Previously known as “Alicia Ya No Vive Aquí” (a tribute to Martin Scorsese‘s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore), the band took its final name from a coffee shop (el Café de Tacuba) located in downtown Mexico City. The cafe, which opened in 1912 and had its heyday in the 1940s and 1950s, was representative of the Pachuco scene at the time, something the band would later acknowledge as an influence. The Café de Tacuba is still in operation as a coffee shop and restaurant on Tacuba Street, in Mexico City’s Historic Center. The band changed its name to Café Tacvba (changing the u for a v) in order to avoid legal issues with the coffee shop.
Their musical style covers a wide variety of genres, though it is most commonly labeled as Latin Alternative/Rock en Español. Their music has been heavily influenced by Mexico’s indigenouspopulation and folk music traditions, but also by punk and electronic music and other bands on the Mexico City scene. Perhaps the most distinctive feature of their music is Albarrán’s nasal voice, which, combined with his impressive lung capacity (as demonstrated on “La Ingrata”, a homage of norteño music), makes for a very distinctive sound. They sing entirely in Spanish but have a significant Anglophone following regardless.
The song “Chilanga Banda” has a hip-hop beat under a stream of Mexico City slang originally written by Jaime López, “María” is a ‘bolero’ ballad about a street prostitute, “El Fin de la Infancia” abrass-heavy ‘banda ranchera’ sound that reflects the influence of ‘banda sinaloense’, “Desperté” has a tango-driven melody while “El Borrego” mocks speed metal.