Especial Blog: December 2020

· Dec. 1, 2020, 2:00 pm

December 29, 2020

Comunidad Guest DJ: Jenna Manchego

Jenna Manchego
Photo provided by guest.

I feel like if you meet someone at an Itchy-O show it's a sign. Happy to have my my guest, Jenna Manchego, at such an occasion. Jenna does... all the things. An artist, but also a community organizer. An entrepreneur and also an investor. And many other things. Also, obviously a fire DJ by the playlist... dayum. Get to know Jenna better here, and check out 10 songs below!

What do you do in the Denver community?: 
I am an artist, entrepreneur, birthworker, and gardener. Currently, much of my time is spent growing my business. The main focus is connecting people with tools and resources to build generational wealth by breaking cycles of scarcity and societally designed ignorance about finances. Birthwork, rematriation, social justice actions, and mutual aid are other parts of my soul’s work, and all of these aspects of my life have become more integrated, especially with the unfolding events of this year. 

Tell me more about your background:
I was born and raised in southwest Denver, CO, in the Barnum neighborhood. Both of my great-grandmothers in my maternal lineage moved to Colorado as teenagers from so-called northern New Mexico. Because of colonization, assimilation, and how that manifested in my family through the years, I had to do a lot of my own digging about our true heritage, and history. 

After my great-grandmother Alicia Gallegos passed, everyone in my family had a different story about where we come from, and none felt accurate. Many romanticized our native ancestry while comfortably allowing our cultures and traditions to fade into obscurity. I only went to Pow Wows a few times as a child, and certainly didn’t practice any indigenous traditions growing up, with the exception of food preparation, which was an anchor for me in my journey of re-discovery. With the help of my cousin Malarie and some heavy lifting from our family in Utah, I was able to confirm our maternal last name was Candelaria (not their original name, but one of the first taken on from spanish settlers), and our family primarily lived in Abiquiu. My other great-grandmother’s family was from Questa, NM. Both areas are Pueblo territory, and in the early 1600’s when detribalization began, Abiquiu later became a Genízaro buffer settlement, where indigenous people from all over Turtle Island were brought to after being captured and enslaved. There is still so much more for me to uncover, learn, and confirm about my ancestry. It feels daunting, but is exactly the adventure and challenge my Spirit needs for the healing of my lineage. 

In learning more about my background, I’ve become more empowered in the ways I choose to engage in my local community. Since I was about 19 years old, I’ve volunteered in community gardening projects during different parts of the season, and this year in particular, developed a large garden from start to finish, with the help of my amazing friend Rayanna Schutt, and a tremendous amount of volunteers throughout the season during our social-distanced community work days. The majority of our harvest was donated, or offered at a low cost/sliding scale to people in our extended community. In birthwork, I’ve assisted with three births and one postpartum journey, while apprenticing with Melissa Ivey from 2017-2020, as well as doing self-studies. This summer I was asked to join a BIPOC centered birthworker collective to be able to serve new birthing families more comprehensively. I look forward to studying birthwork in greater depths from established indigenous teachers in the future (shout out to Pānquetzani, a.k.a. Indigemama, your courses are on my wishlist). I’ve also collaborated with many unaffiliated groups and mutual aid networks to provide food, masks, sanitary needs, tents, and survival supplies to our houseless neighbors throughout the pandemic. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the everyday people who’ve shown up to do what our governments won’t. The coming months and years seem to offer much potential in future collaboration and horizontal organizing of actions. 

Tell me more about your Latinidad:
With all due respect to others, and our individual journeys in reclamation and decolonization, I don’t identify with the terms “Latinidad”, “Latino”, nor “Mestizo” and ESPECIALLY “Hispanic”. I am Indigenous. I am also of european descent. I am of the colonized people, as well as the colonizer, while learning to transcend the binary of both. I do not subscribe to the casta system that created some of the language either. Each of these words were created by colonizers to lump all people from so-called North, Central, and South America, under one homogenous term. It’s one of the more subtle attempts at erasure. “Latin America” was played up by Napoleon III in the 1860’s, to show a shared heritage between France and Mexico before his attempted takeover of Mexico. 

