Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria - Desconocidos

Poetry or spoken word can be traced back to the third millennium BC. It is an art form in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities. Poetry has been documented in many great literate civilizations over the past millennia from the Greeks to the Indians to the Japanese to the indigenous peoples of Central and South America. Poetry and spoken word were used by these people as a way to orate their history and their accomplishments as a civilization in such a manner that those who would listen were able to pass that knowledge and information on to others and so on and so forth. Since that time, poetry and spoken word have evolved while still maintaining its aesthetic and evocative qualities. Only now, poetry and spoken word are used in a growing fashion to help educate people about certain issues surrounding their communities and the environment around them.

One of those spoken word artists is BrownPride.comís very own Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria, also known as pachacutec. Rodrigo has been an active member of the message forum community for quite some time now and has always had an interest and desire to spread his point of views and knowledge regarding numerous topics through poetry and spoken word. Over the past few years, Rodrigo has been an active member of Minneapolisí poet/spoken word and hip-hop community as well as a college student earning a degree in Chicano Studies and Mass Communications. In that same time frame, Rodrigo has become an important member of Palabristas, a troupe of Latin@ spoken word artists who perform in and around the Minneapolis area voicing their socio-political commentary and life experiences.

Rodrigo has also been working on a spoken word album entitled Desconocidos. An album two years in the making, Desconocidos is here and ready for your listening pleasure. Desconocidos is a bilingual collection of spoken word work from Rodrigo with appearances by members of Palabristas. Rodrigoís poetry covers a broad range of pro-Latin@ topics from an immigrant and indigenous perspective.

One of the topics Rodrigo touches on frequently with his spoken word is immigration. He kicks off the album with the Spanish-spoken "Desaparecidos," which touches on the red hot current issue of immigration. Next, we hear the live version of "Brown in White Town," where we find Rodrigo relaying his perspective on being a recent immigrant to this country. On "I Cross Borders" puts his twist on crossing metaphorical and cultural borders. We find another Spanish-spoken track on "Inmigrante," where we find Rodrigo paying homage to the immigrant workers found across the country. "Monarch Butterfly" and "Suspects" finds Rodrigo addressing the reasoning behind the immigration issue facing the U.S. today.

Other topics we find covered in the album are that of assimilation, cultural identity and racism. "Land of the Incas" addresses Rodrigo's personal experience of having to assimilate very quickly to the American way of life after having recently moved from Peru as a youngster. Tracks like "Where Are You From?" "Revolution in Mind," and a live version of "Condor's Wing" all address the sensitive but ongoing subject of racism here in America.

We find Rodrigo's more reflective side on tracks like "At Times," "Healing," "These Hands," and "Isabella," where we find Rodrigo speaking his perspectives on fatherhood and raising his children in today's society. The rest of the album is filled out by performances by members of Palabristas counterparts Larry Lucio with "Soy Chicano;" Lorena Duarte's compelling tribute to womanhood on "Red Queens;" Brandon Lacy Campos' humorous take on his multiracial heritage and sexuality on "Mixed Emotions;" and an anti-war poem by Emmanuel Ortiz.

The album flows really well considering the wide range of topics covered. Almost anyone of any race can relate to the subject matter brought forth in the album. The live performances really stand out because you can hear the connection between the poet and his audience and their reactions to his words. The performances in Spanish also help resonate the pro-Latin@ and indigenous perspectives of Rodrigo's art form. All in all, this is a standout album from someone who walks, talks, and acts just like one of us, an immigrant, a father, a son, a husband, an American, a Latino. We also had a chance to interview Mr. Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria himself, so check out the interview here.


Brown in White Town
I Cross Borders
Soy Chicano - (ASCAP)
Mixed Emotions by Brandon Lacy Campos
Red Queen by Lorena Duarte
These Hands
Land of the Incas
Monarch Butterfly
Condorís Wing (live)
Revolution in Mind
Anti-war Poem by Emmanuel Ortiz
Where Are You From?
I Cross Borders (live)
At Times

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