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Playlists | Comunidad Guest DJs | Descubre Musica

December 28, 2021: Comunidad Guest DJ

This week's Comunidad Guest DJ is our family at Sol Tribe Tattoo. On Monday, December 27th, owner Alicia Cardenas and front desk attendant Alyssa Gunn Maldonado were killed, and piercer Jimmy Maldonado was shot.

Alicia was a mentor, friend, and someone I highly regard and look up to. In our community, she was a fierce leader in so many ways. I am grateful to have sat in ceremony with her, painted alongside her, wrote about her, and to have gotten to know her and call her familia. She was the second ever Comunidad Guest DJ, and her feature is first below, originally posted on September 13, 2020.

Alyssa Maldonado worked at Sol Tribe as well. She was working on her feature to be shared here, though she joked that her husband's feature was basically what hers would have included - Jimmy Maldonado, below. I am grateful to have called her a friend, and to have prayed, danced and laughed with her by my side. In addition to her work at Sol Tribe, Alyssa was a birth worker, a respected doula, and a yoga instructor. She was a wife, a step mother, and just an amazing and sweet presence.

Jimmy Maldonado is a piercer, his room in the back of Sol Tribe. His commitment and dedication to our cultura and learning the ways of his ancestors is inspiring. He is a good friend, and a man I also look up to and revere - a man I am proud to call mi hermano, and to sit with in ceremony. He is a father, and husband to Alyssa. He is - as I write - in surgery for his injuries. His feature is below Alicia's, originally posted April 20, 2021.

This loss to the community cuts deep for so many. Especial is dedicated to these three, and our greater community, this week. There aren't words to describe our pain.

Alicia Cardenas

Alicia Cardenas of Sol Tribe Tattoo & Body Piercing
Provided By Guest

Continuing Especial's celebration of Latin Heritage Month, I present to you Alicia Cardenas. She is la jefa y la chingona artista at Sol Tribe Tattoo & Body Piercing on South Broadway, she's a muralist who - this year alone - has walls featured for the Crush and Babe Walls Festivals, and a leader in the Denver Chicano community.

Learn more about Cardenas here, and check out 10 songs she's inspired by below!

What do you do in the Denver community:
I am an artist , local business owner and community organizer.

Tell me more about your background:
I am a Denver Native who has owned a business for 23 years. I am a traditional Aztec dancer and performance artist.

Tell me more about your Latinidad:
I am a Chicanative (combo of Mexican American and Native American) I am cihuatl yoatl - Woman warrior.

Why does representation matter in your community work:
Representation is everything. Especially for women, queer people and Native Mexican Americans. I feel a great responsibility as a mother to make a world where my child can show up and be appreciated. Seeing a woman's perspective through art is an important part of getting the balance back from a patriarchal society.

What is one way the community can uplift Latin work/voices/art:
More visibility always with more specifics on the different groups within the " Latino" heading ... Those of us that are a mix of both Native North and Central American ancestry, Mestizo, Native American from the pueblos of the Southwest. Not grouping all People of Color together. Give us a chance to create art in public spaces.

You also create music, tell me more about that:
I am a traditional Aztec percussionist which includes large drums, Teponatzlis (Aztec wooden percussion instrument) , hand held drums and string instruments including a Concha (Similar to a Mandolin). All these instruments are parts of ancient ceremony and not necessarily for entertainment, they are an important part of reclaiming the ancestral knowledge of our people. You can find me playing in ceremonies but rarely in performance. 

Alicia Cardenas Guest DJ (Playlist):

Follow Cardenas and her work here:

Alyssa Gunn Maldonado

Alyssa Gunn Maldonado
From her Instagram

Jimmy Maldonado

Jimmy Maldonado
Courtesy of guest

Piercings have long been a part of the history of the peoples in the lands now known as the Americas. Now, it's an ancestral link, connection and form of healing. A continuation of la cultura. Jimmy Maldonado is dedicated to connecting with and healing ancestors, not only through his work piercing at Sol Tribe Tattoo & Piercing on South Broadway, but also through danza and more. I know Jimmy through these ties to community and I'm so excited he's my guest DJ this week! Read more about him, and check out his playlist, below:

