La Rondalla Amerindia De Aztlán Celebrates Over 50 Years of Making Music

by “Doc” J. Rivera

La Rondalla Amerindia De Aztlán is a group of Chicano social justice musicians that has inspired and motivated political action and education among La Raza for the last 50 years.

La Rondalla Amerindia De Aztlán was started at San Diego State University (SDSU) in 1969 by professor José ‘Pepe’ Villarino and his Chicana/o Studies (C/S) students and has been a continuous and significant component of the C/S history we are celebrating. Among a variety of initiatives, the members of La Rondalla Amerindia De Aztlán, as students, professors, professionals and community activists, were involved with the formation of C/S at SDSU from 1969 and continue its social justice work to this day.

La Rondalla Amerindia De Aztlán provides music with a message that inspires and educates by telling social justice stories of, among others, SDSU Chicana/o students, faculty, staff and community activists, both inside and outside of university systems. We were a César Chávez “go to” group at many marches and other social justice events. Our music has impacts far beyond the campus, yet it was part of the academic center that emerged from C/S at SDSU.

La Rondalla Amerindia De Aztlán implements its mission in a manner consistent with “El Plan De Santa Barbara” and defines the importance and need for Chicano Studies by chronicling our community’s social justice initiatives. One of its songs is part of a Smithsonian collection and one of its original members, “Chunky” Ramon Sanchez was recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage Fellowships—“Chunky” Presente!

Five of the current members of La Rondalla Amerindia De Aztlán are interviewed in the internationally acclaimed documentary on Chunky’s life, “Singing Our Way to Freedom.”

La Rondalla Amerindia De Aztlán’s unique and lived social justice music was and remains at the heart and soul of Chicana/o studies academia. Our social justice music provides substantive academic hope in a way that educates and inspires our students and community to social justice action. Spanning 50-plus years, La Rondalla Amerindia De Aztlán has written and performed songs that chronicle the lives of individual Chicana/o campus activists and events of historical importance. Many of the songs performed by La Rondalla Amerindia De Aztlán are a living history of great political significance and importance. 

Our music is a significant tool that educates about the Chicano Studies social justice history. It is part of the fight to preserve and advance justice for our culture.

Do call on La Rondalla Amerindia De Aztlán to provide social justice music for any political, educational and social justice event relevant to our Raza. Any stipends are put toward the César Chávez Scholarship or other related scholarships.

Spring 2020 – Vol. 45 No. 1

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