This Saturday at 10 p.m., Olde Club will host a concert and dance party featuring a renowned, diverse trio of artists — Zuzuka Poderosa, Las Krudas and Geko Jones. The concert, which will be Olde Club’s first live performance of the school year, was organized by Enlace (pronounced en-LAH-say), Swarthmore’s Latino student organization on campus.
Last Saturday, Enlace hosted a dance party in honor of Latin@ Heritage Month, and plans to continue the commemoration with the upcoming concert. According to Enlace co-president Andrea Jacome ’14, the “
” in the place of the final vowel of “Latin” is intended to rid the word of gender assignment—the “@” symbol is a combination of the masculine final o and the feminine a. This gesture is at the heart of the message intended by the artists and the concert. Enlace leaders state that one of the purposes of the concert is to “emphasiz[e] solidarity across race, gender, sexuality, etc.”
Perhaps foremost in exemplifying this message, the female rap/hip-hop group Las Krudas “bring[s] all of their identities into their music,” according to Latin@ Heritage Month committee member Jusselia Molina ’13. The group identifies as female, afro-Cuban, queer, and immigrant. They try to broadcast the message that there is beauty in everything, and that the conceptions society has about what is favorable and unfavorable in terms of body image are not always right. “They introduce these themes so radically, as women, into the hip-hop genre,” Jacome said. Las Krudas also frequently invites audience participation, shouting out questions to audience members and expecting them to respond.
One of the solo artists performing at the event is Zuzuka Poderosa, a freestyle artist with a fascinating background. She is from Brazil, but also has Indonesian roots, and currently lives in the United States. Such a diverse heritage leads her to perform her songs in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. “Languages are in transition in our generation,” Molina said. Ms. Poderosa helps ensure that Spanish and Portuguese stay alive in America. Jacome says that Ms. Poderosa “blurs together” the fact that she is American with her Latina heritage. She, along with Geko Jones, has a “hybrid element that speaks to Latinos here [at Swarthmore].” Baile funk, a type of dance music that originated in Rio de Janiero, is Ms. Poderosa’s signature style. She, however, “recreates” it by combining it with electronica and modern dance music, an inclusive music-making technique sure to please a broad array of audiences.
Although similar to Zuzuka Poderosa in his all-inclusive style of music, DJ Geko (pronounced “Gecko”) Jones takes genre fusion to a whole new level. His mixes include rave and reggae music, and in recent years had been including more and more traditional Latino styles, true to his Puerto Rican and Colombian roots.
He also plays music that Jacome says “our parents listened to” — styles from the fifties and sixties — “but has given it a twist with things like electronica.” This fusion of musical genres from across the twentieth and twenty-first century timelines is called “Tropical Bass.” Mr. Jones is one of the preeminent Tropical Bass artists in the world. “His music is bringing two audiences together, two generations of Latinos,” Molina said. “My mom says, ‘This is music I can listen to.’”
In addition to the concert on Saturday night, two of the artists will be holding separate events on campus this weekend, which Enlace leaders say is something very special. Geko Jones will hold a lecture on music in Afro-Latino communities, and Las Krudas will hold a screen-printing workshop to emphasize how art can be used as a tool for social change.
Olde Club booking director Tayarisha Poe says that the Enlace concert will be the first event of a new push to include more concerts sponsored by social and cultural groups. “This show is going to be an amazing way to open the Olde Club performance season,” she says.
Jacome and Molina expressed their enthusiasm as well, “This [event] will be a place to come together to dance and have fun, but also for students to come away with something more.”