In more recent times, it’s become apparent that the term Latinidad and its cultural umbrella can be rampant with anti-blackness, and not inclusive of those who are descendents of the African-Diaspora, as well as indigenous descendents. I also understand this term serves a purpose for the time being, as there aren’t other terms to encompass this concept, but part of that is because it’s impossible to talk about a unifying factor between all of the countries and regions attempted to be included in “Latinidad”, without the discourse of settler-colonialism. That is its own conversation, which would require more space than seems appropriate to open up now. 

Why does representation matter in your community work:
Seeing more urban Indigenous folks step into the work it takes to uncover and nourish our roots keeps me inspired and connected to the greater vision. Whether it’s financial education and empowerment, birthwork, mutual aid, or any other facet of my life, I seek to center BIPOC and QTPOC voices, experiences, and individual needs. Our collective of birth workers are predominantly black and indigenous, and we offer access to the same communities by subsidizing the cost from the families receiving care, through grants and donations. 

As an urban Indigenous descendant, who did not grow up immersed in any culture outside of “American” culture until I sought it out as an adult, having the opportunity to learn directly from wisdom keepers and people of similar heritage being willing to educate has been a lifeline for me. With the internet and social media, I’ve been able to cross-pollinate to many groups, as well as to individuals worldwide whom I may not have met as quickly without these tools. We are now able to leverage support and swift communication to, hopefully, help other people who feel disconnected from their ancestry tap into resources for learning and healing. 

What is one way the community can uplift Latin work/voices/art:
One way that the community can uplift “Latin” work is to research artists, creators, and community organizers from our Indigenous and Black communities and center them. Focus on people who have been marginalized by a lack of proximity to whiteness, and offer support through purchasing their creations, paying them for their labor, sharing their social media handles and stories, and more. Uplift black and indigenous voices that are also from Latin American countries, regardless if they speak Spanish or “look” the part.

December 24, 2020

Especial 12.23

Well, the end of the year is upon us and when I thought about creating one show to highlight some of the best music that came out this year... well. That wasn't going to happen easily. Instead, throughout the rest of this month, I'll be highlighting some of my favorite new Latin-made releases - with new artists, best returns, a local showcase, and checking out some amazing covers and collaborations.

Anoche, escuchamos todos grupos locales con musica nueva en 2020! A estos artistas les digo, estoy tan orgulloso de todos ustedes!

Check out some videos from a few of the local bands featured tonight:

The Mananas "Don't Think Your Love Has Given Up"
Lolita "Loca Por Ti"
2MX2 ft. Aja Black of the Reminders "Elevator"

...also last, a BRAND NEW single from Pink Hawks! "Alibi" is the third single this year, with cover art from local artist, Diego Florez:

It is amazing how much great music has been put out in our community this year. This show was by NO MEANS comprehensive - had to stick to an hour! Simply a small taste of what the Colorado scene has to offer.

Playlist:

The Mananas - Don't Think Your Love Has Given Up Single
Pink Hawks - Alibi Single
Debajo del Agua - Madrugada Mosiaco
Los Mocochetes - Rocks Single
2MX2 - Elevator ft. Aja Black of The Reminders Single
Neoma y Alkaloides - Perfil Single
Leon de las Florez - Sunshine Into Your Light Single
Eric & Kah Li - Jelly Single
Immigrant's Child - Maybe Immigrant's Child EP
Don Chicharron - La Carcacha Single
Machu Linea - Popstyle ft. Mica Ray HeXotica
Jessica Jimenez - Who Am I Single
Nina de Freitas - If I Lead (Will You Follow) Single
Inaiah Lujan - Ruby Single
Lolita - Loca Por Ti Single

Next week wraps up the year - the FINAL Especial of 2020, with some of the best Colaboraciones y Covers!

December 22, 2020

Comunidad Guest DJ: Jennie Hurrieta

(Photo: Courtesy of Alex Landau)
Jennie Hurrieta
Photo provided by guest.

One of the stand out buildings (in my opinion) on Santa Fe Drive is Su Teatro. At first glance, its because of the mural work done by Carlos Fresquez, but en realidad, it's because of what Su Teatro is - which is a hub of Chicano arts and culture. My guest DJ this week is an integral part of Su Teatro, and an all around ANGEL, Jennie Hurrieta. I met Jennie through Denver's music scene, dancing at Pink Hawks and Los Mocochetes shows. Jennie works at Su Teatro, and is an important part of the Chicano community in Denver. Learn more about Jennie, and check out 10 of her favorite tunes below!

What do you do in the Denver community:
I have been working at Su Teatro, a nonprofit Chicano theater company, for about five years doing their finances, as well as running the box office and the internship/work-study program.

