Estoy Aqui (I Am Here) – Live at Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2012

East Los Angeles natives Quetzal perform “Estoy Aqui (I Am Here)” at the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Their 2011 album ‘Imaginaries’ is out on Smithsonian Folkways.

Quetzal, a GRAMMY winning ensemble, called “provocative, heartfelt and strikingly original” by the LA Times and founded by guitarist Quetzal Flores, rose from the ashes of uprisings in LA in 1992 as a vehicle for social commentary and activism. Quetzal’s music has its roots in traditional son jarocho music from Veracruz, Mexico, but is reinterpreted through alternative rock. Incorporating other Mexican, Afro-Caribbean, and R&B rhythms, as well as writing bilingual lyrics, reflects the multicultural environment of Quetzal’s native East LA. “Estoy aquí (I Am Here)” is a backbeat cumbia inviting people to both dance and also to think. Quetzal uses this song to validate claims of space and presence made by Mexican and Mexican-American communities despite oppression by local governments.