Yavapai College Performing Arts is closing out its fan-favorite Cabaret series with Sofrito & the Blues at 7 p.m. Friday, May 5, at the Jim & Linda Lee Performing Arts Center on Yavapai College’s Prescott Campus, 1100 E. Sheldon St., Prescott.

Sofrito & the Blues’ quartet is led by singer Carmen Elisa Cancél and Latin Grammy-winning musicians César Orozco on keyboards, Juancho Herrera on guitar, and Jainardo Batista on percussion and vocals. Cancél spoke with Across the Street ahead of their upcoming performance. The following interview was edited for length and clarity.

What does the name Sofrito & the Blues refer to?

Sofrito is the term for a cooking base that we use in all Latin cooking. It’s a mixture of onions, bell peppers, garlic, cilantro and a few other different things. So, when I needed to find a name for the band, I wanted to merge my two great loves, which are cooking and singing. So, that’s where that name came from. And since we play Latin jazz and blues music, I thought it was a clever way to put together the things that I love.

How did this band get started?

We started as a trio at a festival in New York City called the Voices of Diaspora Festival in 2021 and had such a great reception there, people wanted to know where they could hear us, what we had done prior and what we were doing. That was actually the first time I had performed since the COVID lockdown here in New York City. So, I didn’t have any great plans for this band but with people’s encouragement, we created a band that now actually is a sextet. We’re taking the quartet to Prescott and Cottonwood. But because of people’s feedback, we decided to go ahead and create a band. We’ve performed multiple times here in New York City since then.

What do you like most about

performing with this band?

At the time of the festival in 2021, the percussionist was my then “COVID” boyfriend, as my girlfriends called him. We had known each other for several years but a friend encouraged us to start hanging out during the lockdown. We started dating and he’s the percussionist for the band but he also was a wonderful singer in his own right and has different Latin bands here in New York City as a singer and percussionist. Since then, we got married last year in November. So I actually get to perform with my husband now. It has turned into a passion project of ours.

Tickets for Sofrito & the Blues are $55 general admission, which includes your seat, appetizers, desserts, coffee or tea and a cash bar.

The Ticket Office is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays. For reservations or more information, call 928-776-2000, or visit www.ycpac.com.

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