Especial Show Blog

January 12, 2021

Especial Favoritas 2020

Normalmente en martes I host a Guest DJ from around our comunidad, but since we've been getting back into the swing of things, and since I haven't been able to share my 2020 favorites in one spot yet - here are 52 of my favorite releases of last year!

...presented in no particular order - listen on shuffle for best results!

January 11, 2021

Musica Nueva: Tropa Magica

I've been a fan of los hermanos Pacheco since the Thee Commons days. They've been in the CPR Performance studio as Thee Commons, and as we know them today - Tropa Magica. Last year, they released the album Tripiando Al Infinito En Mi Recamara, and just released this video for the song, "Chalino Y Sus 7 Balasos."

Escuche mas de Tropa Magica en Especial!

January 7, 2021

Especial 1.6

Well. Thank you to anyone who had the energy to tune in last night! Lots of new music, and some great local stuff - including 3 new Local 303 artists that I'm so excited to play for y'all throughout the month of January!

One of our new artists is Katiria, originalmente de San Juan, PR. Here is her debut single, "Mientes."

Also, Xiuhtezcatl - activist, artist and musician - I am so excited he's Local 303! He's originally from Boulder, but works a lot now in Los Angeles:

Also new to the Local 303, Immigrant's Child, who I've been pushing on you here en Especial since last month. Mas musica local con 2MX2, Leon De Las Florez, Pink Hawks, Lolita, and Los Mocochetes.

Y recuerda, gente - si se puede. Stay safe, be healthy!

Playlist:

Los Mocochetes - Rocks Single
Ana Tijoux - Antifa Dance Antifa Dance
LADAMA - Nobreza Oye Mujer
Pink Haws - Alibi Single
The Mananas - Don't Think Your Love Has Given Up Single
Healing Gems - Emerald Village Fiesta Pack
B.A.R.D.O - Take My Hand Single
Lolita - Toda Mi Gente ft. Big Samir Single
Nanpa Basico - No Se Que Somos Unicornio
Neoma y Pastizales - Vuello8110 Single
Leon de las Florez - Sunshine Into Your Light Single
La Dame Blanche - La Mentalista Ella
2MX2 - Si Se Puede ft. Rebel Diaz Single
Karol G - Bichota Single
Katiria - Mientes Single
Dom La Nena - Tiene Su Fin Tempo
Pahua - Vayayo Single
Xiuhtezcatl - El Cielo Runway Tapes

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.

November 26, 2020

Especial 11.25

This past weekend I was sent a video for an upcoming session for this new community organization called The Salt Lick - hosting sessions with local bands in their studio, called The Pond. Their first band to grace the Pond is an up and coming band, Immigrant's Child, who also happen to be releasing a new EP tomorrow... check the preview:

...so, obviously a band we need to know of here on Especial - and thankfully I was able to play a tune from the self-titled EP! Also new music from Nanpa Basico de Medellin, Colombia - the last time we heard from him was over the summer with a single, but he's also just released a new album, Unicornio. This week also saw the return of Bomba Estéreo. Frontman and bassist Simón Mejía worked on a new documentary - Sonic Forest - documentary that spotlights the natural and musical richness of Colombia's Pacific coast and the communities safeguarding the region's forests (and that's presented by Joaquin Phoenix - yeah that one). BE of course wrote the theme for the documentary, featuring Afro-Colombiana, Nidia Góngora:

All in all, a beautiful week that also ushered in the announcement of Denver's Los Mocochetes upcoming video for "Rocks," Lido Pimienta being nominated for a dang GRAMMY, and more!

