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Healing Our Communities One Beat at a Time August 28, 2009

Filed under: Events — texicana @ 11:50 pm

Healing Our Communities One Beat at a Time

I will be doing some spoken word at this event tomorrow night in San Antonio, TX with Xicana Chronicles!

 

Haiku and a Song – Silvio Rodriguez “Te Doy Una Cancion” August 25, 2009

Filed under: Haiku and a Song — texicana @ 3:04 am

I love all kinds of music.  From Tejano to Hip Hop to Salsa to Trova.

Here I share with you one of my favorite trovadores Silvio Rodriguez.  His music is timeless.  His personal story is amazing!  He’s a Cuban revolutionary troubador.  This song “Te Doy Una Cancion” means “I Give You a Song.” 

This song makes me feel that life is timeless when you are in love.  Every second matters.  The past, although filled with some good and some bad times is irreversible and shapes your actions today. 

Que viva Silvio!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e63kx2GteHQ

Cancion de Patria

El Amor no olvida

La melodia

 

Poem for raúlsalinas August 19, 2009

Filed under: Poetry — texicana @ 6:53 pm

Raul Salinas was a poet, activist, teacher, and wise elder in our Austin community and the rest of Turtle Island. His loss is felt throughout many people’s lives because he inspired and taught others the power of poetry and of being politically active to help improve our world.

Raul first opened Resistencia Bookstore in 1983. Throughout the years, the bookstore has been a home for artists from all over the world. It is the people’s bookstore – a sacred space for sharing, reflecting, and strategizing.

It is because of Raul that I feel empowered to continue to write poetry.  He always reminded others, especially youth at risk that poetry is Liberating, Empowering, and Healing.  He is greatly missed, but will never be forgotten. His energy will always be felt.

I wrote the following poem on August 25, 2007 and recited this poem for a tribut to Raul Salinas at Austin’s Mexican American Cultural Center.  This was the last public tribute for Raul before he passed away on February 13, 2008.

 

 raul y erika 3

 

 

About your Presence and Survival

for raúlsalinas

by Erika González

inspired by raúlsalinas’ poem “About Invasion and Conquset”

 

Who will be left to tell of what happened to us, Grandfather?

Who will be left to tell of what happened to us, Grandmother?

Among those who survive, there will be poets to recount that which happened to us.

 

Among those survivors, a cockroach poet was born – en el Pinto – del maiz that grew

along cemented walls – that died each day only to be reborn – turtle coming out of shell –

tough outer skin protecting revolutionary insides –

surviving to tell the stories of a man who broke penitentiary walls with words

shone sunlight through keyholes

and opened doors for la pura verdad

to heal barrio cries and broken spirits.

 

Died and reborn out of mother earth’s womb as a Native to these Americas

with trenzas indigenas, y brown listón, red bandana y tatuajes con coded

messages for the world to decipher.

 

And in a dream of word offerings, a young Xicanita asks,

“Who will be left to tell of what happened to us?

When our trees are being cut, our homes destroyed, our families displaced,

our people locked up or dead, our earth in retaliation to the contamination.

Who will be left?

 

And in total Resistance y Pure Dignidad, “Es la palabra que no nos pueden quitar” me dice

La historia – the story cannot be locked up, the story cannot be shackled, the story cannot

be stolen

 

When a survivor emerges and reaches out his hand to little Xicanitas like me –

to La Resistencia y la Poesia de las Calles y la comunidad –

Eso es sobrevivir – that is real survival and a gift of life –

to tell – to change – to heal – to recount what happened in our struggles

y siempre pasar la palabra

y siempre pasar la palabra

today – today – today

 

Tell your story to survive

and know that you have the power to change the way the story ends

con Resistencia y Plena Dignidad.

 

Why so much hatred?? August 17, 2009

Filed under: Haiku and a Song,Poetry,Tejano Music — texicana @ 4:55 am

So I was watching the you tube video of Little Joe’s song, “Las Nubes” and noticed that there were a lot of Tejanos that posted comments to the video.  Some were very racist against Mexicanos (immigrants / migrantes). 

This is a message to all Tejanos who are hating on Mexicanos: 

We didn’t cross the border!  The border crossed us!  Meaning that we are all MeXicas!  All the southwest is Aztlan!  Texas, California, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico – all lands of MeXicas.  Remember, these lands were stolen and divided our people.  Just because a border divides a country does not make us any different from one another.  The mainstream media is painting a really bad picture of migrantes and wants to continue to brainwash us to divide and conquer.  We need to unite! 

Here is a poem I wrote about my querido pueblo, Eagle Pass, TX.  Hopefully you can read this and realize that the border wall that is being constructed is not just for migrantes – it’s a hate wall that sybmolizes that brown people whether citizens or not are not wanted in this country unless they will become slaves to the master. 

