Los Cenzontles has recorded 20 albums since 1994. Each is a snapshot of a moment in time. Some revive rare traditions like the traditional mariachi and pirekuas of Michoacán. Others celebrate thriving traditions like rancheras. Yet others mix styles such as our Son Jarocho collaboration with Cuban masters El Goyo Hernandez and Lazaro Ros of Cuba.
Our newest album, Regeneration, is rooted in the Mexican-American
experience. I wanted to create songs that fuse Mexican folk forms and
rhythms with American and Latin pop and rock sensibilities to match the
times we live in. The past twenty years have seen some of the biggest
demographic shifts in America in modern times. Los Cenzontles Mexican
Arts Center is growing right along with these changes. . Culture is
always in flux and if you want to keep relevant you have to morph with
it. That is the fun of it. Change is part of our DNA.
We find that our younger fans have eclectic tastes, but they are also
steeped in Mexican music like Vicente Fernandez and Banda Recodo. Most
say they do not want to listen to the music of their parents, but they
know it anyway. It is inside them somehow. The trick is to give the
music back to them with an open window. One of our teen students
remarked that Los Cenzontles's music is not traditional -- it's fun!
So this new CD is an homage to the new generation, seeking fun and
escape and meaning.
But many in our country today do not celebrate our Latino-infused
future. They fear it. So I look back to the last major generational
shift when the baby boomers came of age in the late 60's and early 70's.
There was plenty of difficulty in those days, but the economy was
buzzing and the generational shift was largely White. This new one is
much less so, with Latino youth being the fastest-growing group in the
country. And there lies the conflict. Limited resources and an aging
white population wary of the upcoming young brown one.
Regeneration is a celebration of hopes and unified visions. It may yet happen, at least in song.
Click here to Kickstart Regeneration