By Pablo de Sainz
Many musicians believe that the creation of music should be done just by the pleasure of doing music itself; that is, they believe in the phrase “art for art’s sake.”
Others, like L.A. multicultural band Quetzal, believe that music, and any other form of art, should have a purpose and create or promote positive changes in society.
Quetzal’s belief in this second statement is present in its new album titled “Sing the Real” (Vanguard Records, 2002).
Composed of a multicultural, multilingual cast, Quetzal was created by a group of East L.A. activists. “Sing the Real,” reflects the band’s social consciousness and compromise to the community.
The first single in the album, “The Social Relevance of Public Art,” is a song that represents Quetzal’s point of view:
“To make sense of me/ I look to community/ subconsciously shaping my ideology/ I look to the errors of my people/ to solidify the me/ I want to be.”
Quetzal takes its music and influence from a variety of sources. “Sing the Real” includes diverse rhythms, such as son, rock, and Afro-Cuban instruments.
Another interesting song in this album is “Mayahuel,” which is a song that narrates the story of an abused female, and makes a strong statement for women’s rights.
The band was formed in the mid-nineties, during a rebirth of Chicano activism, in an era where the community was being targeted by Proposition 187 and 209.