Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Entre Mujeres Se Puede

Las fundadoras, Laura Rebolloso and Martha Gonzalez.
When the lead singer of my favorite band comes a-calling for a special request to write about her new project, there is no way a super-fan can say no! As much as we are hounded to death to financially support everyone else's jogathon, spring break trip to Nepal, or buy magazines from guitar-playing Xanax junkies, once in a while comes a project that you wish you could fully fund on the spot. Alas, being $9,980 short, I'm doing my part and blasting this far and wide.

Aside from being a Chicana singer/songwriter extraordinaire for the band Quetzal, Martha Gonzalez is also one educated chica. In 2007, Martha was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to head to Veracruz and write songs from a feminine perspective along with collaborator Laura Rebolloso, founder of Son de Madera, a son jarocho group in Veracruz. There Martha and other local women musicians gathered around kitchen tables and living rooms, multitasking songwriting with caring for their children, cooking, and communing with each other. The new feminine jarocho movement was taking shape and the sounds and energy of this experience was captured by Martha using inexpensive, portable, sound-recording equipment. These recordings were brought back to Los Angeles where Martha solicited fellow Angeleno women musicians to add their own flavor to the mix including Rocio Marron, Martha's sister Cava, La Marisoul of La Santa Cecilia, Maya Jupiter, and others. With all the music captured digitally, the call now is to raise funds to mix, master, and press 1,000 copies of the Entre Mujeres CD.

Like Entre Mujeres on Facebook at Facebook.com/EntreMujeresMusic and click on the Kickstarter link here: Kickstarter.com/projects/mgonzalez/entre-mujeres-translocal-musical-dialogues

Las translocal colaboradoras
Performance artist and musician, Maria Elena Gaitan, aka Chola Con Cello, puts the project into perspective, "All of these women are brilliant musicians. Just one or two generations ago, women (let alone Chicanas/Latinas/Mexicanas) had no access to this level of cultural production. It was always hidden, unrecognized, silenced, diminished, limited to playing at home for family gatherings." Even more reason to back this project! It's a do-it-yourself time in history. No one else is going to fund this project. If we as a community can't spare $10 then we're doomed to leave no rich legacy behind for our children and future generations. When our great-grandchildren write their history reports on life in 2012 Los Angeles, what will they say? Chicanos were on Facebook but didn't tweet much except for their leaders Lalo "La Cucaracha" Alcatraz (misspelling included) and I-love-tacos Arellano and some guy named Mexican Mitt. Nothing against these guys, we love them mucho- mucho- mucho- but let's show that women were active, empowered, and self-sufficient in 2012! Let's do this for our daughters (cue the waving flag, patriotic music, and picture of sad wide-eyed Chicanita), our mom's comadres who treated us like their own, and for our abuelitas who were always more than happy to give us their last peso and blessing. Besides, I bet the best tacos were had during the recording of these sessions, just sayin'.

Let us take a cue from Dresden Doll Amanda Palmer's Kickstarter campaign, "I hope you will join our Rock n Roll cause . . . this is the future of music  . . . this is how we fucking do it . . . we are the MEDIA." She raised over $1 Million for a new album, tour, and art exhibit! As the HuffPo article says (click link above) "which is an incredible milestone for the female performer." I find this statement sad, for a woman? Ouch! Women rock and women strum and sing, loud and soft and beautifully.

Can we do this? Are you in?

Read more about the project with this Q&A with Martha Gonzalez:

When did you first visit Veracruz?
I have visited Veracruz for many years. On and off for about 13 years or so. The first time I visited was because Quetzal (the band) was invited to El festival Afro-Caribeño. We had however been listening to tapes and CDs of groups that we knew had something to do with El Nuevo Movimiento Jaranero.

What drew you to Veracruz and not, say, Jalisco or an Indigenous reservation in the US?
The music of the son jarocho, and specifically the participatory music and dance practice called the fandango that generates the music of the son jarocho.

Why do you think the jarocho community is more invested in its women than other similar communities?
I don’t think that. I guess I just see so much power there and wanted to engage it on a more intimate level. Songwriting is as intimate as you can get.

Was it easy for the women involved from both sides to open up and trust each other?
Not always. I think they knew my work as a singer for Quetzal, but most importantly I think that for the most part we had already been acquainted through fandango practice. I have practiced in this way many times.

What are the topics of the songs created? Where there common themes that arose or common struggles?
Most of the topics revolve around love. Love for family, for our children, partners, for ourselves. But also childbearing, birthing process etc.

Do you plan on touring to promote the CD?
Yes. I hope. That is the plan.

What happens after the CD is out?
I wanted to not just have it in my files, I want to promote it and possibly find a way to get some grants to put together a mini tour.

What are the names of all the women involved?  
In Mexico: Laura Rebolloso-Cuellar, Kali Niño and Alec Dempster (Café con Pan), Wendy Cao Romero and Tacho Utrera (Los Utreras), Gisella Farias Luna and Gilberto Gutierrez (Mono Blanco), Annahi Hernandez (Son De Madera), Djael Vinaver, Karina Gutierrez-Rojo, Silvia Santos (Hikuri), Violeta Romero (Los Utrera), Rubi Osegura Rueda (Son De Madera), Raquel Vega (Los Vega/Caña Dulce Caña Brava).

In the U.S: Rocio Marron, Tylana Enomoto (Quetzal), Claudia Gonzalez-Tenorio (CAVA), Angela Flores, La Marisoul and Gloria Estrada (La Santa Cecilia), Laura Cambron (Son Del Centro), Maya Jupiter, Carolina Sarmiento (Son Del Centro), Marissa Ronstadt(Monte Carlo 76/The Know it Alls), Shirley Alvarado-del Aguila and Hook Herrera, and Xochi Flores.

Are they all full-time musicians or do they have other occupations? 
Most are not full-time musicians. They are mothers, sisters, workers in varying fields. Like radio shows, teaching, schools etc.

What would be the top 5 words of jarocha/chicana wisdom to women in the US?
I can't decide that alone. And I don’t know if I’ve really figured that one out. lol


4 comments:

  1. Great article and blog layout. Makes me want to get out there and write a song or two. Its great for local artist to collaborate and give voice to other artists from Mexico. Love and Expression for Music has no boundaries.

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  2. Thanks Richard! They are truly inspiring!

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  3. Yaya! You are my hero!! Te quiero mucho gracias for being such a great writer! And for taking the time to cover this important project!!!
    I love your blog!!

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