Somewhere on a rooftop in Mexico City, a cute girl poses for a photo dressed in a black jumpsuit dress, pink and black stripped leg warmers and an old school pair of Adidas roller sneakers. Fast forward to May of 2006: this picture was my very first introduction to an electropop group called Maria Daniela y Su Sonido Lasser, from Mexico City. Little did I know that five months later I'd get to witness a live performance in New York City.
After being in other projects such as the famous Mexican electronic group, TitÃ¡n, Emilio Acevedo created Sonido Lasser Drakar in 2001. While exploring new music and in search of new talent he came upon the lovely Maria Daniela and he asked her to join. Starting in 2003, with a cover of Aerolineas Federales "No Me Beses en los Labios" (Don't Kiss Me on the Lips), and then created the song "Super Vacaciones" (Super Vacations).
The duo then recorded the song "Miedo" (Fear), which originally came from a electrocumbia sampler from Sonido Lasser Drakar. Like many bands, including Cansei de ser Sexy (CSS), the group gained much success due to blogs and Myspace. Now working together under the full name Maria Daniela y su Sonido Lasser (Mari Dani for short), they toured on the "World Domination Tour" of the Mexican record label, Nuevos Ricos (New Rich), throughout Europe and the United States. Since then, they have continued to create an eclectic slew of Electronica songs and in 2005, they released their first, self titled, LP.
What's so special about this group compared to the rest of the electropop that comes out of the U.S.? Well for one thing, all the songs are sung in Spanish. For another, there's a slight twist on what you might expect electropop to sound like coming from a couple of Latinos from Mexico City. There's no crazy sparkle makeup or lavish costumes with go go dancers. And it's not just the two of them on stage standing motionless in front of a laptop pushing buttons. Emilio has an intricate set of electronic drums and a bunch of other stuff I can't pronounce, while Maria stands in front of him singing and dancing with her own sort of dance moves. Nothing over the top, no crowd surfing or break dancing, but she's got something about her dance moves that are subtle but effective. Just a few swirling wrist movements with her arms up high over her head while marching in place and a childlike smile on her face. Also, unlike most stereotypical electropop, Mari Dani have created music for people who like to dance like punk rawkers. You know, jumping around in pogo-like excitement and shaking your fists in the air while flashing your middle fingers. To try and define their music to an American reader, I'd say Mari Dani have created an electropop with a sound that invigorates the current high energy scene music in Mexico as well as a mix of Latin/Cumbia drum beats with fun and sometimes crude lyrics. The song "Fiesta de Cumpleanos", lyrics translation: "My life, is worth nothing. Without the barbie look, I'm just a secretary. With my friends and other clowns I will celebrate my birthday with cookies and coffee and cake." Another song "Miedo" (Fear), lyrics translation: "I am very drunk and that aspirin I think it was an acid tab. With colored lights and smoke in my eyes." Depending on the listener, the lyrics may or may not be understood, but nonetheless, the music is very energetic and playful for everyone to enjoy.
The show in NYC was put on by Fresa Salvaje Productions, a Latin alternative party created by Dulce Pinzon and DJ Papichulo, at East River Bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The party started at 9pm and by 11pm the club was packed wall to wall with a crowd of scenesters, both Latinos and Anglos, breaking the language barriers. Just like DeeLite once said in an interview with MTV News, "Music is an international language". Two people told me they found out about the show that very night around 9pm through a Myspace post and automatically changed their plans. They said they had found out about Mari Dani through Myspace about a year ago and had been listening to the group since. By 1am Mari Dani finally made their highly anticipated appearance and opened by thanking Fresa Salvaje for bringing them to NYC. They started with the song, "El Tuviera no Existe" (It Had Not Existed), to be followed by "Chicle de Menta" (Mint gum), "Fiesta de CumpleaÃ±os" (Birthday Party), "Miedo" (Fear), and "Mentiras" (Lies-a cover of Mexican pop icon, Daniela Romo).
Throughout the show, Maria and Emilio were so in synch and performed without a pause in between songs, one song faster than the last. With an accelerating pace, the crowd got really into it with fists flying in the air, jumping up and down and twirling around in circles while drunkenly falling on top of each other and laughing. By the end of show everyone was covered in sweat like they had just come from a heavy rain fall outside.
Mari Dani recently performed at the Vive Latino Music Festival in Mexico and with Los Angeles Kitchpop band, Los Super Elegantes, who recently played the Starbucks Salon in NYC.
By Amylu Meneses