By Isaac Tovar
MEChA welcomed independent music and revolutionary minds for their “Day of the Indigenous” concert on Saturday night at the auditorium foyer.
The event raised $700 to establish a scholarship fund for AB 540 students. The audience was entertained by culture driven music, ranging from blues-like-reggae songs telling the stories of a struggling culture in English and Nahuatl, to hard edged hip-hop with revolutionary undertones, to more fast paced rhythmic scratching of a turntable madman.
The first band to take the stage was “Ska Killing Anthem.” They delivered a seemingly traditional ska sound that built on fast paced rhythms, whose sound almost bordered on the punk side. The intensity helped set the mood for the night. This was not just a concert but a proud cultural movement. One of the bands, 700 pound Guerrilla, could not make it, but fortunately a last-minute addition was made and the “Humble Servants” took the stage.
Their set was a bit slower, as they are a Spanish reggae group, but the message was the same, don’t forget who we are and what we stand for. Their island sound mixed well with the crowd. They created a relaxed and easy atmosphere for the crowd to sway in unison. For a change of pace the next group, a duo, started their set with some words of wisdom for the attendees followed by some spoken word poetry. All poets embodied the struggle of indigenous people and enforcing love for mother earth.
The Guerrilla Queenz brought hip-hop flows over original beats, “using words as lyrical bullets,” said Sistah Centzi, half of the Guerrilla Queenz, in a post-show interview. Centzi and Sistah Eyerie, the other half of Guerrilla Queenz, brought their children to the show. Eyerie said, “We bring our seeds because it’s important for them to see the work we’re doing as a movement for our people. It’s positive to see that the generations have not lost contact with the movement,” she said.
The next group, another duo, Mine+us & DJ Hoppa, started off with DJ Hoppa scratching and mixing together beats that got the crowd amped and moving, shortly followed on stage by his lyrical collaborator Mine+us. The two melded very well as Mine+us’s creative lyrics and eccentricity made for an entertaining front man.
The humble-minded lyricist performed most of his set on the floor with the crowd. He said to them he’s one of them and that other artists need to remember this. He said to not let fame take over them. Mine+us came by way of suggestion from 2Mex, an artist, who put him in contact with Tony Sandoval, MEChA’s adviser, for the nights performance. Mine+us referenced his mother quite a bit during the show, going so far as to even call her during his set and allowing everyone to listen as he thanked her and told her about the show.
His mother, who has been working with Chicanos Por la Causa for 30 years, has been his main motivation for participating at events and speaking for the people. He said there is not a week that goes by when he wishes to be as involved as she has been. The grand finale was a performance by Quinto Sol, a very popular Spanish reggae group that has close ties to MEChA, East L.A. and it’s cultural movement. The music was reggae at its finest, beautiful Mexican rhythms, Nahuatl poems and cultural pride that emanated in their music.
This culminated the evenings events perfectly.Sandoval was even allowed to join them on stage to perform verses and poems, some even in Nahuatl. The concert was absolute enjoyment, whether you are Chicano or not. The night was a blast. It was great music, cultural education and a fundraiser for students in need.