We present highlights of a series presented at La Pena where we take an intimate look at the arts that document our his/herstory Community Building Through songwriting and poetry.
Tonight we bring you the highlights of an evening with Melanie DeMore as well as the conversation and concert of Quetzal.
Singer-songwriter Melanie DeMore has a remarkable voice, weaving the fibers of African American folk music with soulful ballads, spirituals and her own original music.
Melanie DeMore was a California Artist in Residence with the Oakland Youth Chorus for 10 years and has received an award from the Music Educators National Conference for her work with young singers and artists. She is on the music faculty at St. Paul's School in Oakland, CA where she teaches a cappella singing. DeMore is also a founding member of the Grammy nominated, critically-acclaimed vocal ensemble 'Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir', a group that tours extensively in the US and abroad.
The eight members of Quetzal are pioneers of the new Chicano Groove, a burgeoning Los Angeles-based music scene that has produced popular groups such as Ozomatli and Yeska. For these U.S. raised barrio musicians, influences from both sides of the border are readily assimilated. Quetzal's lyrics of barrio life and dreams in Spanish and English reflect the agility of Ruben Blades, poetic touch; their devotion to the groove is reminiscent of P-Funk; and their synthesis of a wide range of styles invites comparisons to Mexico's Cafe Tacuba.
The art of Quetzal is also highly political. Heavily influenced by the Zapatista rebels in Chiapas, where the band traveled in the past. Quetzal espouses the notion that we must create our own spheres of social, political and cultural autonomy in order to be free. Their work articulates a vision of what unites people in struggle throughout the world.