The Union Makes the Rumba: Musas Sonideras
Outside the Popotla Metro, on the Mexico-Tacuba Road and the Callejón de la Zanja, in the Nextitla neighborhood, I find Marisol Mendoza Gómez. Together with his family, he has long been dedicated to street commerce in this area of Mexico City. I recognize her. I say good afternoon to her and her daughter. They are aware of a very well stocked candy stand. Marisol answers me very simply. I explain that I am the person who wants to talk to her to know about Musas Sonideras, a female group that has been in command for more than two years, with which, under the phrase “The union makes the rumba”, she raises the voice of women involved in the sound movement. That is where his father, Ricardo Mendoza García, ringleader of Sonido Duende, one of the most famous in the Tacuba colony approaches us;I am not handsome (Joyce Garcia, 2018). Its simplicity is also natural. Greets me. He tells us to go to the cafeteria that is one street away, on the same sidewalk.
We arrived at the establishment. The owners ask Marisol: “Are you going to be interviewed again?” They laugh. We see the letter. She asks for coffee with milk. I an American. Before they give us our drinks, she says that when she is surrounded all the time by one of the most popular expressions of Chilean folklore, she prefers to proclaim herself as a sound cultural promoter. “It all started when I met Mariana Delgado; With it, in 2008 he started the Sonidero Project. There I began to write chronicles that were the experiences of my brother Ricardo, when he first entered to play in a prison, ”explains the 40-year-old sound muse.
Together with Mariana, plus the integration of Lupita “La Cigarrita”, known as Sound Radio Voice (the other protagonist of I am not handsome ), more than five years ago she organized the women’s group Sonideras de Corazón, predecessor to Musas Sonideras, with which began to meet more women interested in the environment of tropical music. “We made a playful in La Merced, thanks to the support of ‘La Güera’, a leader there,” says Marisol. “Those events where sounds are presented only used to invite men to play, but as I already knew some girls, I found it interesting that they were part of the event. They came Sound Catwoman, Sound The Brunette, Sound The Lady, Ely Fania, Sound Seduction. We draw so much attention that they invited us to the radio. ”
Marisol, taking the baton of the group, became more interested in what lies behind the music, greetings, dance and the leading role of the air freshener. For the same reason, remembering passages from his childhood, to his father and brothers performing the task as Duende Sound, he preferred to focus on going after everything that is breathed and felt in the movement. “Growing up in a sound family was a rare thing,” says Marisol. “Those who have always touched are my brothers and when they saw me that I was writing things about them, they asked me why I did it. I always responded to my brother Ricardo that I was passionate about the experiences I had. ”
Musas Sonideras began to be established in 2017, when they appeared at the Candela Hall, located very close to the Hidalgo Metro. Then, Marisol’s family told him that he should become an air freshener. But what she seeks, along with her partners, is to give visibility to women in this predominantly masculine phenomenon identified with the street. “The sonideras are only one percent,” he says, “there are few who are in the speech, in the setting of events; This has been the case since the beginning of the movement. Even so, I know, with logo and everything, 64 women. Some are from the United States. That is something interesting. They took part of the Mexican culture there. Even many girls ask me how they can do to belong to Muses Sonideras. I explain that we are not an organization, a foundation; You don’t need to pay a membership to join. I tell you that the main thing is to have the heart to resist and exist. ”
The music muse also adds that those involved in all this, which was born between the decades of 1940 and 1950, throughout history have been by conviction and necessity. “There is talk that the mother of the Perea Dynasty also set parties and played music, because her family was already starting to get more events,” says Marisol. “That same happened to the wife of Sound 64, one of the pioneers of the Tacubaya neighborhood. They say that he let her play at some parties, as he began to assimilate that he could live from setting events with music full of flavor. That is the reason why many women were forced to enter the movement. It was not because they liked it, but it became a cash inflow for the family. But the great icon of the women’s movement is La Socia. Even when he is about 35 years old he died.
Despite the inheritance of the sonideros, to date it is common to occur between father and son. Women who come from dynasties have had to make their own name at any cost and Muses Sonideras today has been making known that feminine side that has always militated.
