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#nowplaying with Luminaria Executive Director Yadhira Lozano

Photo by Noah Acevedo
Alex Barrera
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Playing for Change

One of my favorite recent discoveries is Playing for Change. I learned about this initiative to unite musicians from across the world through my college roommate and long time BFF Rocio Marron who is featured on violin in their Nirvana "Come As You Are" video. My favorite Playing for Change video is "Colors" by Black Pumas. The opening sets the spiritual tone of this musical journey with Ed Kabotie (Hopi) on Native flute. I was blown away by this arrangement. Having Slash tear it up on guitar is just incredible. The original song is one of my favorites and to hear all of these musicians come together virtually or through studio recordings is just a testament to the power of music. I must have played it 20 times by now.

Cafe Tacvba

Futuro has been my alarm ringtone for 5 years now. My kid is sick of it but Cafe Tacvba is my favorite band of all time and it's staying. They usually play San Antonio or Austin around my birthday and I buy my ticket with or without a friend. I'm there no matter what and I spend $40 on one t-shirt because last year I bought merch off their website and it took 6 months to reach my address in Mexico. I saved $25 on shipping by avoiding international charges but I got my Christmas-themed face mask in February. I also bought the limited edition screen printed tour poster at their November show not realizing it was signed and numbered. They make me so happy.

Abstrakto

Asdru Sierra got me through lockdown. It's no secret that I am president of the Ozomatli fan club also known as Ozoheadz. It's not a real title, it's self-appointed, and I'll probably get challenged to a duel for the title after this, or maybe a duo but either way, Ozomatli has been a part of my life since their inception in the early 90s. Abstrakto is Asdru's side band with actor Balthazar Getty. It's a deeper, richer, darker, more intimate sound that allows Asdru's eerie, throat singing, Latinesque stylings to burst through. Asdru held many IG Live sessions throughout lockdown and it was a time to connect on a personal and musical level when we were prohibited from doing so in person. His name may not be A-list celebrity status but his voice is just as recognizable and you can hear it in many films, tv shows, as a guest artist, all over the place.

Ray Barreto Orquestra Tribute

I shared this video on the anniversary of Ray Barreto's passing this year. It's not the best quality but the musicians are just incredible. I truly believe that jazz musicians are the best musicians but salsa musicians play jazz with syncopation and the best ones can blow your mind. This video features my friend Oscar Hernandez on piano. He's also the musical director of the famed Spanish Harlem Orchestra, a true veteran of the salsa stage. He then hands the stage off to the incredible Giovanni Hidalgo on congas and I'm dead. But wait, there's more! No respectable salsa song comes in under the 10-minute mark, vaya!

Eugene King

I have no idea who Eugene King is but this song is so sweet and joyful. It came across my YouTube suggestions and I fell in love with the lyrics, his voice, the composition, all of it! But google him and he only has two videos on his YouTube and all of 17 followers on Twitter. I mean, I need more!