Amoeblog

Surrealist Women, Martha Gonzalez & Quetzal's Imaginaries & The Politics Of The World Diva

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, March 12, 2012 08:46am | Post a Comment
Frida Kahlo Surealist PaintersI couldn’t help but think while viewing LACMA’s new exhibit, In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States, How many people spent more time at the paintings made by Frida Kahlo than any of the dozens of excellent surrealist artists featured at the exhibit. Certainly, Frida is the rock star. Her artwork is used in advertisements for the exhibit that are plastered all over Los Angeles. So much so that I heard at least a dozen people refer to the exhibit as “The Frida Kahlo Exhibit” and were disappointed over the fact that there were only seven pieces of her work in the show. Still, it didn’t stop the multitude of women in rebozos wearing ethnic jewelry and posing for pictures in front of Kahlo’s artwork, sharing in Frida’s pain and heartbreak.

I don’t want to sound like a hater, because I do appreciate Kahlo’s artwork and to not acknowledge what she has meant for women artist and the art world in general would be unjust. Not only was she a great artist but also her artwork was superior to many of her male counterparts. Her art forced the inclusion of her and many other great female artists that weren’t given much respect beforehand. But as I continued through the exhibit, marveling over the great surrealist art of Maria Izquierdo, Remedios Varo, Dorothea Tanning, Gertrude Abercrombie and Francesca Woodman, it was evident that people for the most part, were more hung up on Frida’s biography than the art.

This is who we are as a society. We love our icons. We like our revolutionaries handsome and strong and we like our suffering artists to be tragic. You can’t be a multifaceted. You can’t be a tragic icon who met someone nice and settled down. You can’t be a revolutionary that decided, “Eh, I rather get a steady job” We admire them because unlike many of us, they are all or none and they are who they are until their death. Even if it is a perceived notion, we want our icons to make us think they are not like us. Nothing speaks volumes than modern pop music. Was 2Pac really a thug or a very talented rapper/actor who made us believe he was harder than he was?

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Jende Ri Palenge, A Recording & Documentary on The Afro-Colombian Community of Palenque, Out Now

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, March 4, 2012 11:05pm | Post a Comment
Jende Ri PalengeI’m a fan of the group, Bomba Estereo. Recently, I have become even more of a fan for how they represent their home country of Colombia through their art. Their Electro-Dub influences mesh well their Cumbia, Champeta and Colombia Salsa references. Along with such artists as Frente Cumbiero, also from Colombia, Bomba Estereo brings a fresh take on Colombian music to the rest of the world.

I was happy to read about a project that a couple of members of Bomba Estero, Santiago Posada and Simon Mejía, were a part of. Jende Ri Palenge is the result their three month stay in San Basilio De Palenque. Not only is San Basilio De Palenque the birthplace of Afro-Colombian music but also it’s a town famous as being the first free slave community in Colombia. During their stay, Santiago and Simon built a studio in the town of San Basilio De Palenque and recorded the various artists that live and work there. At the end of their stay, Santiago and Mejia left the studio for the people so that they can continue to record themselves.

The culmination of their stay is a 3 disc/5LP + DVD box set, released by Soul Jazz Records. Jende Ri Palenge features the music recorded with the Palenque community, as well as remixes of their original compositions by some of South America’s best remixers. Each version includes a documentary film of the recording process, also made by Mejia and Posada

According to the Soul Jazz website, Posada and Mejía chose to focus on three artists: Panamá, León, and Sikito, who put together various line-ups to play music typical of the region. The Afro-Colombian sound that the musicians of Palenque recorded for Jende Ri Palenge is the origins of Colombian music and quite frankly, of many Latin America musical styles today.

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This Week On Radio Sombra

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, February 26, 2012 04:12pm | Post a Comment
Counterstrike With Marco amadorWe have a some great new shows this week on radiosombra.org, plus a new look website!

