In the lead-up to the Black Alternative Rock Festival, or BLA/ALT, at Camp North End on Oct. 21, Creative Loafing has asked some of the artists to talk about why they're playing the event and what it means to them. Today, Chócala talks about the importance of bringing a Latin tinge to the black alternative rock fest in Charlotte.
But first, watch this live clip of Chócala performing "Rompecabezas."
"We're playing the festival because we believe in the organizers, artists and the values that BLA/ALT stands for," singer Liza Ortiz says. "If we hadn't been asked to join, we would have been attending and supporting anyways. The fact that we're performing is icing on the cake for us. It's also an honor for us to represent the Alt.Latino music genre."
To Chócala, whose members are also involved in expanding the Charlotte audience for Latino musical fusions, BLA/ALT represents the city's changing demographics in a way that directly combats bigotry in the larger world of divisive politics. "We think BLA/ALT is important because it enriches Charlotte's cultural landscape by showcasing everything this city's PoC artists and bands have to offer," Ortiz says. "We're excited because we're seeing independent artists and creators of several different cultures coming together and supporting each other in the music and arts community as a whole in Charlotte, which is invaluable given the current political climate. BLA/ALT is a culmination of all the growth, support and positive energy that LeAnna [Eden, BLA/ALT's organizer] has been able to focus into an entire festival. We think it's amazing."
Like other artists performing at the festival Ortiz says she hopes this will be the first of many BLA/ALT festivals to come over the next several years. "We want to see it grow," Ortiz says. "It would be fantastic to see events like this happen around the state and region. Afropunk only happens in New York and Atlanta, and there is a whole coast of states with independent black and other PoC musicians and artists that deserve being put on blast."
Follow Chócala — which also includes Ortiz's brother Claudio, as well as Michael Anderson and Davey Blackburn on both Instagram and Facebook: @chocalamusic