Martha Gonzalez - vocals & spoken word
Martha Gonzalez was born and raised in East Los Angeles and is a Chicana artivista (artist/activist), feminist music theorist and academic. Gonzalez earned a PhD in Feminism from the University of Washington Seattle. In addition, Gonzalez holds an undergraduate degree in Ethnomusicology from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).
Her academic interest in music has been fueled by her own musicianship as a singer and percussionist for East L.A’s Quetzal for the last 17 years. Quetzal has made considerable impact in the Los Angeles Chicano music scene. The unique blend of East Los Angeles sounds as well as the social justice content in the work has sparked dialogue and theoretical work among various artist communities, culture theorists, and scholars across the country, Mexico and Japan. The relevance of Quetzal’s work has been noted in a range of publications from dissertations to scholarly books, most recently Patricia Zavella’s I’m Neither Here Nor There: Mexicans’ Quotidian Struggles with Migration and Poverty (Duke University Press, 2011). As a result, the U.S. Library of Congress and Kennedy Center extended an invitation to perform and speak in September of 2011 as a part of their “Homegrown” music series. The traveling exhibit “American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music” sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute, featured Quetzal as leaders and innovators of Chicano music. This feat coupled with their Grammy Award winning album on the Smithsonian Folkways label “Imaginaries” marks the importance of her past and ongoing work.
As a musician, Gonzalez has collaborated, and/or toured with artist such as Los Lobos, Los Van Van, Jackson Brown, Susana Baca, Perla Batalla, Jaguares, Ozomatli, Jonathan Richman, Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, iCubanismo!, Taj Mahal, Tom Waits, Los Super Seven, Lila Downs, Raul Malo, Rick Treviño, Son De Madera, Relicario, Chuchumbe Charanga Cakewalk, The B-side Players, Teatro Campesino, Aloe Blacc, Maya Jupiter, and Laura Rebolloso. In these ways music pedagogy and transnational music movement experience has influenced Gonzalez’s scholarship.