Playlist:

Los Mocochetes - Rocks Single
Immigrant's Child - Maybe Immigrant's Child EP
Combo Chimbita - Ahomale Ahomale
Lido Pimienta - Nada ft. Li Saumet Miss Colombia
Bomba Estereo - Dejame Respirar ft. Nidia Gongora Sonic Forest
Nelson D - A Grande Revolta Em Sua Propria Terra
Pink Hawks - Occupy Single
Pahua - Vayayo Single
Neoma & Alkaloides - Perfil Single
Nanpa Basico - No Se Que Somos Unicornio
Karol G - Bichota Single
Olmeca - El Cambio Single
2MX2 - Si Se Puede ft. Rebel Diaz Single
Juana Molina - Un Dia Punk ANRMAL
Los Cogelones - Yaotecatl Hijos Del Sol
Fucking City - Difficult Experience Demos

November 24, 2020

Comunidad Guest DJ: Desiree Ortega-Stange

Desiree Ortega-Stange
Provided by Guest

This week's Guest DJ from la comunidad is Desiree Ortega-Stange. An Aztec danzante and leader in the Chicano Community here in Denver. I actually met Des when she and her husband held ceremony for some friends who were married by the two. I had seen Des and her family at different community events at La Raza Park and more, so I'm grateful to be able to showcase her community work here this week.

Get to know Des a bit better, and check out her fire playlist below of 10 songs she's inspired by!

What do you do in the Denver community:
I am an 23 year Indigenous Aztec dancer in the Denver community and Licensed massage therapist.

Tell me more about your background:
I am a proud born Denverite born right smack in the middle of Denver just a hop skip and jump from the old Mile High Stadium in the Sun Valley projects which are getting torn down as we speak. I love the Denver community, being involved in community is in my blood coming from a mother who marches with the Chicano Crusades for Justice.

Tell me more about your Latinidad:
I am a proud Chicana/Indigenous woman who has been involved in community since the age of 16, when I joined a group called Semillas se la Manana for young girls who are trying to get out of gangs or avoid joining gangs, and at the time found the Danza (Aztec), and then started my education in my ancestors, and the importance of the youth know where they originate and having pride in that.

Why does representation matter in your community work:
My opinion has always been, as Chicana/ Indigenous woman, to make a direct impact on the community as a whole is to instill in my children this same knowledge and pride in where our ancestors are from and who they were.

What is one way the community can uplift Latin work/voices/art:
Again I think the best way to uplift the LatinX/Chicano/Indigenous voice/work and art is through education. All forms - not only school, but in our homes, starting with educating our adults. Latinos supporting Latinos, buying from mom and pop or small businesses ran and owned by Latinos.

November 19, 2020

Especial 11.18

This week's Especial turned into a dance party. It's been needed, no? I've also got a brand new song in each set. Usually I try to focus on maybe one or two new releases a week to give them the spotlight, but there was simply no choosing this week. And from all over the place!

Karol G de Colombia:

Olmeca de Los Angeles:

Carabobina de Brazil:

Pahua de Mexico (and one half of the band, Sotomayor):

Vale de Colombia:

Xenia Rubinos de Connecticut:

Y claro, 2MX2.

YOU try choosing just one or two. You can't and it's alright - everything belongs here on Especial.

Playlist

2MX2 - Si Se Puede ft. Rebel Diaz Single
Karol G. - Bichota Single
Eric & Kah Li - Jelly Single
La Dame Blanche - La Mentalista Ella
Olmeca - El Cambio Single
Lolita - Toda Mi Gente Remix ft. Big Samir of the Reminders Single
Nina Dioz y Hispana - Mezcal Single
Carabobina - Em Dezombro Carabobina
Nina de Freitas - If I Lead Will You Follow Single
Dom La Nena - Tiene Su Fin Tempo
Ife - Music for Egun Movement 2 Ashe BOgbo Egun\The Living Dead EP
Pahua - Vayayao Single
Nelson D - A Grande Revolta Em Sua Propria Terra
Leon de las Florez - LetemB El Leon Se Salio EP
Vale - Puente Single
Helado Negro - Lotta Love ft. Flock of Dimes Single
Neoma y Pastizales - Vuello8110
Xenia Rubinos - Who Shot Ya? Single

November 13, 2020

Chicano Batman Live from The Hollywood Bowl

Soooo we all miss live music. I particularly miss the bois in Chicano Batman (best UMS 2019? Maybe.) The last time I saw Chicano Batman was about a year ago, at the Tropicália Music and Taco Festival en LA (overview of the weekend here), where they formally announced the new album, Invisible People, and debuted three new songs (do not remember which ones, I was just so excited for a new album, honestly).

