Remember that album we made together and released in February? Well, my friends, we made made a slew of Best of 2014 lists, including NPR’s Alt Latino’s Favorite Latin Albums of 2014 and KUTX’s Best Austin Albums of 2014! This year just won’t stop giving and it’s all because of the love that helped to make Up.Rooted a reality. THANK YOU!
It was a relaxing Labor Day. A nice late start followed by free yoga — thank you Austin and Yoga Con Amor — and a caffeine fix at Genuine Joe, our favorite neighborhood hang, when a certain someone looked at her phone and saw that… GANAMOS! We WON the Latin category of the The John Lennon Songwriting Contest! We tried to keep our squeals and hugs to a minimum but we definitely got some stares as we ran outside to begin the jumping up and down. Days later it’s still hard to believe that “Siete-D,” a musical tribute to our experiences in El Salvador and the girls we taught who are now family, has won one of the most important songwriting contests in the U.S.! Even cooler, I just got word that the leading newspaper in El Salvador, La Prensa, wants an interview… que locura!
Stay tuned on that. Mientras tanto, felicidades to all the Session 1 finalists and winners. GANAMOS, SUBE!
Tune in to your local National Public Radio affiliate station this afternoon for the nationally-syndicated show All Things Considered. Why? Because I’ll be on it! I am beyond excited, and extremely humbled, to have not only visited the mothership of public radio — the NPR offices in Washington, D.C. — while touring the East Coast last week, but to have been interviewed by the director of ATC herself, Monika Evstatieva. Tis a Good Friday, indeed…
6th ANNUAL PACHANGA LATINO MUSIC FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES FULL LINEUP FOR CELEBRATION AT FIESTA GARDENS MAY 10 & 11
April 02, 2013 (Austin, TX) – Pachanga Latino Music Festival, the Latin-themed music, cultural arts and food festival, announced today the final music lineup for its 2013 festival. The festival will kick off Friday evening, May 10th and run through Saturday, May 11th at Fiesta Gardens in Austin, Texas.
Additions to the lineup features international, national and local favorites Grupo
Fantasma, Vallejo, Este Vato, Gina Chavez, Como Las Movies, Bang Data, Susan
Torres y Conjunto Clemencia, Selena y Los Burritos, Miranda Gil and Anthropos
“We are so excited about the line-up this year,” said Rich Garza, founder of Pachanga
Latino Music Festival. “The addition of Carla Morrison and Enjambre to this year really brings us up another notch. We love that we can showcase all this music from Mexico, Austin and beyond.”
2013 FINAL LINEUP:
Intocable (Zapata, TX)
3ball MTY (Monterrey, Mexico)
Grupo Fantasma (Austin, TX)
Vallejo (Austin, TX)
Este Vato (Austin, TX)
Los Lobos (Los Angeles, CA)
Celso Piña (Monterrey, Mexico)
Carla Morrison (Tecate, Mexico)
Enjambre (Mexico City, Mexico)
Flaco Jiménez (San Antonio, TX)
Los Master Plus (Guadalajara, Mexico)
Los Rakas (Oakland, CA)
Raul y Mexia (Fresno, CA)
Y La Orkesta (Tucson, AZ)
Sweet & Tender Hooligans (Los Angeles, CA)
Mariachi Mystery Tour (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
Money Chicha (Austin, TX)
Gina Chavez (Austin, TX)
Como Las Movies (Austin, TX)
Bang Data (Oakland, CA)
Susan Torres y Conjunto Clemencia (Austin, TX)
Selena y Los Burritos (Austin, TX)
Miranda Gil (Austin, TX)
Anthropos Musicians Collective (Austin, TX)
(see the complete issue of this edition of gina mail)
The Austin Chronicle SXSW issue came out yesterday and, thanks to your incredible support, we took the Austin Music Awards by storm! Check it out…
If you missed the award show last night, grab a peek and then celebrate the big win with us tomorrow night at Guero’s for our final full band showcase… I in no way expected to win anything at the AMAs, much less to place in four categories! I’m still in shock from last night’s wins and continue to be humbled by your support and honored by your love. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Ah yes, wanna see photos from the event?