Tell me more about your background:
I was born and raised in Denver. My mom's family is from El Paso/Juarez and my dad's family is from Southern Colorado and Michoacán. My family started out in the Westside of Denver but moved toward Littleton when I was around 7; my mom, an educator, wanted us to go to the best schools so off we went to the suburbs. It was hard to be a brown girl in a very white community - I took flight after high school, attended MSU Denver and now I am lucky enough to live back in the Westside just two blocks away from my grandpa and tia's house where my dad grew up. 

Tell me more about your Latinidad:
I am Chicana. I am the hyphen between Mexican-American. With a mother who speaks Spanish and a father who doesn't, I am the brown girl with a smile she hopes might hide the fact that she is only catching half the conversation. I was able to start exploring my Latinidad more in high school when I joined the La Raza Youth Leadership Institute, where I was able to be educated on things that I was completely unaware of, it was a game changer.

Why does representation matter in your community work:
Working at a theater company representation matters because it is important for brown people to see other brown people on stage. Too often have we been left out or cast-typed, but at Su Teatro, a majority - if not all the actors - in each production are brown.  We are able to show the stories of our community, with members of the community. In addition to being a theater company we are also a non-profit. We take on high school and college interns and give them a first look at a career in the arts, something they might not have thought about before, but now have experience to put on their resume. It matters to build up the youth in our community and have representation at all levels.

What is one way the community can uplift Latin work/voices/art:
The community can uplift our work, voices and art is through support. Support can come in many ways, through listening, responding, purchasing, showing up, tuning in, offering words of wisdom, I can go on and on. Just don't silence us. 

Follow Jennie on Instagram here.
Follow Su Teatro on Instagram here.

Decemeber 18, 2020

Musica Nueva: B.A.R.D.O.

Conocemos Bardo - he's released music in the past under Bardo Martinez, he's a part of one of our favorite bands here at Especial, and he's just an all around cool dude. Today begins a new chapter for Bardo, though - with a brand new solo single, and upcoming album. On his Instagram, with a still of the new music video, he writes:

BARDO is the name my parents gave me. It is now my NEW artist name/ no last name/ just BARDO.

"Take My Hand" is released today:

Hear the new single on Especial this Sunday at 6pm, and check out an interview with Bardo on the Indie 102.3 Instagram account on Tuesday evening, so don't miss it!

December 17, 2020

Especial 12.16 - Regresando a Especial

Well, the end of the year is upon us and when I thought about creating one show to highlight some of the best music that came out this year... well. That wasn't going to happen easily. Instead, throughout the rest of this month, I'll be highlighting some of my favorite new Latin-made releases - with new artists, best returns, a local showcase, and checking out some amazing covers and collaborations.

Anoche, escuchamos el regreso de algunos de nuestros grupos favoritos. A estos artistas les digo, bienvenidos de nuevo!

Here are some highlights:

Chicano Batman

The LA quartet, Chicano Batman, released their 4th studio album, Invisible People on May 1st, just ahead of what would have been tour for the band. A sonic shift and a shedding of past skin made for an album you couldn't ignore. This go 'round, vocalist and keys player, Bardo Martinez, penned each song, and sang each in English - a first for the band. The guys explored more sounds, and were happy to venture outside of their throwback sound. Lyrically, however, the album is Chicano Batman to it's core - Chicano vibras y medicina can be found throughout. I got to chat with the band just as the album was released, and they walked me through the creation of each song, which can be found here.

La Dame Blanche

Admittedly, 2020 was the year I was introduced to La Dame Blanche - and the single, "Cogelo Con Calma" is possibly still my favorite song released this year. Her new album, Ella, which was released in September, truly captured her trap Cubana sound. La Dame Blanche currently resides in Paris, but is originally from Cuba, she plays flute, and she mixes genres over a trap beat masterfully. I love the album in all the ways - there is not one boring song on it, it's a fun, poignant collection, and the album art's love por los cuerpos de las mujeres made for some of my favorite album art of the year as well.