Invisible People came out on May 1, 3 months after the pandemic hit California officially - and although they'd announced a tour with Le Butcherettes (with a show slated for Denver on May 16th), that obviously never transpired. And although they've played several streamed sessions, their first set on a stage took place with SOUND/STAGE at the famed Hollywood Bowl (you know, where the Beatles also performed, nbd). Beautiful shots of the venue and... at least some semblance of a live CB set.

The band does have their Invisible People tour scheduled for 2021 (May 20! Denver!) SO WEAR YA DAMN MASKS SO WE CAN ACTUALLY GO (and more importantly save our beloved venues).

Check out my interview with the full band about Invisible People with a walk through each song, too:

November 12, 2020

Especial 11.11

Oh what's this? Musica nuevo y local de 2MX2? You betcha. I spoke with them last Friday about this brand new single on the Indie 102.3 Instagram, and "Si Se Puede" featuring Rebel Diaz will be released this Friday, with a video coming! 2MX2 is a former Local 303 band, and of course, we've been bumpin' their last single, "Elevator," featuring Aja Black of the Colorado Springs band, The Reminders:

Earlier this week was el cumpleaños de mi reina, Alice Bag. Earlier this year she released a new album, Sister Dynamite, and I got to do a guest DJ session with her (ay wey!) where she told me about some of her new favorite punk rock femmes, which you can hear here.

These past few weeks have been SO good for new music, so we're playing catch up this week!

Playlist

Los Mocochetes - Rocks Single
2MX2 - Si Se Puede ft. Rebel Diaz Single
La Dame Blanche - La Mentalista Ella
Dom La Nena - Tiene Su Fin Tempo
Neoma y Pastizales - Single
Helado Negro - Lotta Love ft. Flock of Dimes Single
Omar Apollo - Kamikaze Apolonio
Nina De Freitas - If I Lead Will You Follow Single
Sofia Valdes - Handful of Water Ventura EP
Lolita - Toda Mi Gente ft. Big Samir of the Reminders
Ife - Music For Egun Movement 2 Ashe Bogbo Egun\The Living Dead EP
Leon de las Florez - LetemB El Leon Se Salio EP
Nelson D - A Grande Revolta Em Sua Propria Terra
Los Cogelones - Yaotecatl Hijos Del Sol
Juana Molina - Un Dia Punk ANRMAL
Alice Bag - Spark Sister Dynamite
Fucking City - Difficult Experience demos

November 5, 2020

Especial 11.4

Que semana, eh? Thankfully, I was introduced to maybe my new favorite banda on election night - Los Cogelones. Un grupo de Nezahualcóyotl MX (outside of Teotihuacán: home of la avenida del muertos - the Aztec site of the Sun, Moon, and Quetzecoatl Templos) celebrates their Mexica Indigeneity and blends it with hardcore punk. That sentence makes my heart flutter, and their music - pues:

What the ever loving - am I right!?

Also new music this week from Helado Negro, who invites Flock of Dimes on a cover of Neil Young's "Lotta Love." This marks Roberto's first release under his new home at legendary record label, 4AD (felicidades!!). Fun fact - Devendra Banhart also does backing vocals on the song. I love that we live in a world where - despite a global pandemic, collaboration and music celebration is still so strong.

Dom La Nena has also released a new single, and announced a new release, Tempo; the Los Angeles rapper, Olmeca is set to release a new single - but first, we check out his 2019 release, Define, y muchos musicas locales!

Playlist

Los Mocochetes - Que Viva Revolucion Single
Helado Negro - Lotta Love ft. Flock of Dimes Single
Nina De Freitas - Keeps Me Coming Back Single
Sofia Valdes - Handful of Water Ventura EP
Lolita - Toda Mi Gente ft. Big Samir Single
Ana Tijoux - Antifa Dance Antifa Dance
Omar Apollo - Kamikaze Apolonio
Neoma y Pastizales - Vuello8110 Single
Bandalos Chinos - El Idolo Single
Dom La Nena - Tiene Su Fin Tempo
Ife - Music for Egun Movement 2 Ashe Bogbo Egun\The Living Dead EP
2MX2 - Elevator Single
Olmeca - El Solitario Define
Pink Hawks - Occupy Single
Nelson D - A Grande Revolta Em Sua Propria Terra
Los Cogelones - Yaotecatl Hijos Del Sol
Juana Molina - Un Dia Punk ANRMAL

October 23, 2020

Especial Va al Museo

A look at the Denver Art Museum's newest exhibit, "Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican Modernism." And a new playlist, por supuesto.

