It’s the end of October and I’m heavily pregnant with my next solo release, an album called “Sigue El Canto”. Sometimes I can’t sleep at night with excitement but also healthy frustration to get this baby out! The due date is December 17th but I’m not sure, at this point, if the baby will adhere to a schedule. It really has been a labor of love and an entire year’s worth of work to see it through.
The idea of the album came up when I wanted to give a memorable gift to my father Guillermo for his 80th birthday in 2020, but so many things, apart from the pandemic of course, delayed it’s official release.
Here now in 2021 I can now present it to him on his birthday, yep you guessed it, December 5th. Initially it was just going to be a few songs, another e.p., but when I began recording it, something beautiful happened. It was almost like my ancestors were eager to be speaking through me, talking to me about concepts they had been wanting to express. And, our revolutionary, unorthodox family history wanted it’s story told, but in a more subtle way.
Each song is representative of the story of my family but it is also about the present/future we are intentionally creating together. Self-producing this album has not been easy, but it has been easier than my first e.p. Wake Up Now! (link it)
With Wake Up Now! I was still learning so much about how to record, how to work with the mixing engineers and the musicians in an effective manner. Wake Up Now was an exploration of my American side. It combined blues, rock, soul and even had hints of latin fusion mixed in because that was what I grew up with.
Picture this weekly family scene; My Tios are listening to oldies as they cook “carne asada” on the grill, and I’m running around with my cousins playing hide-n-go seek. My parents would then sometimes put on classics from the 60’s like Janis Joplin, The Beatles… or even artists like Aretha Franklin and Billy Holiday. All of this influenced my musical tastes tremendously and Wake Up Now has elements of all of that.
But Sigue El Canto is telling of the other part of that family scene. . After everyone had been fed, we would eventually wander to my grandmother’s living room where she had begun playing the piano. She played classical Mexican folk songs and then sometimes my Grandfather or one of my Tia’s would get up to the “stage” beside her to sing along.
When I was old enough, I began getting up there to sing too. These deeply impactly childhood memories and the songs of my people still ring in my ears today. Sigue El Canto is an honoring of this Mexican heritage and the music that inspired me to be all that I am today.
It is also a time capsule, a testament to my grandmother’s legacy of music and to my parents legacy of community activism and revolutionary work. We are much more than our past, but without a proper honoring of it, we cannot proceed to a healthy and thriving future.