What went down:
Quetzal had a listening party for their new album Quetzanimales at Espacio 1839 and an engaging Q&A on July 2, 2014 about the concept of the album. They discussed how the challenges and struggles of the urban animals in their songs are really symbols of our own trials happening now in our communities.
There was a lot of great dialogue about issues of gentrification and encroachment upon Boyle Heights as well as a reminder of the importance of actually taking the time to stop and get to know your own community and life and inhabitants that maybe we are too busy overlooking.
One of my favorite moments was a recital by one young Boyle Heights resident of a poem she wrote about life in Boyle Heights, inspired by Quetzal’s song “Estoy Aqui”…meaning “I Am Here.” The album is very much a call to action for marginalized voices in our communities to declare their presence, their pride and their right to being included and have a say in the process of the inevitable change happening in many of our immigrant and working class neighborhoods.
Want to listen to their new album live? Catch a free performance & CD signing Thursday, July 10, 6pm at Amoeba Records in Hollywood before its official release on July 29.
Definitely don’t miss their free 20th Anniversary celebration on Saturday, July 19, at Grand Performances in downtown, with special guests from La Santa Cecilia, East L.A. Taiko, Dengue Fever, Maya Jupiter, Marisa Ronstadt & The Know-It-Alls, and others, who will join Quetzal in performing highlights from the six albums recorded during the band’s extensive career. This will be a one-of-a-kind Quetzal concert that fans and followers of the band should not miss!
Then Friday, August 29, they will perform another free show at Levitt Pavilion at MacArthur Park, before embarking on a West Coast tour. After an October break, you’ll get another chance to see them at the Riverside Dia De Los Muertos Celebration at Vision 9 Galleries on Sunday, November 2.
Why they’re important:
For 2 decades, Quetzal has always been a tireless voice and advocate for social justice and community empowerment. The group has given their time and music and lent their voice to important causes in our communities and they are active in collaborating with other community groups and musicians, like Great Leap, Entre Mujeres, Marisa Ronstadt, Gloria Estrada and the son jarocho community. Dr. Martha Gonzales teaches Chicano/a Latino/a studies at Scripps College and Quetzal Flores is involved in many other projects and music production. Tylana Enomoto, Alberto Lopez, Juan Perez and Peter Jacobson are also involved in other music projects as well.
The activist band eschewed the fame and recognition of their 2013 Grammy win to continue making independent music completely on their terms and this album represents that, as well as the tremendous community support and following they have, which helped crowdfund the album. This album is the first one released by Artivist Entertainment, an organization founded by platinum recording artist Aloe Blacc, Maya Jupiter, Quetzal Flores, Veronica Gonzalez and Alberto Lopez, dedicated to supporting and creating music and art for positive social change. Quetzal will be honored with an award at their 20th anniversary show for their service to others.