Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas mix grooves from Detroit, Havana, and Mexico City | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas mix grooves from Detroit, Havana, and Mexico City 

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click to enlarge Jessica Hernandez

Jessica Hernandez

Taylor Bonin

Blessed with a dusky wail and a gift for raw, soulful phrasing, Jessica Hernandez has been serving up Motown-infused, retro-tropical sass with her band the Deltas since 2008. The group’s grooves create an unlikely hybrid of flavors from Detroit, Havana, and Mexico City, but Hernandez comes by that mix naturally: her dad is from Havana, and her mom is a Detroit-born Mexican American (together they own a restaurant and bakery on the city’s southwest side). The result is a surprisingly satisfying mix of Motor City grit, surfy psychedelic cumbia, and Latin rock, with a touch of punk cabaret that reflects Hernandez’s passion for photography, drawing, fashion, and theater. After the Deltas’ 2014 debut, Secret Evil (which includes a killer cover of Le Tigre’s “Deceptacon”), Hernandez more deeply explored her Latina heritage on their 2017 sophomore album, Telephone/Teléfono, writing English and Spanish versions of the songs—she took pains to ensure that each one could stand on its own, and some of the lyrics aren’t word-for-word or even thought-for-thought translations. Her recent single “Baby,” written with her husband, guitarist Kyle Straka, is a carefree retro disco-funk tune dedicated to their one-year-old daughter, Stella. The video matches the song’s vintage feel, with Hernandez dressed to the nines in glammy, glittery 70s fashion—and Stella makes a cameo appearance while her mom sings, “I feel differently, I’ve got my baby by my side.” Driven by Hernandez’s audacious charisma and potent vocals, the Deltas’ high-energy performances cast an unbreakable spell.   v

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