to move to a new level. Mariposa would still be playing if they had not been cut off after two encores because of the needs of stage set changes.
If you did not get a chance to enjoy what Mariposa did with our crowd don’t worry, we have already agreed that they will be back again next year for both days.