The Marias bring their fusion of jazz, funk and lounge to the Cellar Door on May 12
By Carlotta Harlan
Special to the Sun-Gazette
VISALIA – Like a dream sequence out of the 1970s, The Marias will hypnotize the audience at the Cellar Door this Saturday, May 12.
Formed in Los Angeles in late 2016, The Marías are the psychedelic-soul lovechild of L.A. native Josh Conway and Puerto Rican-bred, Atlanta-raised María Zardoya, who chooses to only use her first name on stage. A smooth rendezvous of jazz percussion, hypnotic guitar riffs, smoke-velvet vocals and nostalgic horn solos, there’s something undeniably sensual in the group’s dreamlike fusion of jazz, psychedelia, funk and lounge.
With María on lead vocals and Josh on drums, the couple is joined by three of their closest friends and fellow musicians Jesse Perlman on guitar, Carter Lee on bass and Edward James on keys.
Drawing inspiration from both their vastly diverse backgrounds and the intimacy of their mystic Hollywood Hills commune, the band often writes, records and produces within the walls of their own home. Though Josh takes the lead as producer and architect to the The Marías’ overall sound — ‘The front man behind the scenes,’ María calls him — what listeners hear is the vision of the group. Their creations seamlessly dance between synthetic and analog tones, weaving in an old-school, vintage aesthetic with a progressive touch. Says Josh, “The production is as much about layering as it is about minimalism.”
First hitting the airwaves last year after an early Soundcloud demo was spun by Chris Douridas on KCRW’s Eclectic 24 and the Anne Lit Show, the group began their foray into the LA music scene with KCRW’s School Night. They have since built tremendous momentum, utilizing the freedom of independent operation to build an eclectic catalog, unrestricted by any one genre.
As they take to the stage, dressed like a dream from another era — María at the forefro
nt, eyes closed, swaying rhythmically in a floor length smoking jacket and bright red lips — it’s clear why fans cheekily compare their sound to ‘pouring cream into coffee.’ Watching them, you feel transported, taken over by a sultry tranquility as you drift into a timeless space.
The band released their first EP, titled ‘Superclean Vol. I,’ last fall and will be followed by ‘Superclean Vol. II’ sometime this year. Vol. I features songs such as “Basta Ya” (Enough Already), “I Don’t Know You,” “I Like It,” “Only In My Dreams,” “Dejate Llevar,” (Let Yourself Go) and the title track “Superclean.”
The Marias will perform from 8 to 10 p.m. on May 12 at the Cellar Door, 101 W. Main St. in Visalia. Admission is $10. For more information, call 559-636-9463 or visit cellardoor101.com.