“It seems to me that we are making noise, even though at the beginning it cost us a lot of work to open the doors,” says Marisol. “I think that the appearance of female sex, even as followers or dancers, was something important. Today there are many companions who could tell their stories of everything lived. Rarely have we talked about the women who followed the sounds since their beginnings. Likewise, little has been said about how they had to lie to go to the dances. In fact, Lupita “La Cigarrita” calls itself that because she was a follower of Malboro Sound. Sol Salsita, “La Chaparrita del Sabor”, before becoming a sonidera belonged to a dance club. We have always been the attraction of the movement. We are the taste, we are the sensuality. ”
In spite of the task that Musas Sonideras plays, whether with carrying the name of a dynasty on its back or having started from scratch, few promoters believe and look at women to invite them to set their events. Marisol says that happens, since they don’t believe it has a boom. “They always pretext that there is no money to pay women.”
Musas Sonideras, like others involved in the movement, currently play more frequently in dance halls than on the street. “Although there is that problem, most of us have played in the neighborhood, where the essence of the movement is,” says Marisol. “Ely Fania plays a lot in the State of Mexico, where they pay very well. Lupita ‘La Cigarrita’ is one hundred percent street. Jaqueline Malagón ‘Sound The Lady’, the same. She, who had the organization Guerrero Guerrera Sonideras de México, has struggled to recover public spaces and not only for us women, but also for men. ”
Since then, as well as at the beginning of the movement, the caste has brought out the aggressive and even maternal character of the woman. “The fact that we are many girls playing in dance halls, does not mean that we are not part of the environment. We have stepped on the street. I’ve been with my dad and my brothers all my life. We were going on top of the truck, on top of the baffles. That’s very dangerous, but that’s how we traveled everywhere. We did that for the pride of Duende Sound. Also with us was a little friend who grew up with the family, whom we nicknamed ‘La Hippie Charangas’. She continues to climb the structures to set up the stages, connect the lights, among other things. It should be noted. There are women who are part of the staff, the toughest job. That was what Ely Fania did originally, working with some sonideros and being more involved in high energy music, ”says Marisol.
At present they are other times. The struggle for women’s gender equality is more colorful, more radical. Even a bit of that struggle has been reflected in the movement, taking into account that the first stage of the group, under the name Sonideras de Corazón, was still much more difficult. “It took three years to pay attention, to be taken seriously. So we could play in the Candela Hall, thanks to the space provided by Mr. Mauricio García, who was very kind to us, after the doors were closed on many sides, ”he explains. “And when we changed our name to Musas Sonideras, because of that we dedicated ourselves to making links, which was very father because the environment related was made known.”
Thus, Musas Sonideras has made connection with artists, politicians, feminist groups, vinyl collectors, magazines, cultural promoters and other people who are looking for them and that this musical identity that moves a large part of the Mexican people is interesting. Thanks to that, Marisol and company have been in events of another kind of social class, as she says, remembering that sound dance they did at the Soumaya Museum.
At that time of the afternoon, when I am about to stop talking with Marisol, the Duende Sound leader enters the cafeteria. He tells me to prepare some French fries, since he will open the premises he is in charge of. We cross the same street, along the same sidewalk where the Popotla Metro is located, and next to a juices and smoothies stand I understand that it is the territory of this family, as father and daughter invite me to the dance they do there – even when the Government forbids them – December 12, the day of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Minutes later, while playing a salsa played by Manuel “El Loco” Valdés that sounds Ricardo and is called “Roberto Revolver”, he gives me a unicel plate with potatoes bathed in ketchup, sauce and yellow cheese. At the same time, two members of the Musas Sonideras arrive; Ely Fania and Sol Salsita “La Chaparrita del Sabor”. They have an interview south of the city. Marisol, say hi. Her father tells me: “My daughter climbed very fast in all this and I have always supported her. When she has to go to an event herself, I try to accompany her. I am always giving you advice. Many have said that the name of Duende Sound was hung, but now Duende Sound hangs from Marisol. As a father, I feel fulfilled. He is making his own story with Muses Sonideras. ” As a father, I feel fulfilled. He is making his own story with Muses Sonideras. ” As a father, I feel fulfilled. He is making his own story with Muses Sonideras. ”