Produced by Herberger Theater Center
January 29, 2021
Join us on The Pavilion for the third concert in our Art of Celebration Concert Series featuring Los Esplifs with opener Salvador Duran.
January 29 Show Postponed – New Showtime TBA
Advanced Purchase: $25.00*
Day-of Purchase: $30.00*
*Does not include handling or convenience fees
2 hours 15 min with intermission
Doors open at 6:30pm for seating.
Los Esplifs have been a part of the latinx music scene since an early age. Bandleader Saul Millan has performed with musical acts The Mexican Institute of Sound, Calexico and Orkesta Mendoza since 2014 while co-creator Caleb Michel, has been a member of the prestigious Afro Cuban Allstars since the age of 19. In late 2018, Michel and Millan joined forces and shared their unique view of living in America through the music that connects them. After much encouragement from their musical mentors and the Arizona music scene, they recorded their self-titled EP. The work was recorded in Tepoztlan, Mexico, by Marco Carrion and Santiago Mijares and was under the art direction of Maria Ramirez Echevarria. It features an Arizona allstar band made up of Chris Del Favero, Zach Parker, Casey Hadland, Alan Acosta and Gus Woodrow. Off their debut EP, The second track “Gaimboiz”, was showcased on the NETFLIX original series, “Desenfrenadas” (2020). Influenced by Cumbia, Fania, Fashion and Psychedelia, Los Esplifs blends nostalgic rhythms with progressive youth culture.
Their first LP, “ESTRAIK BACK” embraces the “Tucson Sound” and creates a western-infused rhythm revival. The album as a whole is a musical stream of consciousness, working towards sonically recreating the mind of a Latinx individual living in the current world order. The lyrical content is intense and challenges the norms of traditional and current Latinx writing, while engaging in familiar groove and dance. The album was produced by Michel, Millan and Wally Boudway (Slow Moses, Proteens), Chris delFavero (SunnTrio, Jerusafunk) and features an allstar band of Arizona musicians. The album soundtracks a night of psychedelia in your Tia’s backyard, where music becomes family and cumbia your heartbeat.
He has a paintbrush in one hand, and a guitar in the other. To Salvador Duran, these aren’t mutually exclusive tools; they’re one in the same. “I paint my music and sing my paintings,” Duran says in Spanish, the language he spoke during most of our conversations. Duran’s twin brother died when they were only one week old, and his mother theorized that Salvador received his brother’s talent. “She said my brother might have given me the music or the painting. It could be true,” he says. For 10 years, the 60-year-old Duran has made his home in Tucson. The desert, he says, captured him, “and I wasn’t able to leave.” He puts his hands together to illustrate the connection. “The desert took hold of me, and I’m happy,” Duran says. “… I found roots and solitude with the communities here in Tucson—los pochos, los Chicanos, other artists and musicians, and family.”
Born in the Mexican mining town of Cananea, Duran spent most his college days and the beginning of his career in Mexico City. He planned a move to Vancouver, British Columbia, but Duran stopped in Tucson to visit family. He liked the fact that it was close to his sisters and mother, who live in Cananea and Hermosillo. So he stayed. When he first moved to Tucson, Duran says, he worked at Zee’s Gallery while he applied for refugee status. At the gallery that was then located in the warehouse next door to Solar Culture, Duran cut rocks, made jewelry and delivered rocks for the gallery. “My fingers were raw,” Duran remembers, holding his fingers in front of his face for a close inspection. Steven Eye invited him to open a music show at Solar Culture. Eye then told Joey Burns, the Calexico frontman, that he had to meet Duran; when he did, Burns was impressed enough to ask him to perform at a KXCI FM 91.3 benefit. From there, Duran played more on his own before becoming a fixture with Calexico, and now Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta. Even though Duran has only called Tucson home for a decade, it almost seems as if this Mexican gypsy troubadour on a stomp box has been part of Tucson forever; he’s a perfect fit with our desert mythology that embraces what is weird, sincere and/or triumphant.