Another October/November brought another Día de Muertos festival at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. This year’s edition was my first time attending since 2017. The event was packed with people, but not as dense since it was split in half:a daytime festival focused on cultural, family events and a nighttime festival focused on live music.
As in years past, the altars were amazing, the food was delicious and the music was incredible. It was great to finally watch Ed Maverick perform live in concert after years of being a fan of his work. Here is an excerpt I wrote about Maverick and the festival:
Maverick didn’t have too much to say between songs and let his music do most of the talking. However, when he did speak to the crowd, he had to pause with a smile and wait for the lull between screaming and cheering fans to be heard. He ended the night with a lengthy guitar solo that cemented his newfound status as a rock star and new king of the sad boys.
My latest for KCET is my interview with a half-dozen artists who are part of a new wave of souldies artists. Souldies, a.k.a. Chicano Soul, has a distinct flair and sound that’s also connected to a specific cultural context, which I write briefly about in the story.
The familial connection to the music and the culture is one shared by nearly all the artists involved in this resurgence of oldies music. Samano recalls his parents putting artists such as The Delfonics and Brenton Wood on heavy rotation during his childhood. Lane grew up on gospel and studied “the pillars of northern soul” while studying music in college. Garcia’s father had a record collection that included Smokey Robinson, Mary Wells and Brenton Wood plus dozens of doo-wop artists.
The same goes for Vicky Tafoya, founder and singer of Vicky Tafoya and the Big Beat, who grew up surrounded by the sounds of doo-wop, big band and Motown. As the youngest of 12 children, she inherited the vinyl records that each one of her siblings left behind as they moved out. She became completely enamored with the music and had a life-changing experience in 1989 when she joined The Doo-Wop Society of Southern California. It was there that she would spend years watching and even performing acapella doo-wop on the same stage as the artists she listened to obsessively at home: Vernon Green and The Medallions, The Teenagers, The Six Teens, The Chantelles and many other legendary artists.