Mento Buru brings multicultural sound to HolidayLights at CALM


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — If you’re driving through HolidayLights at the California Living Museum this year, you’ll be asked to turn on your radio.

You’ll hear, “Welcome to HolidayLights at CALM,” and then you’ll be treated to the stylings of Mento Buru.

The Bakersfield-born band will once again soundtrack HolidayLights with songs off of their EP, “East Bakersfield Christmas.”

“This is definitely a Christmas gift for Bakersfield,” lead singer Matt Munoz said. “Everything worked out great!”

The collection of six songs, released before last Christmas, is named for the birthplace of Mento Buru. The arrangements draw on the many musical influences members of the band hold dear.

“It really goes back to the music we heard growing up in our homes,” Munoz said. “Our band is very multicultural, so you’ve got a little rock-and-roll, you’ve got a lot of Latin music, you’ve got a lot of jazz, of course, a little bit of country influence.”

Drivers will hear classic songs like “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Feliz Navidad,” but these aren’t your classic arrangements.

“We had to Mento Buru-fy them,” Munoz said.

Mento Buru-fy.

What does that mean?

Basically, explains drummer Cesareo Garasa, it’s using all those influences to create something both recognizable and wholly unique.

“We find ourselves coloring the particular coloring book in different colors that wouldn’t normally be done, and sometimes we move the lines around,” Garasa said. “And in doing so, we change the character and the approach of the book itself.”

Munoz sees more Mento Buru-fying on the horizon — in time, he hopes, for future HolidayLights drive-throughs.

“Hopefully soon we’ll be able to record another half of the record, because the response has been so overwhelming, and we want everyone to enjoy it,” Munoz said.

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