Our Cultural Picks for Los Angeles: June 7-13

by Tom Nguyen

With all that’s going on this week, I still consider it a “quiet” week before all the free summer concerts everywhere start to kick into full gear! Support the homies this week: one of my newest favorite bands Earth Arrow, Sister Mantos, Nancy Sanchez CD release party, Mark de Clive-Lowe, Quetzal, Sin Color and La Junta, and the Brazilian music community is joining forces to put on Choro and Afro-Roots and Funk + Forró Dance Party. Another Brazilian band Boogarins are here, plus we’re giving away tickets to Los Cafres and Locos por Juana with Tropico Modular, a Palenke Soultribe side project. Hola Mexico, one of my favorite film festivals, and Mixed Remixed, the largest celebration of interracial, mixed race experience in the nation, are happening in downtown, as well as many more great cultural and outdoor events all over SoCal, like Dia de San Juan Puerto Rican festival in Long Beach, CicLAvia from Glendale to Atwater Village, Playboy Jazz FestivalLA Pride, the many art walks & more!


Earth Arrow, Sister Mantos, Oscura Luna +dj Selvatica
The Offbeat (Highland Park)
Wed. June 7, 9pm, Free, 21+
One of my newest favorite bands, Earth Arrow…socially conscious and defiant, unabashed and fiery, watching them perform is what one friend described as “what it must have felt like being in radical Oakland in the 70s!” They describe themselves as “a Los Angeles Afro-cuban hip hop based band focusing on reviving ancient african and indigenous rhythms and dance .Earth Arrow is a reflection of the fire that burns in the hearts of all who live in colonized lands across the world. A pioneer of indigenous blues sounds, they set out to defy expectations and explore new realms of emotional intensity while incorporating modern hip hop and jazz sabor. Ancient and modern, the guitar licks, piano solos, and percussions hail from the ancestors and channels their visions for the future. Humbly playing to spread truth, justice, and light over the lands. The 6th sun is here.”

Boogarins w/ Jjuujjuu
Bootleg Theater
Thu. June 8, 8pm, $12-$14, 21+
Boogarins’ Fernando “Dino” Almeida and Benke Ferraz began playing music together as teenagers in the central Brazilian city of Goiânia– recording psychedelic pop in their parents’ gardens, filtering their country’s rich musical history through a very modern lens.

Nancy Sanchez: American Novio CD Release
Resident (Downtown)
Fri. June 9, 8pm, Free, 21+
Its finally here! I am so excited for this release of my new album American Novio. I am so grateful to all the musicians, Eugene Toale and Mares Entertainment for making this happen. Come celebrate this release along with our friends El Haru Kuroi and DJ Glenn Red.

Brazilla presents: Choro and Afro-Roots
Zebulon LA (Frogtown)
Fri. June 9, 9pm, $15, 21+
Braziilla is a blessing to protect the musical legacy of the Brazilian diaspora into Los Angeles. Brazilla is a collective of musicians and artists involved with music. Most of us are Brazilian although not all. Our mission is to protect and expand the influential legacy of our mother culture in all its diversity and radically. Continue Reading →

5 Days to Support Los Jornaleros Del Norte 15th Anniversary Album Kickstarter!

by Tom Nguyen

(Los Angeles) — This is an urgent appeal to the community to help Los Jornaleros Del Norte complete their 4th album “Tumbando Muros/Chant Down the Walls” via their Kickstarter campaign! 15 years ago, an immigration raid at a corner of day laborers in City of Industry inspired Omar Sierra, a day laborer and musician, to pen a song that inspired others to share their struggles and their hopes through song and poetry. With the help of Pablo Alvarado, founding member and Director of NDLON (National Day Laborer Organizing Network), Los Jornaleros have become the soundtrack for the day laborer and immigrant community’s struggle for visibility, inclusion and equality.

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Quetzal’s new Album Quetzanimales and 20 year Anniversary Celebration!

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.

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1st Ever Supersonico Lineup Announced & Why LA deserves more World Music Festivals like this!

by Tom Nguyen

(Update 7/10/14: Did some research and found out this festival have been long in the making by Latin Alternative Music Conference and Nacional Records founder Tomas Cookman and Coachella promoter Goldenvoice. They get why LA needs this so bad and we thank you!)

We couldn’t believe our eyes at first when we saw the lineup. You know those fake Coachella lineups that appear every year as people fantasize their dream lineup? This 1st ever Supersonico pretty much sums up our wet dream of a Latin Alternative festival!

Cafe Tacvba, Calle 13, Ana Tijoux, La Vida Boheme, Bomba Estereo, Nortec Collective presents Bostich & Fussible…like Anthony Valadez of KCRW said, “the promoters could have stopped with the 3 of the names and this would have been huge but instead they went deep.” Yeah no kidding! Great to see them also feature some of our favorite local acts like La Santa Cecilia, Ceci Bastida, Jungle Fire, Subsuelo, Kita Klane, LA tastemakers DJs Valadez and Raul Campos and incredibly, more artists are to be announced!

