Entertainment

Abstrakto: How a Chicano from L.A. and a Hollywood Actor Learned to Make Beautiful Music Together

Meet Abstrakto.

ABSTRAKTO_revised

Their mission: to get your head nodding to their moody blend of cumbia, funk, reggae, dub and more.

#TBT Our first live performance at @PicnikPasadena on May 30, 2014. Who was there?

A video posted by Abstrakto (@abstraktomusic) on

Credit: @abstraktomusic / Instagram

Abstrakto is Asdru Sierra…

asdru-trumpet-abstrakto
Photo Credit: Angela Weiss / Getty

His voice (and trumpet playing) may sound familiar.

He’s a member of L.A. group Ozomatli…

Credit: KEXP / YouTube

Here he is getting down with OZO on the song “Cumbia de Los Muertos.”

And his partner, Balthazar Getty, probably looks familiar, too.

balt-getty-headshot
Credit: Michael Buckner / Getty

You’ve seen him in the movie Lord of the Flies and the shows Brothers & Sisters, Alias and Charmed. He’s also a member of the Getty family. They’re kind of a big deal.

So how did a Chicano from the Eastside of L.A. hook up with a wealthy Hollywood actor to start a band?

abstrakto-peace-high
Credit: Michael Bucker / Getty

Their kids grew up together.

Getty: “Our sons are the same age, just a few months apart, actually, and have been in school [together] since kindergarten. Now they’re both about to turn 15. I can remember very early on being on the younger side, in terms of parents, and then seeing Asdru, this kind of bad-ass rocker dude, and then figuring out very quickly who he was.”

Asdru: “It’s a trip because my early memories from first meeting him were, ‘Oh, you’re the guy from Lord of the Flies, man.’ Being one of the only two or three Mexican families in the school, he would see me and he would go ‘Ey, órale, que onda guey!'”

And Balthazar Getty isn’t just an actor. He’s been a beatmaker and producer for years.

Nada mas

A video posted by Balthazar Getty (@baltgetty) on

Getty’s band, Ringside, did the original version of this Enrique Iglesias hit:

Credit: Enrique Iglesias / YouTube

Whaaaaat?

wee-bey

After listening to one of Sierra’s solo tracks, Getty suggested they work together.

@asdrusierra & @baltgetty are ABSTRAKTO.

A photo posted by Abstrakto (@abstraktomusic) on

Asdru wasn’t sure if he was ready to step out on his own.

Look at the cool merch I got for my phone. Anyone want one? I'll hook you up, I got a bunch in my trunk #abstrakto

A photo posted by Abstrakto (@abstraktomusic) on

But Abstrakto found their groove.

Rehearsing….

A photo posted by Abstrakto (@abstraktomusic) on

Photo Credit: @abstraktomusic / Instagram

Asdru: “Balthazar has a passion. He’s one of those guys that really passionately believes in what I did. It’s like a music art gallery for what I do. He made it possible for me to do that, that’s really fucking awesome.”

Getty: “He knows that I’m a beast in the studio and he knows that it’s my medium, which is drum machines and keyboards and stuff. That’s what I do and he’s known that for a very long time. When we were ready to rock I was like, ‘Let’s do this.’ And he was like, ‘Hell yeah.'”

Asdru: “[Getty] did what a director does. He directed. He helped me focus. I would get stuck in a creative hole and he would dig me up.”

The result is a self-titled debut full of brooding, cinematic tracks.

Credit: purplehausmusic / YouTube

Abstrakto believe their self-titled debut is the soundtrack to a movie that hasn’t been written yet. Getty says it feels like the music to a Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez film. Asdru says it could be an Alejnadro González Iñárritu movie.

Asdru: “The world will see the definition of anything through a really good film. You wanna have somebody really understand you? Create a movie and explain it really well. Have it as a testament to what really is, like real journalism … music is good journalism. It shows the way things are, with more feelings and more emotion.”

