Nahua Reggae and Metal: A Comparative Case between LA and Mexico

Paloma Coatlicue Rodríguez Villarruel, Bielefeld University:

The aim of this article is to compare two music groups: Xipe Vitan J’ai, a metal band from Mexico City, and Quinto Sol, a reggae band from LA. Both groups mix lyrics in English, Spanish, Nahuatl and other indigenous languages of Mexico and use a variety of ‘pre-Hispanic’ instruments. Members of Quinto Sol identify as Chicanos, while members of Xipe Vitan J’ai identify as Mexican mestizos and Native Mexicans of the (falsely labelled) Otomí tribe. This article explores these lyrical and musical identity practice phenomena by questioning how Mexicans (mestizos or Natives) and Chicanos create new, syncretic identities in their struggle to find a sense of belonging that resists the simple acceptance of hegemonic identity narratives and asserts their individuality.

Download a .pdf of the complete article here.