Bruce Trujillo in front of a depiction of Diego Rivera's famed "Man, Controller of the Universe" mural, originally created for - and destroyed by - Rockefeller Center in New York City.

In 2019, just after the release of the massive Monet exhibit, the Denver Art Museum announced another powerhouse show dedicated to Frida Kahlo and her husband, Diego Rivera, as part of the traveling exhibit comprised of the Jacques and Natasha Gelman collection. Jacques and Natasha Gelman, avid art collectors (Jacques was a major influencer for Mexican film) were close friends of Frida y Diego. The show itself would land during the centennial celebration of the end of the Mexican Revolution. The show, "Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican Modernism," thankfully, will continue with new procedures in place in respect to the pandemic, and opens this Sunday, October 25th, and runs through January 24, 2021.

The exhibit features over 150 pieces, and the largest collection of paintings and drawings by Frida Kahlo the DAM has housed at once.

While Frida and Diego are at the center of the show, the exhibit features many of their contemporaries and friends throughout the Mexican modernism movement, in addition to those who helped shape them, and who they influenced.

A Quick Background...

Though Rivera was trained in European style painting, his images in paintings and in murals often include deeper socio-political (re: Communistic) messages, and celebrated Mexican Indigeneity with a goal of unifying and activating Mexicans after the 10 year revolutionary war.

Diego Rivera's Calla Lily Vendor, 1943, on display at the Denver Art Museum.
Bruce Trujillo

Kahlo's surrealistic and brutally honest paintings focused on her experiences as a disabled, queer, Communista balancing her identity as a blended German and Indigenous Mexican. Her work, as well as her person, begs the viewer to pay attention to and examine those subjects that are taboo or unspoken. Kahlo painted many subjects, most in the style of magical realism, and many as self portraits.

Frida Kahlo's "Self Portrait with Monkeys," 1943, on display at the Denver Art Museum.
Bruce Trujillo

It's safe to say that the couple have truly left a mark on the art world and on Mexico itself (they're featured on the 500 peso, their houses are now museums, and the Mexican government helped complete Rivera's pre-Colombian inspired Museum and gallery, Anahuacalli, shortly after his death).

La Exposición

I'm not going to give away the exhibit here. Some photos, yes, but I do think if you are in any way inspired by Frida and Diego, you need to go see the exhibit yourself. If you're just being introduced to their art, this is a great entry point. If you know quite a bit about the couple, or have even been to Casa Azul, the twin houses, and/or Anahuacalli en CDMX, the art in this exhibit fleshes out parts and pieces those spaces don't.

Will you learn about their full support and involvement in Communism? Will you see Frida in her wheelchair? Will you learn about her bisexuality, his infidelities?

My new favorite photo.

Not overtly, though they will be mentioned. Given that the works of the couple are synonymous with Mexican Modernism, they'd have to be. These facts are not spelled out, but not hidden. If you know, you know. If you don't, well - don't be surprised to see Frida's body cast with a hammer and sickle painted on the front, or read about their extra-marital relationships within descriptions of works displayed. I do appreciate the attention given to Frida's many medical issues, and how she dealt with them in her art.

The exhibit also provides a history on Mexico from pre-Columbian times to the present, as well as multiple directories on Frida and Diego's lives, connections, and works.

I felt that Frida's work and story were at the forefront of this exhibit, which I appreciate, as that - in my opinion - is not necessarily the case in the museos de Mexico.

Introducciones

While Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera are the most famous names to come out of the Mexican Modernist movement, they certainly weren't alone. The exhibit includes friends and contemporaries to the couple.

