jarana, bajo sexto and tarima. But if you listen closer, you realize that lead singer/percussionist Martha Gonzalez and guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Quetzal Flores infuse their music with pointedly relevant lyrics that celebrate feminism and activist politics and tell the personal stories of immigrants caught between borders. The East L.A. collective have been stirring up trouble for more than two decades not through the force of rage and anger but by couching their soulful lyrics in a mesmerizing weave of idyllic sounds. On Quetzal’s 2014 album, Quetzanimales, Gonzalez sang from the point of view of various animals to symbolize the commonality of not only different people but also all living beings.
At first glance, Quetzal might seem like a merely quaint group who ramble over folk, salsa, ranchera and world-music styles with an array of traditional Mexican instruments including