Quetzal: Tiny Desk Concert The East L.A. band's mix of old and new sounds from across Mexico and the U.S. will penetrate the intellect even as it makes your hips sway. The resulting sound inspires as much as it entertains.

Tiny Desk

Quetzal

Quetzal: Tiny Desk Concert

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The Southern California band Quetzal recently celebrated its 20th anniversary with a blowout concert that seemed to attract as many musicians as regular people. The band has maintained such a strong presence in the SoCal Chicano music scene that its members could be considered padrinos and padrinas of that free-flowing musical community.

Quetzal is respected and admired as much for its commitment to social justice, activism and education — lead singer Martha Gonzalez has a Ph.D — as for its folk-infused music, which gets a marvelous showcase in this Tiny Desk Concert. While the instrumentation is stripped down, the sound is full; the music penetrates the intellect even as it makes your hips sway.

The group runs a tight ship musically: Gonzalez's voice could be heard well past the confines of the Tiny Desk, all the way to our web-designing neighbors; guitarist Quetzal Flores unplugged and worked the Mexican jarana for both rhythm and melody, often at the same time; violinist Rocio Marron wove blues licks into Mexican folk runs; bassist Juan Perez provided a nimble and melodic bottom end.

Add it all up and you get a glimpse into a musical vision that inspires as much as it entertains. If you didn't know Quetzal before this video, now's the time to catch up. If you're a fan like me, you've already got a head start on looking forward to the next 20 years.

Set List

  • "Palomo Vagabundo"
  • "Tragafuegor"
  • "Todo Lo Que Tengo"

Credits

Producers: Felix Contreras, Denise DeBelius; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Denise DeBelius, Colin Marshall; Production Assistant: Sarah Tilotta; photo by Sarah Tilotta/NPR

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