This week wraps up Hispanic Heritage Month, a monthlong celebration from September 15 to October 15, celebrating of the rich and complex histories, cultures and contributions of the 62.1 million Hispanics, Latinos and Latinx individuals who call this country ‘home.’ Today we’re highlighting three ways that past Levitt performers are harnessing the power of music to protect, uplift and empower some of the most vulnerable members of the group Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates.
Flor De Toloache | the power of music to protect
This GRAMMY-winning, all-female group brought their fresh, edgy interpretations of Mexican mariachi music from New York City to Levitt venues across the country as part of the 2019 Levitt National Tour. That same year, ‘Las Flores’ partnered with the Southern Poverty Law Center to release “El Corrido de David y Goliat,” the first single released as part of the center’s ‘Immigrant Songs’ campaign to provide legal information and “protect and advance immigrant rights” through song. Created to reach people who have little access to legal information, the song’s narrative gives listeners important information about immigrant rights to help them avoid human rights abuses.
Making Movies | the power of music to raise awareness
With roots in Panama and Mexico, this Kansas City, Mo.-based Afro-Latino meets psychedelic rock four-piece uses socially charged musical storytelling to bring awareness to immigrants’ struggles. Levitt audiences in seven different cities have experienced this GRAMMY-nominated group’s powerful narratives and irresistible grooves. “Telling people’s stories and sharing each of their unique suffering through music, unites and connects people,” explained the group’s guitarist and lead singer Enrique Chi. Offstage, the group’s deep-rooted activism inspired them to invite DACA recipients—undocumented immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program—to attend their paid shows free of charge and to host a benefit concert to help reunite the Latin American children and parents seeking asylum who were separated at the US-Mexico Border.
Quetzal | the power of music to imagine and advocate for new realities
This GRAMMY-winning ‘East LA Chican@’ rock band was formed in Los Angeles in 1992 in the wake of civil unrest to “create good music that tells the social, cultural, political, and musical stories of people in struggle.” Levitt Los Angeles audiences have enjoyed the group’s dynamic approach to musicmaking, which is equally inspired by the eclectic musical soundscape of East Los Angeles—ranging from Mexican ranchera and salsa, to rock and R&B—and their deep commitment to social activism. Quetzal’s dedication to fighting oppression with community art practices, like collective songwriting, helped popularize the term “artivism.” The group’s founder Quetzal Flores has taken this commitment to the next level, partnering with Aloe Blacc and other like-minded artists to form Artivist Entertainment—an organization that supports and creates music and art that inspires positive social transformation.
These three examples are only a few of the many ways artists are bringing awareness to social injustices and using their music to build a more just future. Here’s to Flor De Toloache, Making Movies, Quetzal, and all those working at the intersection of music, art and social justice.