Fandango Jarocho Represents at This Year's Grammys

Free concert by nominees Quetzal and Los Cojolites + special appearances by members of Ozomatli and La Santa Cecilia, Feb. 9

By LatinoLA Contributor
Published on LatinoLA: February 2, 2013

Fandango Jarocho Represents at This Year's Grammys

This year, the 55th Annual Grammy Awards, to be held on February 10th at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, includes three nominees -- Quetzal, Los Cojolites, and Sistema Bomb -- in the Latin genre, that share a unique connection. They each have Grammy nominations for their albums that all showcase fandango jarocho music from Veracruz, Mexico.

Quetzal and Los Cojolites recognize that this is the first time the Grammys include several nominations for fandango jarocho-influenced albums, and they are celebrating this honor by uniting for a free concert on February 9th, at 8:00 p.m., at Breed Street Shul, located at 247 North Breed Street, EAST Los Angeles, CA 90033. Performances include Quetzal, Los Cojolites, and special appearances by members of Ozomatli and La Santa Cecilia.

Event info here: https://www.facebook.com/events/245046518962456/

The organizer of the event, Quetzal, is an East L.A. born band that is sometimes described as a rock band, yet beyond traditional rock, its members draw from a large web of musical, cultural, and social engagement. Quetzal's latest album Imaginaries (Smithsonian Folkways Records), nominated for Best Latin Rock, Urban, or Alternative Album, creatively combines shades of East L.A.'s soundscape, traditional son jarocho, salsa, R&B, and more to express the political and social struggle for self-determination and self-representation, which ultimately is a struggle for dignity.

The free concert, to be held on the eve of the Grammys, is sponsored by MusicianCorps, The Breed Street Shul Project, Guadalupe Custom Strings, and hosted by Cal-State L.A. Liberal Studies Professor Victor Viesca, Quetzal's lead singer Martha Gonzalez, and UC Santa Barbara Black Studies Professors Gaye Johnson and George Lipsitz.

The Breed Street Shul Project and MusicianCorps share an acute self-awareness of the Boyle Heights/eastside experience in multi-faceted ways, going back almost a century. Guadalupe Custom Strings is an East L.A. based business serving the music community since 1991.

Fandango Jarocho is a music and dance style that fuses Spanish, African and Indigenous music and dance, from the Mexcian Gulf Coast region. Los Cojolites' nomination for Best Regional Mexican Music Album, for their recording Sembrando Flores (Round Whirled Records) is particularly meaningful for jarocho music, because this is the first time in many years, if not ever, that a jarocho album is nominated in that category.

Martha Gonzalez of Quetzal, thrilled to share the event with Los Cojolites, said, "It's an important moment that marks the ongoing translocal musical dialogue between Jarochos/as in Mexico, Chicanos/as, and Latinos/as in the U.S. We can specifically see this dialogue and influence in the original music compositions by Chicanos/as in East L.A and how they have utilized the son jarocho in the music. We have all been connected through the fandango practice but also through the ongoing commitment we have to our communities by the projects we continuously create and engage in together. This influence can be traced all the way back to Ritchie Valens recording the son jarocho piece, 'La Bamba.' Los Lobos, who have won multiple Grammys, are also influenced by this music."

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