What do you do in the Denver community:
 I am a professional body piercer at Sol tribe and a keeper of traditions. Mitotiani. Mexica danzante. 
Tell me about your background:
I am one of 12 and the son of immigrants. My family is from Mexico. I was raised Chicano, but my roots are of Mixteco and Nahua. I've always been a part of the Denver community, whether it was from me piercing people, or keeping our culture and traditions alive through Danza at schools, or other community cultural events
Tell me about your Latinidad:
I mainly identify with my indigeneity. Spending a lot of time in Mexico from the time I was a chamaco (kid) to my adult years. I've always been inspired and amazed at how strong and resilient our indigenous brothers and sisters are and have always been. Puro sangre indigena! I guess I've always grown up this way.
Why does representation matter in community work:
 Representation matters so much, especially for our Native, indigenous, Chicano, Mexican, LGBT, and poc communities. It's important to create a future where our future generations can thrive, be heard, valued, respected, and set up for success. 
What is one way the community can uplift Latin work/voices:
 Support our gente's businesses and artists. Listen to our voices without trying to shut us down. Support your local street vendors, and continue to fight to get our kids out of cages.

Follow Jimmy's piercing work on Instagram here.

December 14, 2021

Comunidad Guest DJ: Lorena Cabada

Lorena Cabada
Photo provided by guest

Mira. Chamoy is the glue that is holding society together. You find it on fruits, en cheladas, on gummy bears... you name it, chamoy makes it better. Lorena Cabada knows this and is about to celebrate a year of making it right here in Denver. You can find her slinging bottles of Besitos Chamoy (and pre-packaged fruit drenched in it - my favorite is the mango) at mercados and pop ups around the city, usually in Westwood. In fact, this weekend she'll be at the Hecho En Westwood Collective (aka RISE Westwood Collective) for the holiday editions of Veggie Viernes (Friday 5-9) and Mujer Mercado (Saturday 11-4). Before you stock up this weekend, read more about Lorena, and check out her playlist below!

What do you do in the Denver community:
I am a small business owner (Besitos Chamoy, LLC) that mainly participates in pop-ups in the Westwood neighborhood of Denver (Cultura Chocolate/Re-Vision Campus). I started my company nearly a year ago (Jan 2021). 

Tell me more about your background:
I am originally from the south side of Chicago (back of the yard’s neighborhood) and have lived in several places but I have decided to make Colorado my forever home. This is where I feel most comfortable living my truth and my goal is to be able to afford a home in Westwood!
I moved to Aurora in 2015 with then partner, now ex and we broke up in 2019. At that time, I knew I didn’t want to move back to Chicago so I started thinking of how I would be able to afford living out here. Shortly after that break up, I hurt my back at work (I work full-time as an X-ray tech) and was on bed rest. During that time I knew I wanted and needed community in my life. I longed for culture. I started to think what could I possibly do to help out la comunidad. What could I do to contribute? One night while very depressed I was having some hard seltzers and using some rim dip and that’s where my idea for my Chamoy came from. The rim dip I had was kind of gross… loaded with Tajín and all kinds of artificial colors and preservatives and I thought, we as a community deserve better. We love our salty, sour, spicy and sweet treats, why not make a clean version? Our comunidad deserves clean ingredients in what we like. So I began experimenting and giving a ton away. That lead me to Damaris (Cultura Chocolate) and Monica (Cabrona Coffee) I stopped in to give them a few free samples and they invited me to participate in the Cinco de Mayo festival and I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in several events. 

Since then I have been able to use the revenue I’ve made to support local organizations and I’m very proud to have helped sponsor Denver’s very own Los Mocochetes with the release of their first EP! 

As my company grows I plan to continue to support organizations that make a difference in our latinX/chicanX community. Fun fact: I named my company after The Cure’s Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me album.

Tell me more about your Latinidad:
I identify as a queer Chicana that is trying to reconnect to my indigenous roots. Decolonizing and serving my community the best I can. 

Why does representation matter in your community work:
Having seen what gentrification has done in Chicago I see the importance for representation. I love the message that D3ARTS has provided with their murals and the absolutely adored the festival at La Raza Park we had this past summer. I’m all in!

What is one way the community can uplift Latin work/voices/art:
There is a movement going on here in Denver and I’m so glad to have a seat at the table. One way we can uplift each other is to show up! Go watch that band, go eat at that restaurant, buy that art, get involved! We need each other! We need you! 

Follow Besitos Chamoy, LLC, on Instagram here.

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