“Imaginaries” by Quetzal

Inspired by traditional son jarocho music of Veracruz, Mexico, and spiked with urban rhythms, rock and R&B, East LA Chicano group Quetzal will release ‘Imaginaries’, its 5th album and 1st for Smithsonian Folkways, on Feb. 28, 2012. Quetzal, 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.

“When we become critical of the discourses that teach an outlook of community assessment through a lens of deficit and instead look to our communities from an asset-based perspective, we stand to create something much more sustainable. In this sense, we imagine. We visualize. We gather our resources. We design and construct. Taking part in communities that have exercised decolonializing methods such as these, as well as dialoguing and learning from communities that survive by adopting the same strategies and principles, inspired this song.” –Band member Martha Gonzales, on the title track “Imaginaries”

‘Imaginaries’ begins with the dark but lively “2+0+1+2=Five,” about a barren landscape ruined by environmental abuse; set in 5/4 time, the composition is punctuated by lush strings, organs and eerie vocals. It sets the tone for a fiery, innovative, percussive and bilingual album that fuses many touchstones of the East LA plurality―including the title track, a taut mix of rock and R&B, and the Veracruz-informed “Tragafuegos.”