I particularly enjoyed being introduced to Frida's contemporary, Olga Costa:

Olga Costa's "Nacimiento," 1948, on display at the Denver Art Museum.
Bruce Trujillo

...in addition to names like Lola Alvarez Bravo, Leonora Carrington, Juan Soriano, and Gunther Gerszo, among many.

Lola Alvarez Bravo's "Paisaje de Mexico," c. 1950, on display at the Denver Art Museum.
Juan Soriano's "Recreación de arcángeles," 1943, on display at the Denver Art Museum.
Miguel Covarrubias' "Retrato de Diego Rivera," c. 1920, on display at the Denver Art Museum.

The extra works provide a backdrop that helps foster a fuller picture of Frida and Diego - how the two inspired and were inspired by fellow artists in the community.

Fotografía

The photography in this show is absolutely stunning. It features many portraits of the couple together, of course, and includes images you've likely seen.

Nikolas Muray's portrait of Frida Kahlo in Coyocan, 1938, on display at the Denver Art Museum.

The work of Nikolas Muray - a friend and lover of Frida's - is throughout the exhibit, portraying her in her many forms and spaces, including her home in Coyocan, New York City, and around Mexico City.

Nikolas Muray's "Frida Kahlo with Olmec figurine," 1939, on display at the Denver Art Museum.

The quality - obviously not captured in my picture - is quite beautiful, and the photos show the softness around Frida that made her Muray's muse (among many others).

I knew Frida's father, Guillermo, was a photographer, but didn't realize I hadn't seen much of his work until I turned to the wall displaying multiple pieces of his. His work helped shape Frida's, and in part this is what made her able to pose for her own self portraits, but also various other photos and paintings.

Various photos taken by Frida Kahlo's father, Guillermo Kahlo, on display at the Denver Art Museum.

I was also very pleasantly surprised to see the photography of Patti Smith included in this exhibit. Smith is a huge fan of Frida's, and two photos from her visit to Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo's home turned museum, in 2012 are included (fun fact: Patti Smith is quoted in a mural at Casa Azul now as well).

Photos of Casa Azul taken by Patti Smith, on display at the Denver Art Museum.

Included also are photos of the two in their homes, working together and separately, and simply being.

Comparing Subjects

Another piece of this exhibit that I enjoyed was the repeating subject matter - Natasha Gelman herself. The Gelmans commissioned artists, Frida and Diego included, to capture her beauty on many occasions. There are a number of portraits of Natasha throughout the exhibit.

Rufino Tamayo's "Portrait of Natasha Gelman" on display at the Denver Art Musem.

Frida and Diego's pieces are paired together...

...which is interesting to see how they chose to define her portrait, what was highlighted, the shapes, the size.

Of course, the real treat is seeing the many self portraits of Frida herself (there are seven)...

...and a small collection of her outfits.

"Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism" is open October 25th through January 24th, 2021, at the Denver Art Museum. Oh, and here's a short playlist inspired by the show:

October 29, 2020

Especial 10.28

What a weekend we have coming up! Halloween, la luna llena, y Dia de los Muertos... Just in time for Dia de Muertos, Ife, un Afro-Americano de Puerto Rico, has announced a brand new EP out November 17th - a collection of Yoruban prayer songs for the dead, remixed, appropriately titled Ashe Bogbo Egun\The Living Dead - and released the lead single from it:

Our very own Neoma has also just released her third and final collaborative single of the year with Pastizales de Cuenca, Ecuador - where Neoma came to Denver from. She's been working with some pals from Ecuador throughout the year, despite the distance and pandemic.

PLUS: Netflix has also just released the trailer for the highly anticipated Selena bio-series, Nina de Freitas covers Kiltro and Chicano Batman en vivo del CPR Performance Studio.

