Voices of the Voiceless: Aztlan Underground
New ground was broken at this year 12th annual Native American Music Awards (Nammys). Los Angeles band Aztlan Underground was nominated for four awards: group of the year, best rock recording, best spoken word recording, and best world music recording. While they did not win any (a travesty if you ask me), their being nominated is a sign of the growing consciousness within many Indians and Mexicans of what they truly are, brothers and sisters, with a shared history, culture, languages (before colonization), traditions etc. This process is not new, with cooperation in the past between organizations like MEChA and AIM being based on this recognition, but this marks the continued growth of this, including its penetration into the popular thought of our common peoples.
As artists AU brings together diverse influences, including rap, spoken word, hardcore punk, prog rock, death metal, the sounds of traditional indigenous drumming, rattles, chants and flutes with politicly consciousness lyrics. Over their 20 years in music they have put out three incredible albums, 1995’s Decolonize, 2001’s Sub-Verses and 2009’s Aztlan Underground. With the release of their latest album has, shifting away from their originally more rap situated sound to one that includes 10 minute long progressive pieces. It also includes a first for the band, their first song, Moztliitta, recorded in Nahuatl, the language of the Mexica people.
What I present below is only sampling from their three albums. I would highly suggest you check them out.