By Sarah Byron
Alternative imaginaries reclaim heritage. They regain ownership of stories and narratives that have been appropriated by more powerful groups and individuals. Alternative imaginaries empower minority groups to explore their own story and use that new insight to create a new image of themselves and who they are. It’s a power move aimed at reclaiming lost power. Martha Gonzalez defines the power of alternative imaginaries beautifully in “Zapateado Afro-Chicana Fandango Style: Self-Reflective Moments in Zapateado.” She explains that alternative imaginaries “absorb experiences, struggles, and elements from the present and from other cultures to create a unique voice.” In Imaginaries, Martha continues on, reflecting upon her own upbringing, writing about how the turbulent cultural environment in which she grew up shaped the way her community found their voice. She writes: “these events spurred a powerful synergy, in which avenues of expressive culture such as music and public art emerged as platforms from which to voice marginalized people’s desires, opinions, and resistance to the conditions in which they found themselves.” Influenced by cultural inequality, marginalized groups seek to reclaim their lost voice and their lost power. They do so by imagining alternative imaginaries.
The attached links are to other songs on Quetzal’s Grammy-award winning album. Through these selections, it’s evident that the band believes in this idea of alternative imaginaries – you can see this idea expressed through each song.