Bio

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Martha Gonzalez was born and raised in East Los Angeles and is a Chicana artivista (artist/activist), feminist music theorist and academic. Gonzalez earned a PhD in Feminism from the University of Washington Seattle. In addition, Gonzalez holds an undergraduate degree in Ethnomusicology from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

Her academic interest in music has been fueled by her own musicianship as a singer and percussionist for East L.A’s Quetzal for the last 17 years. Quetzal has made considerable impact in the Los Angeles Chicano music scene. The unique blend of East Los Angeles sounds as well as the social justice content in the work has sparked dialogue and theoretical work among various artist communities, culture theorists, and scholars across the country, Mexico and Japan. The relevance of Quetzal’s work has been noted in a range of publications from dissertations to scholarly books, most recently Patricia Zavella’s I’m Neither Here Nor There: Mexicans’ Quotidian Struggles with Migration and Poverty (Duke University Press, 2011). As a result, the U.S. Library of Congress and Kennedy Center extended an invitation to perform and speak in September of 2011 as a part of their “Homegrown” music series. The traveling exhibit “American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music” sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute, featured Quetzal as leaders and innovators of Chicano music. This feat coupled with their Grammy Award winning album on the Smithsonian Folkways label “Imaginaries” marks the importance of her past and ongoing work.

As a musician, Gonzalez has collaborated, and/or toured with artist such as Los Lobos, Los Van Van, Jackson Brown, Susana Baca, Perla Batalla, Jaguares, Ozomatli, Jonathan Richman, Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, iCubanismo!, Taj Mahal, Tom Waits, Los Super Seven, Lila Downs, Raul Malo, Rick Treviño, Son De Madera, Relicario, Chuchumbe Charanga Cakewalk, The B-side Players, Teatro Campesino, Aloe Blacc, Maya Jupiter, and Laura Rebolloso. In these ways music pedagogy and transnational music movement experience has influenced Gonzalez’s scholarship.

Gonzalez was awarded a Fulbright Garcia-Robles fellowship (2007-08) for her research on transnational musical social movements across the Americas and Europe, with a specific focus on innovations of women in the music and dance of the fandango culture. She is also the recipient of the Doman Award for Excellence in Teaching as well as a Ford Dissertation Fellow and Dean’s Arts Medalist for the 2012-2013 scholastic year.

The promise of Gonzalez’s scholarly work has been recognize through publication in various academic presses. “Sonic (Trans) Migration of Son Jarocho Zapateado: Rhythmic Intention, Metamorphosis and Manifestation in Fandango and Performance” given at the international conference “Corn Bread and Cuchifritos”: Ethnic Identity Politics, Transnationalization, and Transculturation in American Urban Popular Music” was later published in an edited volume based on the conference. In addition “Intersectionality in Context: Three Cases for the Specificity of Intersectionality from the Perspective of Feminists in the Americas,” was co-authored with my colleagues Rebecca Clark and Sara Diaz for an anthology emerging from the International Conference for Young Academics titled Race, Class, Gender as Categories of Difference and Inequality: Which Perspectives Arise from the Concept of ‘Intersectionality’ for Human and Cultural Sciences? held at CIERRA University of Erfurt. Paris, France. Gonzalez’s essay in Dancing Across Borders: Danzas y Bailes Mexicanos, entitled: “Zapateado Afro-Chicana Fandango Style: Self Reflective Moments in Zapateado” was included in the first Chicana/o focused dance edited volume published by an academic press. In addition while completing her graduate course work The Seattle Fandango Project (an extension of Fandango sin Fronteras) became the model upholding the theoretical arguments concerning transnational music and social justice movements. As a result and interest in Seattle Fandango Project as a model community music project, led to a co-authored publication with the School of Music Faculty and Ethnomusicology Chair, Professor Shannon Dudley entitled “The Seattle Fandango Project” for Harmonic Dissidents Magazine in 2009 and a TedX Talk in Seattle Center.

Gonzalez’s Fulbright research project, which has come to be known as Entre Mujeres: Feminine Translocal Music Composition was released in the Summer of 2012 as a CD compilation. This release was accompanied by a multi-media performance/lecture tour funded in part by The Mellon Foundation John E. Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Cultures. In conjunction, a theoretical analysis of Entre Mujeres project entitled, “ ‘Mixing’ in the Kitchen: Entre Mujeres (Among Women) Translocal Music Dialogues” is scheduled for publication in Performing Motherhood on Demeter Press in the Summer of 2013.

Finally, as a testament to the body of music and community work Gonzalez has accomplished on and off the stage, in the summer of 2014 Gonzalez’s tarima (stomp box) and zapateado shoes were memorialized in the National Museum of American History.

Gonzalez is currently an Assistant Professor in the Intercollegiate Chicano/a Latino/a Studies Department at SCRIPPS/Claremont College. She lives in Los Angeles with her partner Quetzal and ten year-old son Sandino.

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