Let’s not be slaves to the master!  We need to uplift our gente, heal ourselves from corraje and internalized opression.  Hating on Mexican migrants is hating on your own familia.  Todos somos familia de estas tierras.  La sangre no tiene fronteras.  Blood has no borders!

AIR:  El AIRE de la Frontera / Air from the Border

El olor de la frontera

is dirt mixed with blood

that the Rio Bravo cannot wash away.

El olor de la frontera

is  warm air at sunset

and cedar among maquiladora madness.

Contradictions are alive en la frontera

 Cactus flowers bloom

But starving mouths are pricked by the thorns.

El olor de la frontera carries mystery and power

Some cannot explain how a people can survive here

On the edge of four worlds – el Xicano, el Mexicano, el Africano y el Indio

Traveling pa ya y pa ca

It’s an acquired smell

The tortillas, the migas, the border jam traffic, la migra, the tobacco in the air.

The smell of family trees generations deep

Uprooted by construction of a hate wall

The smell of resistance and the smell of fear

is almost a sound in the air that yells fire

from ancient burial grounds of Abuelitos and Abuelitas

whose voice is carried by the wind into our hearts

telling us it’s time to wake up and smell the injustice

And if this wall of hate is still constructed,

Then let us not let them build a wall of hate in ourselves

Because the air is what can free us

Because the water is what can cure us

Because the fire is what can liberate us

Because the tierra is what can unite us

 

Haiku and a Song – Las Nubes – The Clouds August 16, 2009

Filed under: Haiku and a Song,Tejano Music — texicana @ 7:14 am

A classic Xicano-Tejano song – “Las Nubes” in english meaning “The Clouds” by Little Joe y La Familia.  This song is about the struggle of the Tejano farmworker.  It talks about the struggle a man is feeling as a worker sometimes feeling that crying can turn into laughter and laughter can turn into singing.  The singing then brings on the clouds and the clouds start producing rain.  In the song, Little Joe sings about the struggle of the Tejano man resorting to drinking when it seems like the world is falling apart.  He sends a message to the man saying not to let drinking alcohol become a vice, the clouds come and bring rain from the ocean that cleanses the spirit. 

For real you all…this is a classic Tejano song…Took me a minute to actually realize how deep the lyrics are…One of my favorite Tejano songs…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoS3Rim5kVk

The following are several haikus I wrote in Spanish inspired by this song.  The haikus start with the clouds, to the rain, to lightning and then to a storm. 

CLOUDS / NUBES

Veo las caras                                                                

Expreciones cambiando                                  

Las nubes rien                                                           

 

RAIN / LLUVIA

 Lluvia traeme paz                                                   

Para seguir viviendo                                              

Dios me conoce                                                          

 

RELAMPAGOS / LIGHTNING

Trueno! Quien soy yo?                                           

Alumbrame la vida                                                     

Con tiros de fe                                                                     

 

TORMENTA / STORM

Viene la fuerza                                                               

Escucha la tormenta                                                   

Baila con ella                                                                     

 

A Haiku and a Song August 15, 2009

Filed under: Haiku and a Song — texicana @ 5:53 pm

I am so not a tech person…so while I figure out how to post a video on this blog, check out the link below.

I’ve decided to post a haiku and a song at least a couple of times a week with music that I love followed by a haiku that was inspired by that song…Why a haiku???  Well, it’s a nice and short way of expressing yourself in a 5-7-5 syllable format…I might mix it up and challenge myself…but for now…Here is my first Haiku and a Song…

Song is by Raphael Saadiq….”Skyy, Can you Feel Me”  OOOOHH…..this song makes me want to get up and clap my hands and move my hips from side to side:)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpBzuUGStFk

Can you feel my love

Traveling through distant time

Each second of now

 

Tejano Music Then and Now August 14, 2009

Filed under: Tejano Music — texicana @ 9:24 am

The first time I heard Tejano music was in the womb.  I don’t exactly remember being in the womb, but I just know that the music was passed through my mom’s umbilical cord…Canciones de Little Joe y la Familia, Laura Canales, Latin Breed, and even my dad’s – Oscar G., were all felt while in my mother’s belly as she danced at outdoor bailes or while listening to the radio as she went about her day. 

My dad, Tejano artist, Oscar G. was a huge influence on me while growing up
               My dad, Tejano artist, Oscar G. was a huge influence on me while growing up.

Those were the good old days…when Tejano music was at its best – in the 70’s all the way up to the 90’s.  Tejano music ruled in Texas and it was good, quality music.  Today, there is a different picture.  A picture where Tejano music is slowly fading away from the radiowaves and a quality song/band is found only by digging through dusty records. 