They’re not afraid to get dark…

Credit: purplehausmusic / YouTube

Asdru: I grew up in Glassell Park. It’s so weird to go back to Echo Park and there’s like white people taking pictures. I remember it was emptied out all the time, with drugs. My brother in particular, the one I write about in my music was caught up in that. I saw a lot of violence, a lot of friends murdered. A lot of guns, AK 47’s. I knew more about guns back then as kids do now. Now the reason my kid knows what it is because of video games. I knew because the kid next door had one and he didn’t know how to shoot it.

Whenever there was a drive-by, my dad would say, ‘Al suelo’ – ‘To the floor.’ I would hear the shots almost every single day. I would just put on my headphones and try and to drive it out. Not as a form of escape, but as a form of release. This record, Abstrakto, is the kind of music you listen with your headphones.

But they also want to make you move.

Now they’re ready to spread their word.

 abstrakto-performing-live

Photo Credit: Vivien Killilea / Getty

Getty: “I’m as excited about this as I’ve been about anything and I believe we can touch people all over the world, from Ibiza to Mexico City. It feels that it’s universal; it’s global. People that don’t speak a word of Spanish are thinking, ‘This shit’s crazy.’ From Armenian drivers to guys in Italy on the beach to beat heads in L.A. to, you name it. I have played this record all over the world and nobody needs to speak the language. You get it.”

What kind of movie would you direct to the music of Abstrakto? Let us know in the comments below. 

Chiquis And Becky G Release Video For Spanish-Language Version Of Dolly Parton’s Hit Song ‘Jolene’

Entertainment

Chiquis And Becky G Release Video For Spanish-Language Version Of Dolly Parton’s Hit Song ‘Jolene’

ChiquisOnline / YouTube

Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” is arguably one of the most iconic songs in American music. We have all heard bits and pieces of the song growing up because it is just that iconic. After almost 50 years, “Jolene” has another Spanish-language cover brought to us by Becky G and Chiquis.

Spanish-speaking country music fans have a new cover to celebrate.

Becky G and Chiquis have released the music video for their Spanish-language cover of the American classic song “Jolene.” Originally released by Dolly Parton in 1973, “Jolene” is one of those songs that have become a timeless classic of American music.

Country music is quickly becoming a favorite genre in the Latino community. There has been a 25 percent increase in Latino support of country music. When you consider how many Latinos live in the south in states like Texas, it kind of makes sense.

Rolling Stone magazine claimed that it was the first Spanish-language cover of the song.

The magazine got called out on Twitter after claiming that this was the first Spanish-language cover of “Jolene.” The cover by regional Mexican music divas Becky G and Chiquis is good but it is not the first.

The first Spanish-language cover of “Jolene” is by Las Chicas del Can.

The Dominican group recorded “Youlin” in 1985 and the merengue take on the song is really fun to listen to. The version from the girl group is a very different take and feel on the song as compared to Becky G and Chiquis. The two songs are very different and both are very fun to listen to.

Either way, fans of country and regional Mexican music are here for this.

The music video is an animated rollercoaster with Becky G and Chiquis playing tough mujeres doing their thing. The music video is set up like a comic book because we all know that the most amazing superhero stories are comic books. Tbh, these two looked perfect in their tough acting roles.

If you want to listen to the original “Jolene,” here it is.

Truly, this will probably remain one of the greatest American classics of all time.

READ: Becky G Performs Tribute To Selena At San Antonio Concert

Conciencia Collective Is Bringing Together Artists To Tackle The Real Issues

Entertainment

Conciencia Collective Is Bringing Together Artists To Tackle The Real Issues

goyocqt / rafapabonmusic / Instagram

Conciencia Collective is bringing together some of the biggest names in entertainment to tackle some of the biggest issues. The Black Lives Matter protests have led to some long-needed change to police in Black and brown community. Afro-Latinos have been in the fight against the police brutality mixed with the anti-Blackness from fellow Latinos. On June 26, three Afro-Latinos will discuss the movement and the need to ensure that Black Lives Matter.

Check out the discussion today on YouTube, Conciencia’s Facebook, or mitú’s Facebook.

The death of George Floyd has ignited a fight for Black lives that we haven’t seen in a long time.

