Friday, January 13, 2012

Gina Chavez - Indie Latin Folksinger

Just watch this: 

Should I even try to follow that with pesky words? I better keep it brief and let her music speak for itself.

Truth be told, Miss Chavez is one of the reasons I started this blog. Some time back, I went on an internet walkabout to uncover what I could of Catholic music, and the fruits of it will show up from time to time on Cool Cats.*

Gina Chavez is from Austin, TX, where she is a mainstay on the live music scene. Her latest single, "Milas de Millas", was recently featured on the Austin Music Compilation 10, and was featured on NPR’s Alt Latino’s program on the SXSW music festival.

Though she’s Latin-American, she grew up a “gringa” and didn’t learn to speak Spanish from her parents. This led to a strong desire to find out more about her Latin roots, a desire that would take her on a study abroad to Argentina and later on a mission to El Salvador. There she taught English to 300 girls in the same region as the Mara Salvatrucha, a notorious gang. Spurred by a strong sense of social justice, she helped found a college fund for the girls she taught: Austin 4 El Salvador.

This social justice comes through in her singing, such as in the song “St. Anthony” from 2007’s Hanging Spoons:
You must think I’m hopeless/ you won’t even try to reach out your hand/ give me reason to smile/ there’s no one to listen/ no one to touch and you wonder why/ I hate the world so much
For such a beautiful voice, how about a beautiful quote?
“I think being a Catholic doesn’t just mean when you’re in church…Your faith is about struggle and struggle happens everywhere. For me, it’s about allowing God to be the Creator and me to be the instrument. The song might be about love, faith, falling down or struggling with hurtful feelings. Music can move people in a way that words cannot.”1

1 Diocese of Austin: Catholic Spirit

*(Contemporary Christian music is nice…too nice. Life isn’t always nice.)

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