Las Cafeteras in Vancouver
My mom, her friend and even my 4 and a half year old daughter were able to attend the fifth show of their More than Music tour.
A number of local performers opened the show, and my daughter was influenced by everything that she saw. Ten days later she continues to reenact what she experienced that night and ask really important questions.
They played an energetic and inspiring show and a number of audience members (including my wife and daughter!) joined Las Cafeteras dancing zapateado (a traditional Mexican dance that involves tapping shoes zapato = shoe) on the tarima (wooden platform).
My little one stayed awake until the end and Las Cafeteras dedicated a song to her. She continually plays their CD It’s Time at home, singing along and inventing her own lyrics and she’s working on her dance moves for the next time we get to see them.
Yo no creo en fronteras. Yo cruzaré.
(I don’t believe in borders. I will cross.)
Las Cafeteras’ cross cultural, musical and linguistic borders with their work. I have enjoyed border crossing art ever since I first read the great Chicana/queer/feminist writer Gloria Anzaldua’s Borderlands/La Frontera in University and I’m excited to share this kind of work with my daughter in a medium that is easy for her to understand.
For some background on the band check out this article from LA Weekly Las Cafeteras Defy Tradition.
Las Cafeteras play their own remix of Son Jarocho (jarocho refers to being from the state of Veracruz, Mexico) using instruments like the Afro-Caribbean marimbol, the jarana and the cajón. They were featured on NPR’s All Things Considered last year along with other contemporary Son Jarocho artists in the United States.
One of their most popular songs is “La Bamba Rebelde” a remake of the classic Son Jarocho song “La Bamba” and the well-known Richie Valens version. The first time that I watched this video and heard the song I was overwhelmed with emotions and hope for positive change.
“porque somos Chicanos de East LA”
(Because we are Chicanos from East LA)
“ya no llores Llorona…mi gente lucha contra leyes racistas”
Use in Social Justice Education
Many of Las Cafeteras’ songs can be used in Spanish and Social Justice curriculum. You can listen to the full album It’s Time on SoundCloud, some of the themes that I picked out are the following:
- “Ya Me Voy” (I’m Going) – immigration, migrant workers
- “It’s Movement Time” – social movements in Mexican and U.S. history, racism, classism, slavery, revolution, borders
- “La Bamba Rebelde” (The Rebel Bamba) – immigration, Chicano movement, illegal immigrants and la migra
- “Mujer Soy” (I am Woman) – The women of Ciudad Juarez who work at the maquiladoras, feminicide, women’s rights
- “Trabajador, Trabajadora” (Worker, Worker) – celebrating and empowering immigrant and working class families, poverty, recession in the U.S.