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Interview with Marisa Ronstadt

Photo by: Chicano Soul (Art Meza)

I first saw Marisa Ronstadt performing as a vocalist in the tight knit son jarocho community, with members of Grammy-winning East LA band Quetzal. Little did I know at the time, that she was at an exciting juncture in her life: having just become a new mother and successfully crowd-funded her first debut album, entitled Blueberry Moon, after her newborn daughter.

It wasn’t until her album release party on June 1st at Eastside Luv Bar, in Boyle Heights, that I discovered her last name is not coincidental — Marisa comes from the distinguished Ronstadt family which includes her legendary cousin, singer Linda Ronstadt and father,  television host Jose Ronstadt, who was there to support his accomplished daughter on her big night. Well, Marisa is a tremendously talented and sultry singer and songwriter in her own right and she really had me and the entire crowd from the very first song, the very soulful pop song Sweetest Memory. Her whole album lyrically is a personal, intimate portrait of her life here in Los Angeles since she moved here from Arizona and musically is an homage to so many of her influences from soul and R&B to latin ballads and modern pop. Here are some excerpts from my interview with Marisa and the full audio interview below!

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Support Viento Callejero’s Kickstarter for 1st Album!

Viento Callejero is one of my favorite LA bands, a band that uniquely represents the exciting music that is coming out of the Los Angeles independent Latin music scene and they are having a Kickstarter to support their first album! Please support! Only 10 days left until Friday, May 30!

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6 Days left to help fund Quetzal’s new Album!

I can’t think of another band from Los Angeles that’s been working as long and as hard as Quetzal, Grammy winning band from East LA, while never losing touch with their roots and their responsibility to their community. They are the quintessential artivist group and you can count on seeing them performing at events and rallies all over Los Angeles for causes important to our communities. They’ve been working tirelessly on their new album Quetzanimales and need our support to help them finish it! Even after a Grammy win, Quetzal has avoided the typical commercial music route, instead “creating music that remains committed to expressing the dignity, resistance, and struggle of our communities.” Please consider supporting their Kickstarter campaign! Their goal is almost within sight, with just $1300 more needed within the next 6 days!

Chicanas Who Rock and more American Sabor at CSULA

Three generations of Chicana musicians, humorously calling themselves Las ChiChis (CHIcanas CHIngonas), joined in a historic collaboration tonight at CSULA’s Music Hall. The small theater quickly filled up with overflow seating outside in the lobby as Lysa Flores, famed Chicana activista, actresss and songwriter, opened the show backed by East LA Taiko. The unique pairing of Chicana rock with Japanese drumming ended with a rousing taiko set performed by all of them together.

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Youth Over Violence Graduation Ceremony with Quetzal and Las Cafeteras

Peace Over Violence (formerly Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women) is a nonprofit that has was one of the first of its kind in the country formed in 1971 to prevent violence against women. In their 42 years, they’ve expanded their mission to preventing all forms of violence and protecting all victims of violence, and this Friday, August 9, Peace Over Violence will graduate a class of 21 youth leaders dedicated towards violence prevention in our communities. The event is at CARECEN (Central American Resource Center) and is free to the public (RSVP to [email protected]). Come celebrate and support positive grass-roots action in our community and enjoy performances by 2 of LA’s most socially conscious bands, Grammy-winning band Quetzal and Las Cafeteras.

Cali Hustle: Come to One of LA’s Best Live Music Monthlies!

cali hustle
(UPDATE 11/16/13: The 1 Year Anniversary on 11/12 was a blast! Cali Hustle will be celebrating in December with a New Year’s Eve party at The Virgil!)
Cali Hustle is a monthly free live music night, every 2nd Tuesday at The Virgil in Silverlake, featuring Quetzal Guerrero and his band and DJ Miss Sunny Z spinning the decks. Each month, they invite other wonderful emerging, independent bands and DJs to join them. It’s an eclectic night of music and dancing that I think is one of the best undiscovered secrets in LA!

They call it Cali Hustle for the eclectic blend of music being played, “California Soul, Samba, Reggae, Rock & More”, but I think the night is aptly named for another reason: we’re lucky so many talented musicians come here from all over the country and the world for the Cali dream and they hustle and work tirelessly at their craft and passion to bring us great music. I can’t think of an artist as talented and hard-working, yet as undiscovered as Quetzal Guerrero. Originally from Arizona and of American, Mexican and Brazilian heritage, Quetzal is a violin virtuoso, having studied since age 4, and combining that with his singing, songwriting and mastery of guitar and percussion, his music is a rich, unique blend of soul, funk, bossa nova, reggae and rock.

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