Quetzal celebrates Dia de los Muertos at ECA

  • For the Enterprise
  • Tuesday, October 28, 2008 6:32pm

Los Angeles Chicano band Quetzal will celebrating the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) with a Halloween performance Oct. 30 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

Dia de los Muertos is an indigenous ceremony which began thousands of years ago in Mexico to embrace death as a voyage to a higher level of consciousness, paralleling the origins of Halloween traditions in early Europe. Today it is a joyous holiday widely celebrated in Hispanic communities throughout the world with ceremonial costume, art, and altars to departed loved ones, all featuring the ever-present skeleton figure.

In the early nineties, in a tiny cafe on the outskirts of Little Tokyo Los Angeles, Quetzal Flores, a son of two community organizers, formed Quetzal, presenting a new experience in and pushing the boundaries of Chicano music. Twelve years later Quetzal is of one Los Angeles most important and successful groups.

Quetzal has been described as embodying the soul and the struggle at the heart of the Mexican-American legacy. Their mix of Mexican and Afro-Cuban rhythms, jazz, R&B, and rock is supercharged by the dynamic vocals of Martha Gonzalez. Their commitment to using art as a tool for social change is informed and inspired by global grassroots movements.

Aside from touring, the band frequently engages in organizing and participating in opening spaces for transnational dialogue. For the past five years they have been instrumental in developing Fandango Sin Fronteras, a dialogue between Chicanos from California and Jarochos (musicians from Veracruz, Mexico). Their latest studio album, “Die Cowboy Die,” is available through CDbaby.com.

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