On April 12, 2019 ELJURI released her latest album, "RESISTE: La Colección de ELJURI. Very powerful messages radiate through her newest album. ELJURI, "declares that the root of our problems is the amoral behavior of people in power. She encourages us to persist against the fear and hatred being spewed by corruption." ELJURI's message is stronger than ever and it's evident through her songs "Resiste" and "BangBang". She's got the soul and force of artists like Bob Barley, Santana, and John Lennon. I love that ELJURI is an activists and she speaks her truth through her music, we need more people like her in this chaotic world.
I recently had a conversation with ELJURI in which she talked about her single BangBang and she said that, "the incentive for BangBang is the crisis of gun violence and people dying involuntarily. We protest without weapons in order to incite change. We are bearing witness to this violence and we need to shine a light. We see fifteen year olds speaking out on this. It's important to support your neighbor's when there is trouble, speak out." All words of wisdom. I admire ELJURI for standing her ground in music while weaving her messages through the nice rhythms of reggae.
To follow up that question, I asked her why she thinks it is important to combine activism with music and she said, "Music unites people. Music is a unifier. I have been socially conscience since I was fifteen. It is about creating a dialogue." It's true, it's all about creating a dialogue and after all, music is a unifier. I always stress that when I talk about the website being focused on the border and that music, art, and food has no borders. "Music is so powerful."
As we were continuing the conversation, I asked ELJURI what her favorite part of being a musician was and she mentioned that, "it's inspiring. I feel inspired by people that played before me. The biggest gift I get is when I inspire others. Life is about creating open mindedness and arming your self with important knowledge." I hope that when people listen to ELJURI they are openminded. She is wonderful.
Below are ELJURI's top four musicians she has at the moment.
ELJURI's Top 4 (at the moment):
1. Bob Marley
2. Courtney Barnett
4. Tedeschi Trucks Band
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Austin-based Grupo Fantasma is no stranger to the music scene and has been around for nineteen years. They are currently promoting their seventh album, American Music, Vol. VII (Blue Corn Music) after not being in the studio together in five years. "The very record takes issue with these definitions of identity, border, who is illegal or "other.""
If you are listening to them for the first time, you won't regret it. The great news is that they are making their way to the Sun City to play at The District Pub in central El Paso. Great way to spend an evening if one does not have any major plans going on May 5th and want to check out the Cinco District de Mayo-A 5 Points Fest.
I recently caught up with Beto Martinez of the band to talk about the new album and their stop in El Paso. I started off by asking him about Cinco de Mayo and how he felt about it to which he replied, "I'm from Laredo, Texas and it wasn't a big holiday. Cinco de Mayo is a "holiday" that has turned into a farce like St. Patrick's day. The reason for it is lost and it's an excuse to drink. On the positive side, there is music and people get together." I know for many people Cinco de Mayo has turned into "Drink-o de Mayo" and I wanted got know Beto's take on it since the band is no stranger to their Latinx roots. Beto also mentioned that they are excited to come to El Paso. "The food is great and feels like home."
As for the new album and the process of making it, "the seventh album came out on March 29th. Previous to the five-six years, we were playing in other bands and our focus shifted, but we re-grouped to focus on this album for the band (Grupo Fantasma)." I asked about how the process of this album differed from the others and Beto said that one of the things that is different is that it was recorded at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, Texas, which has a "mythical status". The process of making an album for Grupo varies. Beto said, "I don't write lyrics, I write music. I'll work on something and take it to another member." They all contribute to each song in a different way, after all, they are a large band.
As a last question, I asked Beto how he would describe Grupo Fantasma to a new fan. He said, "we are a large band. Out sound is diverse and rooted in music Latina. It's not pigeon-holed in any particular style and we do that deliberately. Cumbia is our heart and soul, but we have expanded."
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Interviews and playlists of local bands and international artists.