La Mera Candelaria

In-Person Only

La Mera Candelaria is a woman-fronted, Caribbean salsa/cumbia project founded by stephani candelaria (she/they). stephani is a queer Xicana musician, educator and activist from San Juan Bautista, California (Amah Mutsun tribal land), now based in the occupied Tongva territory of Los Angeles. As a proud Latina and fierce feminist, abolitionist, and anti-racist, her vision from the start has been utilize the irresistibly sensual cumbia, salsa, and son rhythms of Latinoamérica-- themselves rooted in centuries of ancestral indigenous, African, and Spanish creativity-- to turn a world of misogyny and power structures on its own head... all while making you dance. After 7 years together, the group’s combination of coastal Colombian-inspired cumbia with Son Caribeño is what makes it so unique and unforgettable-- while at times the rhythms and bass lines suggest classic cumbia, the group utilizes a Cuban tres as the lead instrument, and dip in and out of classic salsa rhythms, lending to the group's unmistakable earthy, Caribbean sabór. Featuring only live instrumentation and a small line-up, the group's style lends a unique sense of “throwback” to older traditions of Latine music. This, combined with stephani’s unapologetically critical lyrics lend her an aura that was perfectly described in LA Weekly as, "Candelaria is a badass. A passionate and “sassy” (her word) performer with biting wit and no-nonsense feminism in the lyrics. She mashes the traditional and contemporary together, resulting in music that crosses the generational gap."

Whether it's through their  2021 release, "Florecer," ("Flourish") a musical odyssey that celebrates survivors, uplifts trans visibility, and calls out cat-calling culture, or her upcoming release "Di su nombre" ("Say her name"),  La Mera keeps her audience engaged, challenging them to stay woke without being performative, to educate themselves and commit to cultural change, and most of all, to dance.