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Tropicália 2019 brings together best of Latinx music community

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Hosted for the first time at the Pomona Fairplex last month, the third annual Tropicália Music & Taco Festival has grown to be one of the biggest Latinx-centered festivals in the country. Combined with local taco spots, 80-degree weather and artists from all over Latin America, this intergenerational festival brings together classic “Rock en Espanol” groups with new-wave indie and hard rock.  

Going to this festival at the end of Week 7 this quarter felt like getting to see my Spotify playlist live. Saturday’s shows were full of the songs of my childhood, the type of people my Chicano dad listens to. We all got to dance to Natalia Lafourcade’s rhythmic band, and sang along to the heart-wrenching vocals of lead singer Marisol Hernandez of the Mexican-American band Santa Cecilia. My mom was excited to see the Sonora ’70s-era synth band Yndio. Sitting on the grass, enjoying tacos de canasta (soft tacos made of potato and beef), fresh pineapple and mango juice while bonding with my parents was not something I was expecting to be a highlight of my weekend. That night, we saw Latinx-band giants Enanitos Verdes and Hombres G put on a joint performance full of classics that parents and children alike love. We enjoyed Caifanes’ new-wave sound next, especially “La Negra Tomasa.” Last, but certainly not least, were Los Tigres del Norte, world-renowned Norteño veterans. Getting to experience the older generation of music with the people that exposed me to it? The perfect day. 

If day one was good, day two was even better. Reminiscing is nice — but I’m a college student! I want to watch my favorite heartthrobs, scream lyrics, maybe even mosh. I want to see my generation of music in action. I got exactly that -— by 12:30 my friends and I were at the venue watching long-time favorite Inner Wave. And they were just one of the people that I’ve been wanting to see for so long. My smaller-stage favorites included every romantic’s favorite Michael Seyer and The Buttertones, a haunted rock band that can be distinguished by their smooth saxophone lead. Cheesy quesadillas with guac and cold horchata were the perfect accompaniment for watching The Marias, a bass-driven synth pop band whose lead singer’s lofty vocals are widely renowned. The night didn’t really start until later, however, when we stayed at the main stage for six hours. The incredible band Wallows kicked off an incredible line-up featuring the likes of band superstars Boy Pablo and Chicano Batman, as well as singers Omar Apollo, Cuco and Kali Uchis. My personal favorites of the night were some of the first big indie boys, Cuco and Chicano Batman — Cuco, because of his and his band’s incredible stage presence and the sad vibes, and Chicano Batman for their perfectly constructed tangents and originality.

That’s what the whole festival was about, really — merging not only the generations of Latinxs in the United States, but bringing all of Latin America together to appreciate the beautiful music that we can call ours. Tropicália Music Festival 2019 proudly showcased today’s generation of Latinx music.

Contact Kamilah Arteaga at kam412 ‘at’ stanford.edu.