Singer-songwriter Ceci Bastida has long championed political and social causes such as immigrant rights, the Zapatista movement and various issues concerning her native country of Mexico. Her most recent foray into activism, however, is undoubtedly her most personal.
This Saturday in Oxnard, she will be one of a handful of artists to perform a free, all-ages show in support of the Schools Not Prisons Arts & Music Festival tour, which promotes safe communities via voting, political activism and non-violence among community youth, with a focus on funding schools and educational programs while fighting against “zero-tolerance” policing of students that ultimately funnels many of them into the United States’ massive prison system.
Here’s my rundown of last year’s event, which celebrated the culture of Mexico’s indigenous Huichol people, visited by 40,000 people and featured musicals artists Lila Downs, Xavier Quijas Yxayotl, Huichol Musical, and others.
There once was a running joke among folks in L.A.’s Latino music scene that went something like this: “Wherever you are, Buyepongo’s there, too, jamming out.”
For years, the group performed anywhere and everywhere it could at any and all hours of the day. You could find them playing Mariachi Plaza during the day, then catch them later the same evening at the Mayan opening up for Ondatrópica. That ubiquity was necessary in developing the group’s core sound and style: a fusion of Latino, African and American sounds, grooves and rhythms, which has finally been compiled in the group’s long-awaited full-length debut album, Todo Mundo.