Blending Mariachi, Jazz, Funk, DJ Scratching and More – Troker Brings Fusion to the Midlands

Thursday, March 2, 2017 - 1:15pm

On their way to South by Southwest®, Guadalajara’s own will take the stage at Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College

Fill a cocktail shaker with the virtuosity of John Coltrane, the intensity of the Wu-Tang Clan, the groove of The Doors, and a shot of good, good Mexican tequila. Pour it on stage, and you’ve got a Troker concert. Troker is a veteran of both the Glastonbury Festival and the South by Southwest® music festival in Austin, Texas, and will bring their unique blend of jazz, mariachi, DJ scratching, and rock to Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College on Friday, March 10 at 7:30 PM.

Troker is an instrumental hard-groove band that fuses jazz, rock, and funk with anything they find on the way, leaving behind a Mexican flair. To do that, the six-piece group has created a blend of the composed and the improvised, where metal riffage merges with powerhouse funk drumming and DJ scratching, and horn lines pull from jazz and the mariachi tradition of the band’s homeland. After 10 years of juxtaposing Pulp Fiction-esque vamps and high-stakes musicianship, Troker knows what it takes to move a crowd. Hailing from different regions of Mexico, the six musicians in Troker have diverse musical backgrounds, which adds a richness to their music that is unique. Their concerts are, in the words of All About Jazz magazine, “noisy, chaotic, sprawling, messy, and altogether wonderful.”

They began in 2004 as a bar band in Guadalajara, where they now live, and learned how to get an audience on its feet; finding their voice and developing a personal, unique sound in the process. Over the last decade, Troker has expanded from playing intimate venues to playing to sold-out crowds all across Mexico, Latin America, the United States, and Europe. But the band’s biggest moment came in 2014 when Troker became the first act in the Glastonbury Festival’s history to play twice, in consecutive years, at the West Holts Stage.

Their first record was released after three years of playing together; and in Troker, there is no musical director, no composer, no one individual who contributes more wholly than the others. The whole band participates in the same way, creating a truly democratic creative process among friends who know each other’s strengths perfectly. “We try to make it fresh, but never obvious,” says founding-member Gil Cervantes. “Elaborate, but still simple enough to make people dance. We put odd things together and see what happens.”

Troker’s main focus is not to just record albums, do promotional tours, and sell merchandise; they also volunteer their time to perform concerts for underprivileged youth, and assist with programs for marginal areas of big cities. Recently, the band took part in the score for the Mexican silent movie classic, The Grey Automobile.

When asked why she booked the band as part of Harbison Theatre’s fifth-anniversary season, Executive Director Katie Fox explained, “I became familiar with Troker’s music about a year ago and fell in love with it. I can listen to a song 10 times and always hear something new. It’s great to get turned on to the best that other countries have to offer!”

“We wrote our music to be played live. The tunes connect with the audiences,” explains bassist Samo González. “Concerts are about the energy flow, taking the waves from low to high, and that ride is what we try to capture."