Latina Activist And DJ Drops The Cumbia Mix You Didn’t Know You Needed

Zacil Pech, a.k.a. DJ Sizzle, recently dropped a cumbia mix for the soul. If you’re feeling more emotionally drained than you should be —  as I was when I stumbled upon the mix on SoundCloud the other week — this music is for you. As I cleaned and picked up around the house, I felt as connected as someone living in the diaspora can feel. I felt embraced, understood.

Along with the mix, Pech wrote:

“Friends, if your Monday was anything like mine (slapped me in the face) check out this mini Cumbia mix I made con mucho amor y sazon <3 Enjoy some of my favorite Cumbia tracks while you clean your house, at the gym, or at werk!”

An old friend first introduced her to the DJ scene, yet her love of music has kept her hooked. But she’s more than a burgeoning DJ. The Boyle Heights activist, born in Costa Grande de Guerrero, Mexico, founded Defend Boyle Heights, an “anti-gentrification collective devoted to community and our hood.” You might see her getting arrested and standing in solidarity with local advocacy for our undocumented hermanas/hermanos, immigrants, laborers, and LGBTQ folks.

When I asked Pech what inspired her to do the mix. She said that she was heartbroken to see her friends go through rough times. She wanted to remind us that we are strong:

“We forget that we are resilient beings. Music can help (even if it is a tiny bit) to remind us of that.”

Being a Latina in a male-dominated industry can also be rough, and the healing powers of music is a reminder to herself, as well, that her work matters. The first tracks take the listener on a journey where women are feeling some type of way about being used and heartbroken, but Pech says that “then Celia comes into tell us, ‘Hey, come on! Chin up bellxs. Don’t cry. Life is beautiful and you’re not alone!’” As far as who she was thinking about when she made her list, Pech was quick to say:

“There is nothing I love to see more than my Momma dance to my music. My Jefita gets down!”

This mix helped me get through that strained Monday when I discovered it. That morning, when I met some of my closest friends for breakfast,  I played it and I rejoiced in it. I think that’s the point.

As Pech says, to blast this music is to “Resist by playing music native to our tierras, resist by blasting your and your ancestor’s cultura through speakers, resist by taking up space and dancing to your ancestors beats.”

The mix includes Selena, Janeth Guadalupe y Los Papis- Estupido, Sonora Dinamita, Aniceto Molina, Celso Pina, El General, and Celia Cruz. Blast it loud, and look out for a salsa mix, coming soon.

12 Reasons Why Latino Cousins Are Awesome AF


12 Reasons Why Latino Cousins Are Awesome AF


Even though I had two younger sisters growing up, I hung out with my cousins all the time as well, and we were all just as close.

Here are 10 reasons why Latino cousins are awesome AF:

1. They’ll make ridiculous music videos with you.

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Credit: Beyonce VEVO

One huge perk to growing up with a ton of Latino cousins is making ridiculous music videos with them. You know what it’s like: Dancing to Madonna or Selena (the little cousins had to be back-up dancers) and trying out “cool” editing tricks that never, ever worked.

2. You always have someone to share the latest and greatest family chisme with.

Credit: Univision

“Tía Tati did WHAT with WHOM?????”

3. When your actual siblings are annoying you, your cousins are there to hear you vent.

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Credit: Universal Pictures

Ahhh yes, the best thing about cousins. When your little sister is annoying the hell out of you, you can run to your older cousin and vent for hours. They are always the best ones to hang with when you are totally over your actual siblings.

4. You can get away with basically anything together. (Mwahaha!)

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Your parents can never yell at your cousins as much as they may have wanted to, so you can totally get away with stuff you normally wouldn’t be able to. Like staying out way later than your curfew, which when you were young, felt like the most badass thing ever.

5. You always roll squad deep at all times.

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Credit: United Artists

Whether it’s a quick trip to Target or a night at the club, you and your cousins go everywhere together. Move over Taylor Swift’s “squad” – they are no match for you and your familia.

6. You had zillions of sleepovers growing up.

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Even if your parents were strict about never letting you stay at friends’ houses, you were still totally a pro at having the perfect sleepover, because every weekend (and even some weeknights), you’d have sleepovers with your cousins. It always felt like a party, which is probably why it annoyed your parents so much.

7. Their opinions are always the most important to you.

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You still care the most about the opinions of your cousins. These people are your tribe! And when it comes down to it, what they think matters the most.

8. You don’t have to stress about who will be in your wedding party.

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Credit: Universal Pictures

While your friends have so much drama in their lives over who’ll be their bridesmaids or groomsmen, you can just sit back, have a beer, and relax. You’ve known who would be in your wedding party since you were 10. Ain’t no thang.

9. …Not to mention your quinceañera court!

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The 1,001 choreography practices just equal more time to hang out.

10. Growing up, you had partners in crime to help you get through life’s awkward or boring moments.

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Like church services that were so long and so exhausting or parties that lasted until 2 a.m., long after all the kids had nodded off on abuela’s couch. It’s always good to have someone to rest your head on and make it through.

11. You’ll weather all kinds of storms together.

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No matter what, you and your cousins have each other’s back. Always. (Because if not, you’ll never stop hearing about it from the rest of your family.)

12. Cousins are for LIFE. (Like, literally. Being family and all.)

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Credit: CW

Latina cousins are the best and anyone tells you that they aren’t can GTFO.

Read: 15 Things You Find At Every Quince

What’s your favorite part about having cousins? Let us know in the comments below!

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