Playlist:

Nina de Freitas - If I Lead Will You Follow Single
Neoma y Pastizales - Vuello8110 Single
Omar Apollo - Kamikaze Apolonio
Lolita - Toda Mi Gente ft. Big Samir Single
The Mananas - Don't Think Your Love Has Given Up Single
Sofia Valdes - Handful of Water Ventura EP
Ife - Music for Egun Movement 2 Ashe Bogbo Egun\The Living Dead EP
Leon de las Florez - LetemB El Leon Se Salio EP
Nelson D - A Grande Revolta Em Sua Propria Terra
Nina Dioz y Hispana - Mezcal Single
Ana Tijoux - Antifa Dance Antifa Dance
Pink Hawks - Occupy Single
Selena Y Los Dinos - Como La Flor Entre a Mi Mundo
Los Esplifs - La Peligrosa Single
Los Mocochetes - Rocks Single
Chicano Batman - Freedom Is Free CPR Performance Studio

October 22, 2020

Especial 10.21

Cada semana trato de tocar una canción nueva en Especial. It isn't hard, there is so much new music out right now - but I was coming up empty handed until the very last minute this week. I was introduced to Sofia Valdes de Panama recently, and she's just released a new EP, single, and video:

...as it's supposed to snow this weekend, the beach vibes are entirely welcome, as are Sofia's pop sensibilities. Also sent to me last minute is the brilliant return of Omar Apollo, who just released his debut, full length album, Apolonio, along with a new music video for "Kamikaze."

As if that weren't enough, ya boi is performing at Paisley Park - the Paisley Park - on the 29th for a live stream performance! New music out this week from Juana Molina (de Mexico - nueva album en vivo) and Ela Minus (de Colombia - debut, full length album). Xenia Rubinos has also announced new music is on it's way.

En las noticias locales, excited to announce Denver's own Neoma has a new single coming out on Friday - her third and final collaboration of 2020; local band Altas will return for their annual Día de los Muertos celebration next Wednesday; and Los Mocochetes have announced a Halloween show at the world famous Oriental Theater.

Playlist:

Cikatriz - Anhele Single
Lido Pimienta - Eso Que Tu Haces Miss Colombia
Altas - Altepetl Epoca de Bestias
Nelson D - A Grande Revolta Em Sua Propria Terra
The Mananas - Don't Think Your Love Has Given Up Single
Neon Indian - Toyota Man Single
Sofia Valdes - Handful of Water Ventura EP
Omar Apollo - Kamikaze Apolonio
Neoma y Lolabum - Cuando Quieres Jugar Conmigo
Ela Minus - they told us it was was hard, but they were wrong. Acts of Rebellion
Xenia Rubinos - Should I Stay or Should I Go Single
Jessica Jimenez - Who Am I Single
La Dame Blanche - La Mentalista Ella
Juana Molina - Un Dia Punk ANRMAL
Alice Bag - Spark Sister Dynamite
Los Mocochetes - Rocks Single

October 20, 2020

Communidad Guest DJ: Franklin Cruz

Franklin Cruz
Photo Provided by Guest

Franklin Cruz is un regalo. Franklin is all around inspiring - I was introduced to them through their poetry (which has made me cry real tears), and then the breadth of amazing work they do kept showing up. A danzante. An educator al museo (what!? Dream). And they're just amazingly sweet and fun. I'm excited to share with you Franklin Cruz!

What do you do in the Denver community:
I'm a science educator at the Museum of Nature and Science, a spoken word artist, dancer, emcee and writer. 

Tell me more about your background:
I first got introduced to the Denver community through a friend who took me to my first open mic and slam with the youth organization Minor Disturbance. After that I worked my way into the adult scene and then into dance. I was studying biology the whole time and later worked that into my art. It just caught people's eye and I started being invited to share in different spaces, mainly with Latinx, LGBTQ and immigrant communities. 

Tell me more about your Latinidad:
My family is from Mexico and we come from Raramuri and Pima people from the northern part of Chihuahua in the North of Mexico. I identify as an Indigena Mexicana now as I discover more of my roots. 

Why does representation matter in your community work:
Representation in my work is creating spaces for visibility without erasure. Often there are communities being removed from sight to appease a larger discriminatory preference like with LGBTQ and immigrant communities. When represented authentically these communities have demonstrated their large capacity for affecting positive social change. 

What is one way the community can uplift Latin work/voices/art:
Language inclusivity, many communities don't speak English as the language of their heart. Organizations like the community language cooperative help in making spacing more inclusive to both presenters and audience by giving access to non-English speakers to be understood and to understand the context they are in with ease and they work with community. This will expand the audience and talent pool we can share with. 