In the age of iTunes, Spotify and playlists, it seems silly to fret over things like album titles and song order. But we musicians do. We fret because we care. A lot. After all, who goes to the movie with no title or reads the unnamed book? You probably wouldn’t be too inclined to buy “gina’s new album” or tell your friends about that rando collection of music Gina just made, so… a title!
Since titling my first record was a two-month process of list-making and opinion polls, I was determined not to repeat the madness this go-round. I eased into it, starting with the song titles — good, but none of them weighty enough to carry the album. Diving into the lyrics, I saw some interesting themes bubble to the surface: distance, travel, heartache, connection to the earth (and the loss of it), disparity, crossing borders, longing, discovery.
Everything regarding imaging, packaging and promotion is heavily tied to the album title (i.e. deadlines! stress!), so I lit each theme like incense and took a deep breath, hoping the right fragrance would find me.
On an impulse errand (that I had zero time for) I stopped by the library and found the words “Mexican Enough” staring back at me from the shelf. The author, Stephanie Elizondo Griest, had me laughing to tears with her first book, so I snatched it up and found our stories oddly similar: Latina by nature, gringa by nurture, seeks to uncover and connect with her lost Latin roots. Picking up where I’d left off one morning, I opened the book and couldn’t read past the word uprooted.
1. to pull out by the roots.
2. to displace, as from a home or country; tear away, as from customs or a way of life.
So why the period?
The songs on this album tell about a time of discovery for me, a moving forward: up. They also tell the story of one finding peace in the present, where she’s standing, who she is: rooted. And yet there’s an ever-present restlessness, a need to uncover a past that’s been lost, to find her place among a people whose blood she shares but whose injustices she’s been spared: uprooted. How can something be both up and rooted? The word itself seems torn between two worlds, longing to find its place. And so am I: up.rooted.
And now a visual representation of the title by friend and fan, Lobo Corona…
(not the album artwork)
PS: After finishing the book, I flipped back to the beginning and found this poignant inscription on the dedication page…
Se llevaron nuestros frutos, cortaron nuestras ramas, quemaron nuestro tronco, pero no pudieron arrancar nuestras raices. -Popol Vuh
They stole our fruit, cut our branches, burned our trunk, but they could not unearth our roots. -from the Mayan “Book of the People”
Fueled by the energy of Venezuelan dance-rock group La Vida Boheme‘s performance the night before, I awoke in Queens with a skip in my step and made the casi 2-hour trek into the heart of Manhattan.
For a city on the move, there’s actually a lot of disconnected (i.e. non-interweb) downtime in this city. Ironically, the downtime itself is on the move via bus, train and sidewalk. It’s refreshing to see people reading (actual books and the good ole fashioned newspaper, not just iphones and kindles) on the subway. Luckily I brought along Three Cups of Tea for my traveling pleasure.
I arrived at The Roosevelt Hotel in time for a great panel on the clash between terrestrial, satellite and internet radio. Fue realment interesante. Panelists talked about the Latino population as the fastest growing music audience and the spectrum of Latin music listeners widening every day as the music itself diversifies. After all, what is “Latin music”? Music in Spanish? Music with Afro and Latin rhythms? Music sung by Latinos? In such a connected world, it’s silly to pin down a genre according to mere language or the color of the skin of the person singing it.
I think panelists generally agreed that it’s whatever music we Latinos allow to come out of us, whether it be R&B, jazz, hip hop, rock, folk, electronica, in English, in Spanish, in Portuguese. Whatever the flavor, it’s music, and if it’s good, it deserves play on any station, terrestrial or in the sky, alongside artists of an equivalent genre. Latin music ain’t just tejano and salsa anymore, people! The bummer thing is that it’s hard, if not impossible, to get non-traditional Latin music placed in mainstream radio. The good news is, there are some incredible publicly-owned tastemaker radio stations that scour the interweb for Latin artists to play alongside their popular English-language indie, hip hop, electronica and rock artists. The main ones are LA’s KCRW, Seattle’s KEXP, and National Public Radio! Love me some public radio.
