Las Cafeteras at the Green Music Center and Sonoma State University


What is a Residency?

An artist residency program places the artist deep in the framework of the arts organization, benefitting both the organization and the artist. This year, over 50% of the artists who perform at the Green Music Center also engage in additional residency activities. Residencies generally last between a day and a week and include interactions with multiple communities on a variety of topics. These programs enrich educational experiences, expand creativity through arts-integrated learning, give insight into the big ideas of our time, and provide full-immersion in the colorful world of performing arts.


Who is Las Cafeteras?

Las Cafeteras have taken the music scene by storm with their infectious live performances and have crossed-genre and musical borders, creating a vibrant musical fusion with a unique East LA sound and positive message. Using traditional Son Jarocho instruments, Las Cafeteras sing in English, Spanish, and Spanglish and add a remix of sounds, from rock to hip-hop to rancheras, using music as a vehicle to build bridges among different cultures and community.


Our Week With Las Cafeteras

A range of residency activities took place each day, both on campus and in the community, with over 900 total participants throughout the week. Participating Sonoma State University classes include Chicano & Latino Studies; Freshman Learning Communities; Women & Gender Studies; Music Repertory; Musical Theater: “Mariachi Story”; and Anthropology: Language in Sociopolitical Context, with additional activities on the Sonoma State campus including a Q&A with the Dream Center students and a mini-performance at the Los Cien: 4th Annual State of the Latino Community Conference. The band also travelled to Santa Rosa for a visit to Sonoma Academy’s Arts & Activism class.

The final concert in Weill Hall on Friday, September 28 brought 546 students from 20 classes, plus additional concert patrons, for a total of 1118 tickets distributed.  The performance concluded with a special encore that included students and faculty of the Music Theatre: "Mariachi Story" class playing on stage with the band. 

What Students are Saying

An overwhelming response was received from attendees of the various activities. One student from Sonoma Academy remarked that “Las Cafeteras brought to life the power of cultural history through modern reinterpretations of classic Son Jarocho style music that emphasized cross cultural connection and unity.” Another student said “I loved the combination of storytelling and song, as well as how the band members honored the history of the music and the instruments. It really inspired me to get more in touch with my own heritage and made me think about the ways in which I can use that to create art."  Madelyn, a Sonoma State student who was lucky enough to not only play and learn in class with Las Cafeteras but play on stage with them during their performance, said "It was such an honor and a privilege to have met and played with Las Cafeteras in class and on stage.  You could tell they were extremely passionate with what they were doing and they were very interactive in sharing that with the whole audience. As a performer myself, it inspires me to give that same positive energy in my performances as well. Overall it was a life-changing experience, and their music not only made me aware of what the world truly needs all of today’s issues but it has also helped me change my perspective on life and how I see other people and myself. And for that, I am truly grateful." 

What's Next

This residency was one of many scheduled for the 2018–19 season, with over half of the artists performing at the Green Music Center this year participating in some sort of residency activity. With a mission dedicated to connect, educate, and inspire, the Green Music Center is proud to play its role on the Sonoma State University campus as both college arts presenter and a point of entry and access for exploring the ideas of our time through the lens of creativity and artistic expression. Through mentorships, internships, artist residencies, and student employment, the Green Music Center provides hands-on, real-world learning in the arts field, empowering Sonoma State students to gain and practice 21st-century skills such as collaboration, communication, critical thinking, innovation, empathy, and problem-solving.