TITLE: Cantos de mi canton (Songs from My Home): Chicano Music from California
SPEAKER: Quetzal Quetzal (band), Agustin Lira and Alma
EVENT DATE: 09/14/2011
FORMAT: Video + Captions
RUNNING TIME: 71 minutes
TRANSCRIPT: View Transcript (link will open in a new window)
In a concert in celebration of Hispanic American Heritage Month, Agustin Lira and Alma & Quetza perform.
Speaker Biography: Standing on the shoulders of giants like Lalo Guerrero, Ritchie Valens, Cannibal and The Headhunters, The Brat, Los Lobos and many others, Quetzal has created a path that has earned them the recognition as "one of Los Angeles' most important bands" (L.A. Times). Quetzal has shared the stage with a diverse list of artists such as Los Lobos, Zack de La Rocha, Ziggy Marley, Los Van Van, Taj Majal, Daara J, Ruben Blades, Fishbone, Cubanismo, Littlefeat and Ozomatli. Led by Martha Gonzalez (vocals, tarima, chekere, congas) and Quetzal Flores (jarana, requinto doble, bajosexto, electric guitar), Quetzal plays music that is as rich and complex as their pluri-ethnic barrio experience. Since 2002 Quetzal has been central in facilitating a transnational dialogue between Chicanao musicians and artists from California and Mexicano musicians and dancers from Veracruz, Mexico. Quetzal most recently completed its fifth studio album, titled Imaginaries, to be released in early 2012 on the Smithsonian Folkways label.
Speaker Biography: Agustin Lira, a NEA National Heritage Fellow (2007), began his career in 1965, at the age of 19, when he co-founded the theater company El Teatro Campesino with Luis Valdez, during the Delano Grape Strike headed by Cesar Chavez. The company created songs and plays, performed at picket lines and rallies, and toured throughout the United States, demonstrating the power of artistic expression in uniting and inspiring the farmworker communities. Lira's powerful singing and socially relevant lyrics were at the heart of El Teatro Campesino and established his role as the preeminent musical voice of the early Chicano Movement. Since leaving Campesino, Lira has formed several other theater groups, composed music for films and recordings, and received numerous awards. Together with Patricia Wells Solorzano, Lira formed the musical group Alma in 1979. Alma features original compositions by Lira and is known for its mesmerizing duets, inspirational lead guitar playing by Wells, and incomparable, rhythmic bass by Ravi Knypstra. Alma blends Mexican, Latin American, American Folk and Afro-Cuban styles, creating a hybrid: Chicano music. Alma has performed throughout the United States, Mexico and Cuba, produced several recordings, and scored the music for the award-winning film documentary, "The Fight in the Fields: Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers' Struggle."