“Siempre me acuerdo del pueblo. Me fui para que me oigan más.”
Although I may not always agree with everything that’s expressed on Latino Rebels, I do believe in the freedom of everyone’s expression—and its possible consequences. So when I heard that MANO would be taking over Latino Rebels for a week, I was excited about the crossover. I think it’s great when outlets share and expand on ideas, content, and cross-collaborations.
When I think of Latino Rebels, the words on their own, as well as the website, I think about los rebeldes of anything. What a vast world of people unafraid to speak out about injustices. My mind thinks of some of the greats like Violeta Parra, Rita Indiana, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Las Ultrasonicas, Rigoberta Menchu, la mujer inca guerrera. I also think about rebeldes from the past, who didn’t have a way to get their message out quickly or reach as far as possible.
Today, there’s a much faster impact when a person, especially those with large social media platforms, take a stand against inequity, racism, or any number of monstrous situations. Their quick post on Instagram, TikTok, or any flavor-of-the-day apps, can create change, volatile as that may sometimes be.
So, in honor of MANO’s takeover of Latino Rebels this week, I’m sharing some sounds that I identify as rebelde in all its nuances.
And I want to know, dear reader, what song empowers you? What song allows you to let it all go? What song makes you feel? What song makes you rage? What song brings you exhilaration and joy? What song allows you to reset?
For this MANO Música en Rebeldía playlist, I chose tracks by artists whom I consider some of the planet’s greatest rebels. They are human. They are brave. They are outspoken, unafraid to denounce injustices and champion change, with doses of cumbia, funky hip-hop, rock en tu idioma, and all kinds of alternative-experimental sounds from across América. Activism, awareness, and rebeldía in music has never sounded so good.
SOUND SESSION RECOMMENDATION: Thank you for taking the time to listen to this playlist. May it do for you what it does for me. When you listen, I recommend being in a relaxed space, with little distractions. For me, these sounds, these words, and these anthems are important and deserve the respect of our full attention. I also recommend you stay hydrated, having a drink that puts you at ease, and enjoying the moment. (Later-later explore the highlighted lyrics and dig a little deeper.)
MARE ADVERTENCIA LIRIKA
“Esta es mi vida, mi cuerpo, mis decisiones.Ya basta que pretendan controlar mis acciones.No es suficiente la violencia que soporto a diario, y todavía reprimes mi vagina y mis ovarios.”
(“This is my life, my body, my decisions.Enough with pretending to control my actions.The violence I endure on a daily basis is not enough, and you still repress my vagina and ovaries.”)
Mare Advertencia Lirika is a spoken word artist, rapera, zapoteca, and activist from Oaxaca. Her track “Se Busca / In Search Of” speaks out about femicide and the horrific number of girls and women that continue to “go missing” in Mexico, as well as the frustrations (and fear) of dealing with political machismo. In the video, Mare uses actual search files from organizations like Madres en Búsqueda Coatzacoalcos (Mothers in Search Coatzacoalcos), and Oaxaqueños Unidos Exigiendo Justicia (Oaxacans United Demanding Justice). Other tracks I feel empowered by are “Bienvenidx,” “Mi Vida, Mi Cuerpo, Mis Decisiones” and “¿Y Tú Qué Esperas?” a spoken word son jarocho.
“Repliqué, hagan lo q quieran en resumenAsumen, pero no se enfrentan nada por q temenQ crimen, Mis rimas los crema y los consumenCon mi rap los embarazo y eso q no expulso Semen”
(“I replied, do what you want to do in summaryThey assume, but don’t face anything because they fearWhat a crime, My rhymes cream and consume themWith my rap I get them pregnant and I don’t expel semen”)
Gabylonia is a powerful rapper from Venezuela who boldly speaks about injustices against women in her country, while also enjoying occasionally spitting scripture. Her song “Abuso de Poder” / “Abuse of Power” was recently removed by YouTube because of its lyrics. This song “Boom Bap” is about hip-hop culture and how you ain’t all that, sir.
Betsayda is an Afro-Venezuelan artist and cultural activist-ambassador who performs with Parranda El Clavo. It’s said that resistance can look like any number of things, including sorrow, and in “Oh, Santa Rosa,” Betsayda mesmerizes listeners as she sings to the patron saint of the enslaved, a reminder about those who survived and the hope they brought with them. She’s an advocate for equity, speaking out against humanitarian crises.
LA DAME BLANCHE
“Ahí llegó la patrona, peleona y mandonaLa que he estado esperando y han pasado las horasMe dice calmamente negra coge esa escobaPara el puesto vagante creo que eres muy floja.”