October 14, 2020

Especial 10.14

I was just introduced to Nelson D last night so you are now as well:

According to his Spotify, he's Indigenous to the Amazonian region in Brasil, and was adopted as a baby by an Italian couple. He was raised as an Italian citizen, studied art in Milan, and recently went back to Sao Paulo to share his music - and re-adopted his name from the orphanage he was in as a child, Nelson D.

His music can stand next to many songs in the Especial library, especialmente Lido Pimienta (see below), and Denver's own Leon de las Florez.

Tonight we also get another glimpse into Juana Molina's upcoming live album, recorded just one week before the pandemic hit Mexico:

The new album is ANRMAL, out on October 23rd. The live album was recorded without their normal instruments, as they were lost by the airline, so... they just went with what was onstage, which gives the album a much more punk rock sound.

This week's Especial inspired by these two! Playlist:

Kiltro - The Hustle Creatures of Habit
Lido Pimienta - Eso Que Tu Haces Miss Colombia
Leon de las Florez - Letemb El Leon Se Salio
Nelson D - A Grande Revolta Em Sua Propria Terra
Bandalos Chinos - El Idolo Single
Los Esplifs - La Peligrosa Single
Pink Hawks - Occupy Single
La Dame Blanche - Cogelo Con Calma Single
Lolita - Toda Mi Gente (Remix, ft. Big Samir) Single
Ela Minus - they told us it was hard, but they were wrong. Single
Neoma y Lolabum - Cuando Quieres Jugar Conmigo Single
Gabriel Garzon-Montano - Aguita Aguita
Nina Dioz y Hispana - Mezcal Single
Juana Molina - Un Dia (Punk) ANRMAL
Fea - Ya Se No Novelties
Alice Bag - Gate Crasher Sister Dynamite
Fucking City - Difficult Experience demos

October 13, 2020

La Quinceañera Lido Pimienta en NPR Tiny Desk

Check out Lido Pimienta's NPR Tiny Desk At Home concert!

Lido Pimienta's debut, full length album, Miss Colombia, is a strong contender for my favorite album of the year... Si no lo has escuchado - do it now:

October 8, 2020

Especial 10.7

So Gabriel Garzón-Montano was supposed to release his new album tomorrow, but did last Friday instead - mil gracias, Gabriel! Agüita is out now, and just one of los canciones nuevos para este semana. Bandalos Chinos de Argentina have just released a brand new single, expanding their genre exploration lately, this time, takin' on a classic rock 'n' roll sound:

Also this week, new and local music from Fucking City, the one man band from Denver's Paul Navarro (heavy Protomartyr vibes, which I always appreciate). Also en musica local, Los Mocochetes have been taping the video for "Rocks," y Neoma's just released the video for the collaborative single with Lolabum:

...y mucho mas! Playlist:

The Mananas - Don't Think Your Love Has Given Up Single
Silavana Estrada - Para Siempre Single
La Dame Blanche - La Mentalista Ella
Gabriel Garzon-Montano - Aguita Aguita
Neoma y Alkaloides - Perfil Perfil
Nina Dioz y Hispana - Mezcal Single
Bandalos Chinos - El Idolo Single
Zoe - Fiebre Single
Fucking City - Difficult Experience demos
Los Mocochetes - Rocks Single
Dom La Nena - Voce Ela
Lido Pimienta - Nada ft. Li Saumet Miss Colombia
Pink Hawks - Occupy Single
LADAMA - Inmigrante Oye Mujer
Ana Tijoux - Pa' Que ft. PJ Sin Suela Antifa Dance
Los Esplifs - La Peligrosa Single

October 7, 2020

Comunidad Guest DJ: Raven Porteous-Mena

Raven Porteous Mena of East High School & Por Vida
Provided by guest.

Las mujeres en la comunidad son inspiracional. Especially in education. Especially when they run their own small business on top of that. Such is the case with my guest DJ this week, Raven Porteous-Mena. I followed her small business, Por Vida, on Instagram and loved that she was creating goods celebrando la cultura - and helping out the community in the process. That's a key component to her work in education as well.