Thousands of people have been protesting against police brutality and are demanding a change to policing in the U.S. The protests have been ongoing for weeks and they are creating change. States and cities across the country have started to reduce funding for police departments. Congresspeople and senators are calling for a federal change to policing in the U.S. through legislation.

Major corporations have joined social media solidarity in support of Black Lives Matter. People are now holding those corporations accountable. Protesters want to see these same corporations follow through and offer resources to help in the fight.

Gloria “Goyo” Martínez, the Afro-Colombian singer, will be there to discuss the movement in Latin America.

The singer from ChocQuibTown wrote an open letter addressing the death of George Floyd. She did not hold back when she talked about the racism she was seeing from people in Latin America in the face of the violence.

“The great reality is that there is no racial equality in the United States or Latin America,” Goyo wrote. “I saw many comments, hundreds of people normalizing the subject saying, ‘But this also happens to white people,’ ‘But black people are criminals,’ ‘Maybe if they dressed like normal people,’ ‘They’re just hurt’ or ‘You are the racists by posting messages that only produce more pain.'”

Goyo is a big proponent of education leading the way to an anti-racist and more accepting future.

“It’s clear to me that ethno-education (or cultural and intercultural education) is the path to becoming antiracists. Learning about other cultures is important for understanding the context in which we are living,” Goyo says. “There are Afro-Latinxs, who because of a lack of education on this subject, don’t know their history, nor do they identify as Afros until they leave their countries and are discriminated for being Latinxs and for being Black. If many Afro-Latinxs are unaware, imagine a white/mixed music industry making decisions based on misguided marketing studies, which exclude and stereotype based on skin color. In Latin America, there aren’t real statistics on the Afro population. Knowing the situation that more than 100 million Black people live in would help in understanding the issue, there is a lot of history and many organizations have been working on racism. Today continue to raise their voices. Continuing to speak openly would help industries not to reinforce racist stereotypes, to continue to close the doors that are opened thanks to talent.”

Rafa Pabón is another voice on the panel this week.

The trapero is calling for a unity in the Latino community to fight against the racism that is plaguing every aspect of society. Pabón wants to know that protesters and BLM supporters are not backing down from fighting against racism.

“It is important that we mobilize and use our voices. We cannot normalize this kind of situation. Racism is inhuman and I have never understood it. We have to fight together against institutional racism,” Pabón says. “There is still so much to do, Floyd is one of so many cases, we cannot stop fighting for justice.”

Sociologist Aurora Vergara-Figueroa will be the moderator of the event.

Aurora Vergara Figueroa is the director of the Afrodiasporic Studies Center (Centro de Estudios Afrodiaspóricos) at Icesi University in Cali, Colombia. The Afro-Colombian scholar holds a Ph.D. from the Sociology Department of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She concentrated on the sociological study of Afro-Colombians deracinated from the Colombian Pacific coast and the long durée of land dispossession in the world-system. Recipient of the LASA/OXFAM America 2014 Martin Diskin Dissertation Award, Vergara-Figueroa develops research on the Afrodiasporic feminist movement in Colombia. Vergara-Figueroa is currently working with Doctor Carmen Cosme Puntiel on a co-edited volume tentatively titled: Challenging Enslavement: Black Women’s Strategies of Resistance in Nueva Granada (Colombia), Venezuela, Brazil, and Cuba 1550-1900.

Her main research interests are Feminist Critique, African Diaspora Studies, Sociological Theory, Critical Race Theory, Political Economy, Political Sociology, and Comparative Historical Sociology.

We are Conciencia Collective, an alliance against racial and social injustice conscious of the need to create long-lasting and impactful changes. Comprising of +35 executives from the Latin music industry including activists, journalists, managers, publicists, lawyers, directors, on-air talent, and content creators who came together in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement to create awareness about racial and social injustice with the intention to educate our colleagues, artists, and peers of influence in order to gain their advocacy. Our ongoing initiatives also focus on the many issues affecting our Latin community.

READ: Model Joan Smalls Is Donating Half Of Her Salary To Black Lives Matter