Los Mocochetes

I was introduced to Denver's Los Mocochetes almost 3 years ago now (on what would have been Selena's birthday!), when they stopped through the CPR Performance Studio and introduced themselves to our audiences with 4 songs. I remember wishing they had recorded music out then, but all good things take time, and they were too busy playing almost 150 live shows hat year to get to it (and apparently that studio visit was some of their first recorded stuff). So after 4 years of winning multiple local awards (including Westword's best Latin or Funk band 3 years running), they're finally releasing that recorded stuff. And videos. And merch. And it wasn't because of the nature of 2020, they actually headed to Tuscon, Arizona, last September with Shawn King (of DevotchKa fame) to record. We're simply reaping the benefits of it now.

Honestly it was difficult crafting the playlist for this week, but damn. It's good.

Playlist

Alice Bag - Spark Sister Dynamite
La Dame Blanche - Cogelo Con Calma Single
Pink Hawks - Elote Single
LADAMA - Nobreza Oye Mujer
Helado Negro - Lotta Love ft. Flock of Dimes Single
Y La Bamba - La Ultima Vez Single
Los Mocochetes - Rocks Single
Chicano Batman - Color My Life Invisible People
Devendra Banhart - It's Not Always Funny Vast Oviod EP
Lolita - 5 Year Thing Single
Olmeca - El Cambio Single
Neoma y Lolabum - Cuando Quieres Jugar Conmigo Single
Gabriel Garzon-Montano - Aguita Aguita
Don Chicharron - El Diablo Single
Ana Tijoux - Antifa Dance Antifa Dance
Bomba Estereo - Dejame Respirar ft. Nidia Gongora Sonic Forest
Tropa Magica - Feels Like Tijuana Tripiando Al Infinito a Mi Recamara

Join me Sunday for a new single from Bardo Martinez (of Chicano Batman), and next week, continuing the look back on 2020 music with some amazing LOCAL releases - including debuting a brand new single from Pink Hawks!

December 15, 2020

Comunidad Guest DJ: Cal Duran

Cal Duran
Photo provided by guest.

I think the reason why I love Cal's artwork so much is because it's so ancestral - a key part of why he creates in the first place. I knew of Cal's work from long ago, but couldn't pin down why - but it was because he had shown at Pirate Art Gallery when it was still in the Northside, along with one of my closest friends. Today, you can find Cal in the studios at Re:Creative on Santa Fe, and you'll be seeing a lot more of him in the coming months. It's been a real gift getting to connect with Cal - and this playlist he made below? It's blowing my mind. Read more about Cal and check out his playlist below!

What do you do in the Denver community:
Artist, mud brother, connector to the past ones, star seed, and art educator for  a youth after school program at davarts.org

Tell me more about your background: 

I grew up in North Denver . My roots lay deep in the indigenous tribes of Colorado and New Mexico. I started  really focusing on art in high school. Needing to release and escape the moments in my life that felt unsheathed. When I was 17, my art teacher told me to start just applying to galleries in Denver. I also had an amazing mentor, Marie Gibbons - she was a member at Pirate Art Gallery in North Denver, a staple and gem in the community for 30 years. I applied, and got in as the youngest member they had, and I had my own solo show that year. I've been showing, teaching, collabing in the Denver arts community ever since always making sure I have a studio space and reaching out through creation. Art has the ability to heal and connect deeply to our culture and ancestors. 

Tell me more about your Latinidad:
 I identify as Mestizo mixed blood and honor all sides of my ancestors. I didn't really grow up with traditional Latinidad culture. My mom was adopted, and my dad in and out of my life. I had to rely on my intuition and calling from Spirit. Art allows me to tap into the imagination and see my roots clearly. I honor my Spanish side, I honor my Indigenous side, I honor my east Indian side - all of these connect and ride parallel within each other. It's been my journey to see how my cultures relate to each other as we are all Earth keepers of this realm. We just have to embrace it with open arms . 

Why does representation matter in your community work:
I knew when I was young , that I had to share my visions . Stories and images would appear like fast sparkles in my mind, and I'd pick them out and I'd see the stories of my ancestors calling me, guiding me like light in the dark. Art is my voice, visual art is my loud voice. A voice with out words. It is my duty to share my visions with others. Stories that have been stolen, traditions that have been erased. By making sure I create these images constantly and getting them out to the community makes me feel whole. Teaching our youth these same traditions is my legacy. It is important we as Latinidad mentors, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers that we make our presence and light shine now more then ever . If we come together and support one another we can see change. 

What is one way the community can uplift Latin work/voices/art: 
Support each other, praise one another, be happy for another's success, compliment each other, collaboration, purchasing, listening to each other's stories . Art is  not a competition - I see a lot of drama in our communities; when ego gets involved it causes fear, anger, hurt. If we do more uplifting, and spread our gifts and love we can uplift one another and share our passions.

