Catalina Maria Johnson

International radio broadcaster, bilingual cultural journalist, music curator

In this era of “time’s up” and “#metoo”,  we’d like to highlight two inspiring artists from distant corners of the Americas: New music from USA’s SLV and Costa Rica’s Nakury, each demonstrating how unstoppable we become when we claim our power, and their music is the perfect soundtrack to celebrate International Women’s Day. Chicana singer-songwriter SLV (aka Sandra Lilia Velasquez) has released the first single from Piece of Mind, her second solo album, a departure from the reflective English language indie ballads of This Kind and the three extraordinary Latin folk alternative albums she released with Pistolera, the band she founded. Piece of Mind serves up bilingual, politically conscious beats that blend old-school hip-hop with electronic and downtempo grooves. The album’s first single and its video, Barras de Oro (“Bars of Gold”) affirms the inherent value of womxn and their independence, featuring SLV and all-female lowrider bike crew: Hago lo que hago, amo lo que amo, no pido permiso Llevo barras de oro escondidas en el fondo del mar dentro de mi. No estan a la venta, no, no. Ciento por ciento mi riqueza I do what I do…I do not ask permission. I have bars of gold in the bottom of the ocean inside of me.  They are not for sale. They are my riches.
Taking a paseo and crossing down North America all the way to Central America, Nakuryone of Costa Rica’s most renowned rappers, empowers young womxn through music, break dance and workshops. After beginning as a graffiti artist when she was 15 years old, Nakury moved into breakdancing and rap, focusing her rhymes on womxn’s individual and collective empowerment, politics and freedom. Nakury is also founder of Union Break, the production company that produces one of Central America’s largest hip hop festivals. Her second album  “VIA“, released under the independent record label Lácteo Cósmico, features Spanish-language rap and collaborations with artists such as Guatemala’s artivist Rebeca Lane and the fabulous Costa Rican folk artist Guadalupe Urbina. The single “Necesario“, includes the dance ensemble PlusFierceRoller Derby team Dark Sideacrobatic duo Vueltas Locas, and BMX/skateboarding athletes – all emphasizing the message of womxn’s integrity and value. It ends with a fierce and joyful soul train-style line dance shining a light on all the artists’ and athletes’ talents, complementing Nakury’s rhymes: “No tengo precio, pero sí mucho valor!” I don’t have a price, but I do have a lot of value! So, grab a trike, or a bike, or just move and flow with total joy. Celebrate the light of your power with the powerful rhymes and grooves these amazing artists have shared with us.  Happy International Women’s Day! Go get it, the world’s ours for the taking.

Featured image, courtesy of the artists: Nakury (left) and SLV (right, by Shervin Lainez) Check out Catalina’s Beat Latino every week!  

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