Monday Night Jam: Jenny and the Mexicats, on NPR Music Tiny Desk Concerts
March 26, 2018 | Felix Contreras — Jenny and the Mexicats is a discovery from South by Southwest a few years ago that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind, and with good reason: The band’s high energy shows are unforgettable, as is its sound. Mixing flamenco, originally from southern Spain, with Jenny Ball’s jazz trumpet background and a little bit of cumbia has created their one-of-a-kind musical identity.
The grooves these musicians create can be frenetic (as in the first performance here, “Frenético Ritmo”) or slow and luxurious (“The Song for the UV Mouse House”). In both cases, the group presents the perfect cushion for Ball’s impassioned singing and engaging stage presence. There are no weak points in the instrumentation, and with Ball out front, the songs come to life as the short stories they are — like that of the young lady who appreciates a beer before taking on life’s challenges in “Verde Más Allá.”
Watching this performance, it’s easy to see why Jenny and the Mexicats is picking up new fans as the group travels the world spreading its good cheer. The musicians bring their festival circuit-level performance down to almost a whisper here, but the intensity of their playing remains. After watching, perhaps you’ll end up like me, with their names permanently entered in your mental Rolodex.
“The Song for the UV House Mouse”
“Verde Más Allá”
Producers: Felix Contreras, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Maia Stern, Beck Harlan, Dani Lyman; Production Assistants: Joshua Bote, Molly Stofko; Photo: Jenna Sterner/NPR.