Entertainment

11 Music Bands that Own the Streets of LA

Punk, cumbia, new wave, reggae — there’s a legion of Latino music bands from Los Angeles that are borrowing rhythms from all over the globe and making them their own. Here are 11 essential LA bands you should check out.

La Chamba Cumbia Chicha

La Chamba Cumbia Chicha
Photo Credit: The Get Down Collective / Facebook

They carve a Peruvian sound with an East LA twist and a band name that means “to put in work.” Think cumbia with guitar leads and heavy bass lines. A working-class message that is, as they put it, “adding a rhythm to the daily bustle of life.”

More: Facebook, Bandcamp

Las Cafeteras

Las Cafeteras
Photo Credit: Las Cafeteras / Facebook

This is an active group that has unapologetically created a hybrid sound of Son Jarocho, hip hop and pop. An East LA music scene staple with an infectious, politically conscious sound, Las Cafeteras have created a sound that crosses generational lines.

More: Official Site, Facebook

Chicano Batman

mituworld
Photo Credit: Josué Rivas / chicanobatman.com

Their most recent achievement is being added to the lineup for Coachella 2015. Led by Mexican-Colombian Bardo Martinez, their sound is probably the most experimental on this list. Blend romantic ’70s Latin American music with its heavy keyboard sound add a Pink Floyd feel and sprinkle with funk.

More: Official Site, Facebook

READ: Irene Diaz – From Trader Joe’s to Touring Musician

Thee Commons

Thee Commons
Photo Credit: Cristian Vargas / Facebook

With a new approach to an old vibe, this three-piece band brings an aggressive, stripped down sound — think cumbia channeling punk. A rebellious, youthful is sure to win over new fans; their covers of Selena and Los Caminantes are must-listens. With nine independent albums last year alone, their momentum keeps growing.

More: Facebook, Bandcamp

Viento Callejero

Viento Callejero
Photo Credit: Farah Stop / Facebook

This is the band that other bands go see. They are open to many sounds but the thread that binds them together is funk. Also a three-piece, the difference is that Viento Callejero have rotating singers, so the focus is the sound. The technique seems to be working for them as they are quickly gaining traction throughout the Los Angeles music scene.

More: Official Site, Facebook

Buyepongo

Buyepongo
Photo Credit: Buyepongo / Facebook

Mixing afro beats with hip hop swag, Buyepongo has been hitting the scene hard for a few years. If you’ve ever been to one of their shows, you know that the groove will have you dancing all night long. Hailing from Norwalk, Calif., this group keeps the party going well into the morning hours.

More: Official Site, Facebook

Boogaloo Assassins

Boogaloo Assassins
Photo Credit: Wendy Le / Facebook

The musical is in the bands’ name, boogaloo, a genre that took root in New York City. Thrown into this mix of 60s sounds are soul, salsa and other Latin rhythms. They’ve been active since 2007 and have a strong following throughout Southern California. It’s like having a slice of New York in Los Angeles.

More: Official Site, Facebook

Zapoteca Roots

Zapoteca Roots
Photo Credit: Zapoteca Roots / Facebook

Reggae meets Sonidero. What sets this group apart is the it has created. The “Sonidero” sound is a Mexican type of cumbia that has many fans in LA, and Zapoteca Roots caters to them. They create a contemporary vibe that will bring back memories of family gatherings and quinceañeras.

More: Facebook, Twitter

ECNO (El Conjunto Nueva Ola)

ECNO
Photo Credit: ECNO / Facebook

ECNO has managed to turn New Wave ’80s classics into new cumbia mash ups. This Mexico City band hit the scene with a fury and acquired fans just as quickly. But they don’t consider themselves a cover band. They’re more interested in keeping the new wave melodies and giving the lyrics new life. Oh, and they wear luchador masks.

More: Official Site, Facebook

La Santa Cecilia

La Santa Cecilia
Photo Credit: La Santa Cecilia / Facebook

Perhaps the best known band on this list is Latin Grammy Award-winner La Santa Cecilia. They’ve come a long way from playing free fundraisers. Lead vocalist “Marisoul” has a voice that many have compared to classic rock icon Janis Joplin. An eclectic sound that covers a wide range of genres has been key to their success.

More: Official Site, Facebook

El-Haru Kuroi

El-Haru Kuroi
Photo Credit: El-Haru Kuroi / Facebook

This bossa nova-influenced trio has been under the radar but they’ve definitely got a of their own. They combine Mexican, Central American and African sounds and rhythms at a pace that echoes punk. This year they plan on expanding their fan base by taking their blistering sound to the midwest.

More: Official Site, Facebook

Read: Yes, Latinos Were Present During the Birth of Hip Hop

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