Los Cenzontles Composes Ballad to Arizona: Estado de Verguenza (State of Shame)
San Pablo-based Mexican American folk group Los Cenzontles recently created a corrido about the new immigration law in Arizona. Corridos are a time-honored version of breaking news in Mexico; this corrido expresses the outrage of the Mexican American community in response the new Arizona law.
Estado de Verguenza was composed by Los Cenzontles founder Eugene Rodriguez, recorded and put to video within a four day period earlier this month. Los Cenzontles is a group of artists who trained under Rodriguez since childhood and adolescence. Together they run a non-profit cultural arts center in the mostly immigrant working class neighborhood of San Pablo, California, in the San Francisco East Bay Area.
Of the immigration issue, Rodriguez says, "Illegal immigration is an issue that is global in scale and rooted in massive global economic inequities and complex political realities. Individual immigrants did not create these situations. They are merely reacting to them, as are we all. Certainly there needs to be a solution to illegal immigration. Let's discuss it. But let's discuss it without vilifying and further marginalizing the most vulnerable in our society. And regarding the Arizona law, I believe that it is our obligation to stand up against attacks on our Constitution, freedom, security and our dignity. The Arizona law is such an attack."
About Los Cenzontles
Los Cenzontles (The Mockingbirds) is dedicated to promoting the beauty, dignity and strength of Mexican American culture. In their Academy, they train 200 students weekly in traditional music, dance and arts, and crafts. The have produced 18 CDs, including the recent celebrated immigrant homage American Horizon with Taj Mahal and David Hidalgo, and were featured on the recent Irish/Mexican release San Patricio with The Chieftains and Ry Cooder.