The universe is making music all the time

Younger Than Yesterday: La Vida No Vale Nada

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Calexico’s Sergio Mendoza reveals the album that has inspired his life in music.

Continuing our Calexico series of posts for our Younger Than Yesterday section is the contribution by Sergio Mendoza (piano). As well as being a regular touring Calexico member, Mendoza also fronts the incredible Tucson-based Sergio Mendoza y La Orkesta whose stunning fusion of styles (Latin, Cuban, psychedelia) has been dubbed “Indie Mambo.”  Witnessing the gifted composer perform live onstage with Calexico is a pure joy to savour, where his piano playing prowess wonderfully augments the Calexico songbook. 

Words: Sergio Mendoza, Illustration: Craig Carry


My favorite album is one by Cuban singer and poet Pablo Milanés, “La Vida no Vale Nada”.
It came at a time in my life when I was playing a lot of salsa and was looking for something new to inspire me. The arrangements are beautiful along with cool sounds coming from the guitars and keyboards.
The lyrics are amazing and helped me solve some important issues at the time.


Artist: Pablo Milanés
Title: La Vida No Vale Nada
Label: Areito / Movieplay
Year: 1976

Tracks: La Vida No Vale Nada; Para Vivir; A Salvador Allende En Su Combate Por La Vida; Llegaste A Mi Cuerpo Abierto; Hoy La Vi; Yo Pisaré Las Calles Nuevamente; De Niña, Aquellos Juegos…; Acuéstate, Hazme Sentir Y Derramarme En Cada Poro De Tu Cuerpo; El Tiempo, El Implacable, El Que Pasó; Canción Por La Unidad Latinoamericana.

Personnel: Pablo Milanés: Music & lyrics; Orchestra: Orquesta EGREM; Arrangement: Eduardo Ramos, Emiliano Salvador; Engineer: Jerzy Belc, Antonio López; Producer: Germán Piniella.


Calexico are touring extensively in Europe this summer, including appearances at Glastonbury, Roskilde, North Sea Jazz Festival and Latitude. New E.P. “Maybe On Monday” features alternate versions of “Maybe On Monday” and covers of The Replacements, The Call and Elvis Costello. The E.P. is available at Calexico’s merch table on tour and officially released on 29 June with digital release available now.

City Slang are currently streaming the “Maybe On Monday” E.P. here.

To check Calexico’s European tour dates please click here.

Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta’s debut studio album “Mambo Mexicano” is out now on Cosmica Records. 

Calexico’s “Algiers” is out now on City Slang (EU) and Anti (USA).


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  1. […] Burns (R.E.M. “Reckoning” & Minutemen “Double Nickels On The Dime”); Sergio Mendoza (Pablo Milanés, “La Vida no Vale Nada”); Martin Wenk (Clifford Brown’s “With […]

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