Que paso?  What happened to La Musica Tejana that we all grew up with?  What happened to the social consciousness of Tejano records displaying the Farmworker Eagle and uplifting messages like “Para la Gente”  / “For the People” and songs that talked of resistance and hope?  Some may say that it was just a moment in history and is now long gone.  An era when Tejanos started identifying as Xicanos, resisted the War in Vietnam, and marched alongside Cesar Chavez

little joe para la genteLittle Joe's Album "Chicanismo" shows Tejano music's political consciousness of brown pride!Little Joe's "La Voz de Aztlan" album reclaiming indigenous Mexican roots

Little Joe’s Albums, “Para La Gente” / “For the People”, “Chicanismo,” and “La Voz de Aztlan” / “The Voice of Aztlan” clearly show Tejano music’s political consciousness and indigenous roots.

 

Some may say that this era ended in the 1970’s giving birth to the romanticism of the 1980’s. Tejanos left the picket line to the love line!  Even then, the 1980’s produced lovely romantic ballads such as La Mafia’s “Tu, tu, y Solo Tu” and La Fiebre’sBorracho de Besos.”  I still hear those songs so clearly in my head and they actually bring a smile to my face reminiscing about how good it felt to have your own Tejano brothers and sisters as role models for the young generation Tejanito/as.  I remember how MTV even influenced Tejano music through videos and through the incorporation of pop and electronic beats.  La Mafia first started out in 1980, but they acknowledge the influence the hip hop generation had on their style of music in the late 80’s and early 90’s.  They started producing videos and started to write songs in English to appeal to the bilingual and young Tejano generation.  Groups such as La Sombra followed in their footsteps and eventually became the Texas version of the Mexican group – Menudo.  I remember being 9 years old and attending my first Tejano concert – not dance – but concert – front stage with La Sombra singing  “El Sapo” and “Pepe le Pew” both of which incorporated rap into the lyrics. 

I remember as a young child, watching Selena Quintanilla – a brown Tejana-Xicana win a Grammy.  You can just imagine what that did to a whole generation of young brown girls throughout Texas!  It meant we could follow our own dreams and become whatever we wanted to be in life – that our contribution to our culture was meaningful and that we could use our voice to influence the masses! 

Selena

Selena Quintanilla had a style of her own fused with Hip-Hop and Tejano. 

With the dying of Selena came the slow death of women in Tejano music.  Shelly Lares is still representing and has been for many years.  I give her huge props for keeping it real and keeping a consistent edge in the male dominated Tejano music industry.  But Selena’s death marked a moment in time when hope was lost.  It’s like the dying of Michael Jackson for the black community.  An icon leaving us too soon means all we have is their memory and a legacy, but who will pave the road for future entertainers with great influence? 

La musica Tejana of today is still going strong, but is masked by corporate radio stations that are now trying to fuse Tejano music and Mexican Regional Music into one.  Don’t get me wrong!  Tejano Music and music from Mexico go hand in hand.  They’re like two twin brothers who don’t look alike but are from the same parents.  You can’t deny each one’s identity.  Each brings with it its own history, its own artists, its own following.

Tonight, I attended the 5th Annual Premios Texas, a Texas based music awards.  I was so disappointed to see that for a show honoring artists in Texas, only one Tejano artist – Bobby Pulido was given an award and invited to perform.  Vallejo, an Austin, TX based group was the only other Texas group represented at the Premios Texas awards.  All of the other artists were from other Latin American countries and were artists frequently seen on the network, Univision, (which by the way seems to only portray the lighter shades of Latinos on its network).  It was a sad dose of reality for me to see that Tejano music has resorted to making Bobby Pulido its poster child as if his father, the legendary Tejano artist Roberto Pulido never existed. 

What made the Premios Texas awards show even more peculiar was the naming of the Lifetime Achievement Award.  In years past, Flaco Jimenez, Ruben Ramos, Little Joe, and A.B. Quintanilla III were recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award so I was anxiously waiting for the moment when another Tejano icon would be awarded.  Names were running through my head as I was sitting in my seat – David Lee Garza, Elida Reyna, Jimmy Edwards, Mister Chivo, Patsy Torres, or even tributes to the late Selena or Laura Canales crossed my mind.  To my shock, the Premios Texas Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Puerto Rican singer Olga Tañón.  Nothing against Olga, but it seemed that the awards ceremony was a tribute to her.  She won Best Female Artist, Best Tropical Music Artist, was given the Lifetime Achievement Award, and presented a couple of awards herself as well as performing a song of hers on stage.  It was like being at the BET Awards and seeing Jamie Foxx host, perform, and run an all man show all night!

olga-tanon

I have to give it up to Olga Tañón for being a successful performer for the merengue and Spanish pop genre, and her influence in Texas should not go unnoticed, but for her to recieve such a prestigous award for Texas music just does not make any sense to me.  I was floored!  There was no tribute to Selena and no recognition of the countless of Tejano artists who could have recieved that award or even be invited to have a presence at the awards.

I ask myself, what is Tejano music coming to?  Is it now a small spot in a Texas based music awards?  Is it pulling a dusty record off your shelf?  Is it a flash from the past Tejano Radio station who is still trying to hold on to the “old” Tejano music?  Or will it forever be just a memory for those who lived to see Tejano music at its best?