(“Here comes the boss lady, quarrelsome, bossy ladyThe one I’ve been waiting for and the hours have gone byShe calmly says to me black girl, take that broom.For the wandering post I think you’re too lazy.”)
This Cuban diosa is an artistic beast. Her latest album, ELLA, shows us her unique, magical, and mystical world. She’s a powerful representation of womxn unafraid to speak out about anything, and doing it with a cigar, and flute, in hand.
This song, “La Maltratada,” is about violence against women and the negative reactions to those who find empowerment.
LOS POETAS & RODSTARZ DE REBEL DIAZ
“Siembra, cultiva, cosecha / Siembra, cultiva, cosechaSemilla, rebeldía, hoy empiezaLevantate pueblo y defiende lo tuyo, Levantate pueblo y defiende lo tuyo.”
(“Sow, cultivate, harvest / Sow, cultivate, harvestSeed, rebellion, today beginsRise up people and defend what is yours, Rise up people and defend what is yours.”)
Los Poetas and RodStarz of Rebel Diaz put out one of the coolest collaborative callouts with “Siembra, Cultiva, Cosecha,” which is inspired by los pueblos and created with the desire to help people rise up and defend what’s theirs. Los Poetas says, “In our native continent the seeds of struggle, rebellion and resilience have been planted long ago and cultivated for generations. This music, this movement, this unification is our harvest.” The members hail from El Salvador, Chile and Panama and have spoken out on injustices in their homelands as well as in their current country of residence.
ALI GUA GUA & POLLYMILLER
“Canto en nombre de los muertos y los desaparecidosLos feminicidios jamás esclarecidosEncajuelados, decapitados,niños quemados y crímenes de estadoRatas con corbata y su política barata”
(“I sing in the name of the dead and the disappeared.
Femicides never solved
Those found in trunks, the decapitated,
burned children and state crimes
Rats with ties and their cheap politics.”)
I’m totally biased here. I am an Ali Gua Gua fan—I’d claim the number-one fan spot, but I’m not entirely sure. This roquera has all my respect as a human and an artist. I love what she’s done for womxn in music, for the LGBTQ+ community, for rocanrol, and for the world in general. She’s dope AF.
This song, “No Más Sangre,” is about being fed up with all of it… the killings, the femicides, the corruption, the hypocrisy, all of it. Ya basta–seriously, tho’.
“Nadie se suicida en una comisaría, Yo abortaría por si se hace policía,Nadie se suicida en una comisaría, Los cuerpos hablan, no flotan río arriba,Donde no hay poder hay vida”
(“Nobody commits suicide in a police station, I’d abort in case it becomes a cop,Nobody commits suicide in a police station, Bodies talk, they don’t float upstream,Where there is no power there is life.”)
Sara Hebe is in the shuffle with her track, “A.C.A.B.” But you’ll want to check out other tracks from the album Politicalpari, like “Mierda,” “Fck The Pwr,” “Violeta Perra” and “No Te Dejes.” She’s a fierce advocate for womxn, using hip-hop/rap, nu cumbia, and other electro-tropical rhythms with bold lyricism that calls out systems of oppression, the police, sexism, and those in power. This spitfire from Trelew, Argentina is not shy about critiquing inequity, and rapping about sociopolitical, ecological and cultural issues.
“Frente a frente, desafiando quienes entrenno me espanto, que aqui me tienen presenteplantado en mi lugarsin tener que buscarme respaldami pasado que hoy florece”
(“Face to face, defying those who come inI am not afraid, for here you have me presentplanted in my placewithout having to lookI am supported bymy past that today blooms”)
Wow, the coming together of so many cultures in this song by Olmeca—the visuals, the words. Well, it is simply powerful.
Bonus: Alex Chavez of Dos Santos makes an appearance with his poignant vocals.
“Vende amnesia e indiferencia al por mayorRevive el pasado enterradoSe cuela vestida de progresista, La derecha oportunista”
(“Sells amnesia and indifference wholesaleRevives the buried pastSneaks in dressed as progressive, the opportunistic right wing”)
Headbanging our way over to rock, specifically music in the hardcore-grindcore-punk world, the La Armada track “De Pendejos y Astutos” has a powerful buildup to the equally massive vox in the music video they recorded for Bridge City Sessions. It’s an exciting feeling when the outburst comes at you seemingly unexpectedly. La Armada always delivers that raw explosive energy.
Check them out this summer at Ruido Fest! (You can expect a new album later this year while they preview the material with a monthly song release.)
Featured image: Cover art from “Siembra, Cultiva, Cosecha” by Los Poetas ft. RodStarz of Rebel Diaz