Follow Cal Duran and his work here:
@volarduran
www.artbycal.com

December 12, 2020

Los Mocochetes "Rocks" Video Debut

The latest release from Denver’s Los Mocochetes is over four years old, but could have been penned this summer - inspired by unrest surrounding the murder of multiple Black citizens and the protests that followed fueled by police brutality. Not to mention rampant gentrification and political upheaval in our community and throughout the country. But, if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that these issues have just been freshly found by a minority of the population - boiling just under the surface, but a reality for many of the country’s marginalized communities. These issues are not new, but now, more than ever, the message needs to be heard.

Los Mocochetes, a Chicano funk band, create protest music you can dance to - and much of their catalogue is filled with catchy tunes that get stuck in your head and get you off your seat and on to the dance floor. 

“Rocks” is more of a call to action. Instead here, Los Mocochetes have crafted a tune that absolutely gets stuck in your head - but with the melodic flow telling the tale of police relations towards Black and Brown folks. You will want to get off your seat, but past the dance floor and out into the street. The tempo is slowed down so you don’t miss a word. It is an account of life in Denver and the United States that not only calls for action, but details why.

The video, directed by the band’s own Jozer Guerrero, is in honor of and celebrates the lives of George Floyd, Elijah McClain, Mike Brown and Breonna Taylor. Filmed on the streets of Denver, it also features the work of local muralist, Detour. The band is also raising funds for the family of McClain,who died from an injection of ketamine by Aurora police in August of 2019.

I got to speak with Joshua Randy Abeyta and Elias Garcia of the band ahead of the premiere via Instagram, and check out the video here:

December 10, 2020

Especial 12.9 - Bienvenidos a Especial

Well, the end of the year is upon us and when I thought about creating one show to highlight some of the best music that came out this year... well. That wasn't going to happen easily. Instead, throughout the rest of this month, I'll be highlighting some of my favorite new Latin-made releases - with new artists, best returns, a local showcase, and checking out some amazing covers and collaborations.

Anoche, escuchamos nuevas artistas - musicians and bands that released their first albums, EPs, or even single! A estos artistas les digo, bienvenidos a Especial!

Here are some highlights:

Lido Pimienta

Lido Pimienta's debut, full length album, Miss Colombia, was released on April 17th - one of my most listened to albums by far this year. Originally from Colombia, she now resides in Canada. Everything she's shared with the world this year is absolutely stunning. Obviously, her music is captivating and mesmerizing, but the visuals she crafts to go along could stand alone. She presents herself fully and authentically, and I appreciate her sharing her work with us.

Nada, featuring Li Saumet (of Bomba Estereo) has been one of my favorites visually and musically this year:

Buscabulla

After residing in New York City for years, the husband and wife duo, Buscabulla, returned to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Their debut, full length album, Regresa, is a catchy and danceable collection that documents their return to their home. I got to catch up with Raquel Berrios and Luis Alfredo Del Valle back in May, after the release of the album, which you can find HERE.

Immigrant's Child

I was just introduced to Denver's Immigrant's Child at the end of November but I'm already mesmerized. I am so excited to see where this band goes. Thankfully, they were the first guests on the newly founded Salt Lick Sessions, with Songs From the Pond (the name of the studio is The Pond). Get to know the local band better here, and check out their new, self titled EP - out now!

I was also able to debut a brand new single from Denver's Leon de las Florez, who released his debut solo EP, El Leon Se Salio, in August. Tonight though, a never before heard tune he recorded in one night.

We also checked out a tune from the latest Comunidad Guest DJ with Alejandro Flores-Muñoz, which you can see fully below.

Playlist:

Natalia Laforcade - Una Vida Single
Pahua - Vayayo Single
Immigrant's Child - Maybe Immigrant's Child EP
Nelson D - A Grande Revolta Em Sua Propria Terra
Buscabulla - NTE Regresa
Carabobina - Em Dezombro Carabobina
Angela Munoz - I Don't Care Introspection
Ambar Lucid - Questioning My Mind Garden of Lucid
Tiny Pandemic - Un Mirar Sin Relevo Single
Silvana Estrada - Para Siempre Single
The Mananas - Don't Think Your Love Has Given Up Single
Sofia Valdes - Handful of Water Ventura EP
Healing Gems - Emerald Village Fiesta Pack
Lido Pimienta - Nada ft. Li Saumet Miss Colombia
Vale - Puente Iridiscente
Leon De Las Florez - Sunshine Into Your Light Single
Los Cogelones - Yaotecatl Hijos Del Sol

Next week, Regresando a Especial - with some of the best return albums, EPs, and singles, incluye Chicano Batman, La Dame Blanche, y Los Mocochetes!

