Chicano Rockers Spur Cultural Change

| 12/11/2008 12:13:37 PM

guitarWe've seen the whole face of America change,” says Los Lobos drummer Louis Perez in Chicano Rock! The Sounds of East Los Angeles, “and that face is brown.” Chicano Rock!, a new documentary scheduled to air this Sunday on PBS, examines this demographic shift through a cultural lens, exploring the musical fruits of the twentieth-century influx of Mexican immigrants to the United States. A recent article in the Indianapolis weekly Nuvo previews the film and talks to its creator, Jon Wilkman.

In the documentary, Wilkman traces the lineages of several groups of Chicano musicians. He looks at performers like Lalo Guerrero, who channeled traditional Mexican sounds, as well as bands like Cannibal and the Headhunters, who drew more heavily from U.S. rock influences. Wilkman seems most interested in a third group that bridged the first two; for him, they tell a story that’s bigger than the music they made, helping us see the cultural give and take that occurs as immigrant groups settle into new lives in the United States.

“We are, like Chicano musicians, beginning to blend cultures, just like they blended musical sounds," Wilkman says. "It's not only a story about the past; it's suggesting what our future is going to be—not only musically but culturally.”

Image courtesy of Riza Nugraha, licensed under Creative Commons

(Thanks, AltWeeklies.)


Pay Now Save $5!

Utne Summer 2016Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $40.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $45 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!

Facebook Instagram Twitter

click me