Voices of the Voiceless: El Vuh
This is the second of my now weekly Sunday Morning music-oriented posts. With these posts my goal is to help promote the words and sounds of various political artists, of all musical genres. This week’s post takes a look at the music of Mexicano-indigenous hip-hop trio El Vuh. Last week’s inaugural post featured British-Iraqi rapper Lowkey.
Meaning “the book,” El Vuh is a hip-hop trio from occupied California. Eemcees Zero, Victor-E and E-Rise have often been called lyrical medicine men by those who have heard their music, using their songs as a vehicle for expressing personal views on today’s environmental, socio-economic and political climates of the modern world.
The trio first met in 2002 after open mic night at the legendary Tia Chu Chas Café in the San Fernando Valley. There a young artist named E-Rise impacted host Victor so much that he decided he and friend Zero had to meet. “Victor called me up and asked me to come and meet him Keep in mind I live an hour away – but somehow I agreed. When I got there, E-Rise was just about to leave. We met and really vibed. It felt like we had known each other for a long time,” recalls Zero. The meeting sparked something magical and soon after the trio recorded their first release, “Jaguar Prophecies”, at a studio in Zero’s house, reportedly only in the space of one weekend.
During live performances, they incorporate the hue hue drum and wooden-slit drum – ancient Mexican instruments that replicate the sounds of nature – into their performances and include a visual interpretation through ‘danzantes’ (Aztec dancers) and projected images of temples and hieroglyphs, recreating their ancestor’s mystical atmosphere within the contemporary sounds of hip-hop rhythms.