Collective Songwriting in Boyle Heights

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Justice Never Dies Lyric Video by Quetzal

As we rebuild the world around us As others still fight and die We keep doing all we can “We don’t just survive We wanna thrive!” Music by Quetzal @quetzalmusic, @quetzaleastla Artwork by Jose Ramirez @joseramirezart Recorded and Mixed by Alberto Lopez @belumusic at TropicoUnion Studios @tropicounion Video by Sara Aguilar @cipotapower and Quetzal Flores Martha Gonzalez-vocals @marthafromquetzal Sandino Gonzalez Flores-backing vocals Tylana Enomoto-violins @trenku Quincy McCrary-keyboards and vocals @qemistrymusik Quetzal Flores-guitars @quetzalmusic Juan Perez-bass Alberto Lopez-percussion @belumusic Evan Greer-Drums @evancristo Letra En Español Abrázame. Conforme estalle la bomba Abrázame. Mientras las flores mueren Bésame cuando el río se seque […]

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Chican@ Artivistas: Music, Community, and Transborder Tactics in East Los Angeles by Martha Gonzalez

Chican@ Artivistas: Music, Community and Transborder Tactics in East Los Angeles

My new book; Chican@ Artivista: Music, Community and Transborder Tactics in East Los Angeles will be out soon. Check out the blurb on UT Austin press (July 27th, 2020). As the lead singer of the Grammy Award–winning rock band Quetzal and a scholar of Chicana/o and Latina/o studies, Martha Gonzalez is uniquely positioned to articulate the ways in which creative expression can serve the dual roles of political commentary and community building. Drawing on postcolonial, Chicana, black feminist, and performance theories, Chican@ Artivistas explores the visual, musical, and performance art produced in East Los Angeles since the inception of NAFTA […]

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Excited to be a new Fellow for the Digital Humanities @ the Claremont Colleges going on all week!

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A de Activista

A is for Activist

I am honored to have completed the Spanish adaptation for A is for Activist by Bay area artists/author Innosanto Nagara. The Spanish adaptation of this critically acclaimed children’s book continues to uphold the politically conscious views of the original work. As an Artivista and mother of eight-year old Sandino, I believed in instilling progressive ideas into my son’s mind at an early age. As far as I was concerned, he was never too young to understand the importance of equal rights and social justice.

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Perspective: Top Grad Students Honored

2013 was a big year for Martha Gonzalez. In addition to earning a PhD in gender, women and sexuality studies, she was honored with an A&S Graduate Medal and a Grammy Award. The Graduate Medal and Grammy have more in common than one might assume, since Gonzalez’s music—her band, Quetzal, won the Grammy for Best Latin Pop, Rock or Urban Alternative Album—is inspired and informed by her scholarly work.

Gonzalez’s PhD dissertation, “Chican@ Artivistas: East Los Angeles Trenches Transborder Tactics,” concerns the development of Chicana music in East Los Angeles from the 1990s to the present. “In addition to music theory and Chicana feminist theory, I was surprised and blown away by Martha’s use of feminist development theory [in her dissertation],” comments Priti Ramamurthy, chair of the Department of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies.

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David Jewelz Photo at Little Temple

The Grammy and the Graduate Student: Melding Music and Scholarship

Academic fellowships are prestigious; and for graduate students who earn them, fellowships can help set the stage for illustrious careers. They are competitive. They come with money. They have titles like Fulbright and Ford.

But what really impresses people in and out of the academy is a Grammy Award—something that UW graduate student and Grammy winner Martha Gonzalez discovered at a job interview shortly after she took home the gold.

“Usually, when I talk about my music, people are like, ‘Yeah, yeah, that’s nice.’ But upon mentioning the Grammy her band won, eyebrows shot up.

“This time, they were all, ‘What? Really?'” she said. “They know Fulbright. They know Ford Foundation. But the Grammy seemed to get more of a reaction.”

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The Price of Women’s Immigration

“The impact of immigration on the lives of women and children is rarely discussed,” said Radcliffe Dean Lizabeth Cohen as she opened the “Crossing Borders: Immigration and Gender in the Americas” conference last Thursday.

Day one of the conference began with a concert by Quetzal, a Grammy Award-winning rock band from East Los Angeles whose music takes up the social and political stories of struggling people; singer Martha Gonzalez participated in the opening night panel discussion. The conference tackled transnational identity, reproductive law, and the influence and impact of American society on immigrant children.

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Quetzal Wins 2013 Grammy for “Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Abum” for Imaginaries

Quetzal, the L.A. band that weaves together funk, rock and regional Mexican folk-music varietals such as son jarocho, has won the Grammy for Latin rock, urban or alternative album.

Quetzal won for its release “Imaginaries” (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings), a characteristically ambitious foray into cumbia, neo-’80s-style R&B, Cuban charanga and Brazilian pandeiro, charged with the band’s collectivist political passion. It is the band’s first Grammy.

Quetzal was one of a number of L.A. bands to emerge from the cultural trial-by-fire of L.A.’s 1992 riots, along with such other Chicano fusionists as Ozomatli, Lysa Flores and Aztlan Underground.

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Seattle Fandango Project

The Seattle Fandango Project is dedicated to community building through participatory music and dance. SFP takes as its original model the fandango celebration of Veracruz, Mexico, in which music, singing, and dancing are used to generate a spirit of convivencia — living/being together — that helps build communication and trust.

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