December 8, 2020

Comunidad Guest DJ: Alejandro Flores-Muñoz

Alejandro Flores-Muñoz is one of those people that just seems to be doing everything. He's an entreprenuer, helps produce the UndocuHustle podcast, and is an advocate for multiple marginalized groups in our community. His latest endeavor? Or, I should say, endeavors, include a brand new food delivery service, Combi Taco - which is basically a taco truck delivery (mis sueños se han hecho realidad) and a new book, No Papers, No Fear You Can Do Business Here, about being an undocumented entrepreneur, which he is. Alejandro is wholly inspirational. Read more about him, and check out some of his favorite tunes below!

What do you do in the Denver community: 
I'm a seasoned entrepreneur and activist who has made it my mission to advocate for marginalized communities. As an outspoken queer, DACA, Latinx person my life’s work aims to champion for the next generation of intersectional entrepreneurs.

Tell me more about your background:
Brought to the United States by my mother in 1997, I had strong progressive values instilled into him from a young age. I live in Denver, Colorado where I work directly with local agencies and non-profits as one of the leading advocates for the DACA community and sit as the board chair for COLOR Action Fund, and am a Governor appointed board member to the Colorado Minority Business Council. My willingness to be open about his experiences have landed me commentary roles at leading media outlets like CNBC Millennial Money along with a coast to coast speaking tour. I relocated to Denver CO in 2016 after accepting a position as a state-wide director for a progressive electoral campaign. 

Tell me more about your Latinidad:
 Twenty-three years ago, my mom brought my brother and me from Guadalajara to the U.S. in search of a better life. I have her to thank for the opportunities and career I now have. Seeing her in one of her first jobs as a canvasser not only instilled in me a strong work ethic, but the importance of building community power. These traits are what sparked in me my entrepreneurial spirit and are what drive me forward in my business and activism every day. 

But let’s be honest, getting to where I am today hasn’t been easy. As an immigrant and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient, I have encountered barriers every step of the way. I persisted with many side hustles to gain a sense of economic security until I could eventually turn one into my main hustle. This journey is one that I want to share with people and I have done that through a how-to guide "No Papers No Fear You Can Do Business Here" I’m sharing my story to help others see entrepreneurship as a viable option for themselves, particularly immigrants and people of color hoping to scale up their businesses.

Why does representation matter in your community work: 
Too often my community is only making enough to survive. I want to create wealth — not only financially, but in terms of opportunities and leadership advancement — to pass down to future generations. I don’t want people to worry about how to pay for college or put food on the table. Instead, I want communities of color to achieve a level of economic independence that makes it easier for us to fight for policies that create meaningful change. Policies will only reflect our needs when we are represented and heard. Only when people of color and immigrants have a seat at the decision-making table with other business owners will we have the power to create and enact policies that truly benefit us, now and in the future. We are committed to meeting the needs of our community; it’s time that people in power give us the opportunity to do so.

December 3, 2020

Especial 12.2

¡Más música local! Earlier this year, the Denver based colectivo, Debajo Del Agua, released their 4th studio album, Mosaico, and celebrated their 15th year as a band. They've got three singles out from the album now, and I can't wait to get these guys in the studio. Check out "Mariposa" here:

Usually the end of the year signals a slow down in new music, especially with holiday tunes flooding the airwaves (don't expect to hear that here), but dang - these past few weeks have been muy llena with that new. Last night was a good overview of the latest in new and independent Latin made music, and that'll be the theme the rest of the month - taking a look back on some of my favorites.

