Making their debut festival appearance at West Holts, Troker are only the sixth Mexican band to play Glastonbury. Barbara Belt welcomes them
At the beginning of June, Mexican groovers Troker treated their local fans to a Glastonbury preview, trying out their West Holts set on the packed house at Bar Imperial in Mexico City. This was the third airing, the first two performances having launched the new set in Oaxa’s Café Central a week earlier. The whole thing went down a storm.
“These guys are amazing – they’re chaotic, noisy and wonderful,” says music journalist Alvaro Jiménez, who was at an Oaxa gig and then caught them again in Mexico City.
The last of what they proudly bill their ‘Pre-Glastonbury’ gigs took place on June 21st, in Gaudalajara’s Teatro Estudio Cavaret, and had the home crowd abuzz with excitement.
Since bass player Samo González announced his six piece band were booked for Glastonbury, there’s been a lot of excitement in Mexico about Troker, with national press interest and a whirl of Facebook activity from fans intensifying as their departure date for Worthy Farm draws near.
Stand by to see what all the excitement’s about on Saturday, when they play our stage.
“We’re the sixth Mexican band to play Glastonbury, but the first tapatía (Guadalajara) band ever,” says saxophonist Arturo ‘El Tiburón’ Santillanes. “We’re fundamentally an improvisation project, but we’re rehearsing this set to get everything as tight as possible.
“It’s definitely a dream to be able to go into Europe via the festival. We’re very excited about our Glastonbury experience and obviously a little anxious to see and feel how the
English public react to our music.”
Troker is Samo González on bass, Frankie Mares on drums and percussion, Gil Cervantes on trumpet, Christian Jiménez on keyboards and guitar, Arturo El Tiburón (the shark) Santilles on sax and DJ Zero on decks. They call themselves ‘rude jazz funkers’ and are indeed a glorious mix up, but they come from Mexico, so aren’t they a Mex or Latin band? The answer has to be yes and no.
Yes, in the traditional Mano Negra/Manu Chao sense, because Troker are activists, involved in socio-educational programmes and community schemes. Central and South American groups often have a social conscience. They are, as we know, more likely to be concerned with not just singing about human rights than musos on ‘la escena anglosajona’, as Hispanics call the English language music scene.
No, not Mexican in that the six Trokeros have nothing to do with Narco-corrido music, thus intelligently prolonging their lives.
Yes, in that when The Shark and Cervantes step out on sax and trumpet, what we have is Mariachi. Wild Mariachi, weaving in and out of bass beats, hip-hop and free form jazz runs. No big hats or jingly trousers for these truckers, just jazzed Mariachi and Cumbia blasts, such as you may never have heard before.
Troker’s groove is energy-charged jazz, moving through punk, hip-hop and psychedelia, all with a Mexican touch.
Of their debut Glastonbury performance, they have great expectations. “For our band it’ll be historic. This is something that doesn’t often happen on the Mexican music scene. We feel very honoured.”