The rest of the day was an increasingly hysterical episode of nonstop witty (and not-so-witty) banter, ridiculous accents, and relentless jokes when I found myself with Austin songstress Scarlett Olson and Brooklyn hip-hop/pop artists Mauricio Alexander. We caught Guatelmala’s Gaby Moreno (who found her passion in the sounds of America’s 20th century blues and jazz music) belting over a roomful of chatty Latinos with Aretha-like vocal power. Man, that girl can sing!
The hysterical trio continued on to Que Bajo!, a fringe show by DJs Geko Jones, Uproot Andy, Chan-Cha Via Circuito, Austin’s DJ Orion y mas, and danced our faces off! I’d had the pleasure of meeting Jasmine Garsd of Alt. Latino earlier in the day and joined her at DROM in Manhattan for some intense dancing until 3 a.m. Paula and her friend Kingsley joined Scarlett and Mauricio and I for the booty shaking and salsa dancing and I can safely say I haven’t danced that much in years!
From there, Paula took me to get some hot and I mean HOT tea for my ailing throat (too much talking) after which we went to Brooklyn to push Kingsley’s car, which wasn’t starting, to the other side of the street (New Yorkers can’t leave their car on one side of the street for more than 24 hours – weird). He managed to get about 12 people into the street to help him at 2:30 a.m. These people really don’t sleep!
My one regret of the evening was not recording our goofy trio’s antics. We had some crazy alcohol-inspired ideas, not the least of which was our creation of a new genre, mixing folk and reggaeton/hip hop. It shall be called “ReggaeFolkeTonKlorico,” hahahaha… Shall our insanity ever see the light of day again? Hmm… perhaps there’s a way to resurrect the magic of the evening… special YouTube series!
This city is as energetic as it is dirty. And in the summer, that can only mean one thing: sweat!
I’m typing on my phone so I’ll keep this brief. To give you an idea of my day yesterday, my amazing friend Paula picked me up from JFK–which makes the Austin airport look like a bus station–at 2:30pm and then nabbed me from the subway in Queens twelve hours later!
Highlights included an amazing have-to-use-the-paper-plate-to-eat-it thin crust tomato and Mozzarella pizza after checking in. Did lots of walking to hear the first LAMC showcase at Summer Stage in Central Park–thank goodness for tall buildings and trees in this muggy heat! I loved Novalima from Peru, was impressed by Mexian songstress Ely Guerra’s voice and interpretation of her ambient rock, but not much into her music, and was honestly a bit underwhelmed by Spain’s Jarabe de Palo, who’d been one of my conference must-sees.
It was about 9 pm when my phone died. I felt totally lost without this amazing and evil device called iPhone.
Fortunately, I made friends with a New York transplant who grew up all over Latin America working with his mom as a street clown. He pointed me in the right direction to get to the Mercury Lounge for an incredible set by Venezuela’s La Vida Boheme, a dance rock band that had the entire place dance and screaming with an energy I have yet to experience in Austin. Increíble!
I made two more friends after my phone died – Paul, the publisher of LAMC and Dena, my new bestie from the F-Train who alerted Paula that I was in commute so she could pick me up. This dead phone stuff ain’t so bad after all! (bur I’m def taking my charger from now on!)
I was sufficiently tired and sweaty by the time I made it to the end of the F-line in Queens at the wee hours of the morning. And grateful to see a friendly face in a city that can easily make you feel anonymous (but excited about life at the same time.)
Stay tuned for my next bite into the big apple…
PS: Thanks to my dead phone, I also had the exhilarating experience of using one of those antiquated contraptions called a “pay phone!”
booking (at) ginachavez (dot) com
Ryan (at) PressJunkiePR (dot) com