On this week’s edition of COUNTERSTRIKE, host Marco Amador will interview the legendary Norm Chomsky and a coordinator of stoplapdspying.org, Hamid Khan. Counterstrike intermixes many local issues that affect Chicanos today and shows parallel struggles internationally through interviews of some of the best critical thinkers today. In the past, Marco has interviewed the likes of Dr. Cornel West, Mumia Abu-Jamal and Chicano activist Carlos Montes. Marco is also the creator of radiosombra.org

Following Counterstrike is the debut of a new show, Radio Discostan. Radio Discostan is the creation of Arshia Haq, a former employee of Amoeba Hollywood and a contributor to the label, Sublime Frequencies. Radio Discostan explores lovely music from Belarus to Burma via Bombay. Having worked with Arshia in the past, I can say firsthand that her musical collection and knowledge runs deep. From Arabic love songs to Turkish Rockers to Hindi Disco, I guarantee that you will hear something that you have never heard before. Discostan runs from 9-10 pm PSTRadio Discostan with Arshia Haq

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The Influence Of African-American Culture On A Non African-American: Four Examples

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, February 19, 2012 11:31pm | Post a Comment
Malcolm XI grew up on black culture. For most Mexican-Americans like myself growing up in the seventies and eighties, we didn’t feel a part of dominant society nor of our Mexican heritage. Schools were devoid of Latin American studies and English as a second language courses were frowned upon. As a kid I was lost; I didn’t know anything about my own culture but felt distant from American or European culture. For many of us, African-American culture was our alternative. I believed our struggles were the same. We were occupied people. We were once a part of progressive society and then we were conquered and made slaves. Although we received some basic human rights over the years we were always looked as second-class citizens here in the U.S. We were looked as something to fear and exclude. As years went on, some blacks and Latinos started to feel that they were part of mainstream society. Perhaps wanting to forget the past, some blacks and Latinos forgot the oppression they once shared. We separated, made our own history and often competed against each other to get out of the racial cellar.  

Even after becoming aware of my own cultural heritage, I never forgot the influence that African-American culture had on me. I find it strange to meet Mexican-Americans that have many European influences but no black cultural influences. I find it even stranger that many of them have the same fears of blacks as other members of dominant society. 

I cannot shake the influence of the many African-American musicians, activists, athletes and artists had on me, even after discovering the many great Chicano/Latin American icons that influence me today. For that reason, I would like to pay tribute to some African American icons that have influenced my life in some way or another.

Malcolm X

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Luis Alberto Spinetta 1950-2012

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, February 8, 2012 04:33pm | Post a Comment
Luis Alberto Spinetta DeathOne of my greatest joys when I was picked to write a blog for Amoeba was that I was able to write about music that I truly loved. It was within my first few blogs that I wrote about my love for the music of Luis Alberto Spinetta. Sadly, Spinetta passed away today. A few months back he was diagnosed with lung cancer and died with pulmonary cancer complications. He had just turned 62.

My love for Spinetta’s music grew with my relationships with customers and some fellow employees who encouraged me to delve deeper into his music. Once I did, I found myself doing the same with others. Although a legend in Argentina and for that matter, with most Latin American rockers, he was still a bit of an unknown in mainstream society. I often wondered why other Latin American rock & psychedelic artists got more hipster cred when Spinetta’s volume of work was far superior to others.

His early groups, Almendra, Pescado Rabioso, Invisible and Spinetta Jade where some of the best rock, psyche, progressive rock and folk ever to come out of Latin America. As a solo artist, he released over twenty albums, all of them relevant to the time it was released. To be fair, not all of the solo albums were great but he never wallowed in nostalgia. He attempted to be contemporary without sounding like a dinosaur. If anything, sometimes he was too far ahead of the pack and people needed time to catch up to him.

As a well-read musician, his lyrics were both profound and abstract. I imagine even the most literary Spanish language types needed time to stop and analyze his lyrics. He was inspired by the works of Arthur Rimbaud, Carl Jung, Freud, Nietzsche, Carlos Castaneda and Antonin Artaud, which inspired his greatest album in my opinion, Artaud. Fellow music enthusiast, Gustavo Delanuca, described Spinetta as, “Hip, ahead of his time and never an old man trying be young”

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