Read more about Raven - and check out 10 songs she loves - below!

What do you do in the Denver community: 
I am the Dean of Students at East High school, I focus a lot on our community youth, social emotional learning, educational equity for our Black and Brown students, and incorporating art into mental health treatments and behavioral outlets.

 Tell me more about your background: 
I am a first-generation person in the USA, my parents are undocumented immigrants from Mexico. I was originally born in Houston, Texas. Moved throughout the West from New Mexico to California and finally settled in Denver, Colorado, when I was 5 years old. I got heavily involved in the Denver Community as a 19-year-old College student at MSU Denver. My involvement started with an organization called Journey Through our Heritage run by Dr. Renee Fajardo, focusing on community education programming, Cultura, Art and Latino History. I fell in love with the game and at 29 years old, I never left.
 
Tell me more about your Latinidad:
 I am Latina, Mestiza if you will. These are my people, my tribe. With such strong roots in Yucatan, Mexico, where all my family still lives, to Spain, where I have a grandmother, to the the wild west, these are lands my ancestors worked. The Latina/o community here in Denver feels like home.
  
Why does representation matter in your community work:
 Representation is SO IMPORTANT IN EDUCATION. Students of color are swept under the rug or pumped into a pipeline to jail every day in our education system. School choice has segregated out communities creating vulnerable pockets in our society. Representation for these students is necessary to navigate a system that wasn’t built for them. Without representation the 1946 case of Mendez v. Westminster prohibiting segregation in California’s public schools would not of been possible. The activism of Cesar Chavez and Corky Gonzales was representation that to this day its ripple effects are coating our community. Representation is needed for the safety and success of our minority students. This also goes for the Art scene in Denver too, representation is needed not only in street murals but in art administration as well for equity. Sit on a board, make our voices be heard, take control of the narrative because we are all still here and need a strong voice in Denver art and education.
 
What is one way the community can uplift Latin work/voices/art: 
Curate Art Shows, share our posts, come to our events promote your favorite Latin owned business and brand. Shop local, I guess what I am saying is as a community my success will help your success, we are all connected so supporting each other through it all will create a stronger sense of talent, service, art, family, love and community

Follow Raven Porteous-Mena and her work here:
@por.vida.mija
@kissin_the_sky

Oct. 1, 2020

Especial 9.30

Mucha musica nueva - almost too much (jaja - not really). The other night a band out of Tuscon started following me on Instagram - I checked out their page, saw a performance clip and... was intrigued. After heading over to their Bandcamp, pues - me enamoré. Introduciendo Los Esplifs:

Also, Niña Dioz returns after releasing an absolute Pride banger earlier this summer with "Brillo," which of course, you've heard here, with a joint love letter to Mexico, featuring Hispana. "Mezcal" was released on 16 Septiembre - día de la Independencia en Mexico, claro, and I absolutely love this track. La Dame Blanche finally released Ella last week, and The Mañanas also released a brand new single that I got to debut last time... Oh - also Chicano Batman will be on Bootleg Sessions this Sunday at 7pm, so I had to kick things off with a previously unreleased track...

Playlist:

Chicano Batman - Scab Black Lipstick Single RSD 2019
Nina Dioz & Hispana - Mezcal Single
Lolita - Toda Mi Gente (Remix ft. Big Samir) Single
Gabriel Garzon-Montano - Aguita Aguita
LADAMA - Nobreza Oye Mujer
Tropa Magica - Siete Balasos Tripiando al Infinito en mi Recamara
The Mananas - Don't Think Your Love Has Given Up Single
Alice Bag - Spark Sister Dynamite
Los Esplifs - La Peligrosa Single
Pink Hawks - OCCUPY Single
Novalima - El Regalo Ch'usay
Ana Tijoux - Antifa Dance Antifa Dance
Neoma & Lolabum - Cuando Quieres Jugar Conmigo Single
Helado Negro - I Fell In Love ft. Xenia Rubinos Single
La Dame Blanche - La Mentalista Ella
Los Mocochetes - Rocks Single

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