Playlist:

Bomba Estereo - Dejame Respirar ft. Nidia Gongora Sonic Forest
Debajo Del Agua - Madrugada Mosaico
Olmeca - El Cambio Single
Pahua - Vayayo Single
Helado Negro - Lotta Love ft. Flock of Dimes Single
Neoma & Pastizales - Vuello8110 Single
Nanpa Basico - No Se Que Somos Unicornio
2MX2 - Si Se Puede ft. Rebel Diaz Single
Karol G - Bichota Single
Xenia Rubinos - Who Shot Ya? Single
Vale - Puente Single
Nelson D - A Grande Revolta Em Sua Propria Terra
Pink Hawks - Occupy Single
Immigrant's Child - Maybe Immigrant's Child EP
Juana Molina - Paraguaya Punk ANRMAL
Los Cogelones - Yaotecatl Hijos Del Sol
Los Mocochetes - Rocks Single

December 2, 2020

Helado Negro x Xenia Rubinos

Earlier this year, Helado Negro teamed up with Xenia Rubinos to make one of the sweetest summer tunes, "I Fell In Love." Just yesterday, they released the socially distanced video:

December 1, 2020

Comunidad Guest DJ: Mariah Bottomly

Mariah Bottomly
Photo provided by guest.

This week's Comunidad Guest DJ is such a powerful and amazing woman here in Denver - Mariah Bottomly. It seems that she's everywhere within the community and there's good reason for it - she simply embodies the meaning of comunidad. She's one of the most supportive folks I have ever met, and I'm excited to share her work here this week!

Mariah is not only a photographer, but also a doula and birth worker, but she also carries the medicines and knowledge within the Chicano community. Mostly though, she's a fierce friend to many - and a damn good guest DJ (a mujer after my own heart - when asked to pick 10 songs, she said, "just 10?"). Read more about Mariah and check out 10 songs that inspire her below!

What do you do in the Denver community:
I am an educator, full spectrum doula, ancestral medicine keeper, professional photographer, mama and sister-friend. 

Tell me more about your background:
I am originally from Santa Fe, NM, born and raised. I spent about seven years in San Diego, moved to Albuquerque, NM and eventually found my way to Denver. All of my best friends are poets so, I would frequent poetry shows. I started photographing poets, shows and slam teams in the community. Quickly, I came to find everyone here in Denver is connected in some way, very much like where I grew up in Santa Fe. It is easy for me to navigate through all of the beautiful communities that are Denver.

Tell me more about your Latinidad:
Yo soy Mestiza. My father is from Espanola, NM. I found through my lineage that my ancestors came from Spain, through Mexico and "settled" in Pojoaque, Espanola, and surrounding areas. Some of my ancestors already existed here so, my indigeneity comes from my relatives from the Ohkay Owingeh pueblo, formerly known as San Juan pueblo. My patriarchal ancestry comes from the colonized and the colonizer. (So does my matriarchal side). It has taken some time to embody, move through and heal through all of that. The healing continues. Here in Denver, I have really connected to my ancestral medicines on these lands. I have been extremely fortunate to be able to learn from, practice with and work through some highly revered gente, in all regards, with everything I do. My medicine practice, the way I educate, my art and how I present myself in community is a reflection of this. 

Why does representation matter in your community work:

For hundreds (thousands) of years, my ancestors have had to survive colonization, oppression, genocide and gentrification to ensure that our cultura, remembrance of our sacred ways and our warrior spirits remain intact. Because of this, I have been blessed to work in all my facets, with amazing curanderas, y curanderos, artists, brujxs, activists, danzantes, poetas, y todo. I have had an an extremely strong calling though, to go overseas to connect with my ancestral elders and medicine keepers there. With permission, I want to bring back the medicine and share it with those who connect with it as their own ancestral medicine(s) so that those of European descent will stop commodifying, appropriating, and using medicines, practices and sacred ways that aren't theirs to keep. Don't get me wrong, medicine and healing is for everyone and when it comes down to it, it's all the same, and we are indeed all connected. But, one thing I have noticed in my life and thorough all of my practices, is that a lot of ancestral pain has come from and through spiritual bypassing. It is my responsibility to make sure that I'm able to bring my authentic self in all of these truths. To represent the best way that I have been taught and know how to, is to keep questioning and speaking up when there are micro-aggressions, injustices, questionable and outdated materials and spiritual bypassing, to name a few. To acknowledge and participate in our uprisings, and work dutifully every day in everything I do to ensure that our practices remain intact and sacred.

What is one way the community can uplift Latin work/voices/art:
I feel that it is imperative that we create, recognize, and maintain in our commUNITY vessel, not only our past practices, lineages and heritages that connects us all but, we also continue to council, advocate and navigate through all of our beautiful differences.

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