Sights and sounds from the Central Avenue Jazz Festival

The 19th annual Central Avenue Jazz Festival last weekend brought out crowds of L.A. residents to enjoy authentic Mexican and soul food, local crafts, and, of course, the sweet sounds of jazz. This year, the Jazz Festival was bigger than ever, with two music stages, kids activities and a plaza offering health screenings, stands representing local organizations and businesses, and artists making and selling a variety of crafts.

Watch the audio slideshow below for the sights and sounds of the festival. 

Visit our Flickr for photos from the event.

Generacion Suicida’s South LA punk roar

Generacion Suicida

Generacion Suicida. View more photos on Flickr | Generacion Suicida

The name “Genraction Suicida” – “suicide generation” – could be seen as a way for Kiwi Martinez and Tony Abarca to thumb their noses at the people who said they would never become successful. Martinez, the drummer, and Abarca, the guitarist and vocalist, both dealt with their share of struggles and discouragement growing up in South L.A.

Martinez came to the United States from Guatemala when she was 12 months old and ended up attending John C. Fremont High School in South L.A. There, she was failing classes and felt like teachers didn’t care about their students’ education or future.

See also on Intersections: Sergio Urida and Bombassmuzik, the last of the South LA record stores [Read more…]

Lynwood School District Hosts Music Appreciation Workshop

Christian Rap: Swag meets salvation

Everyone is familiar with the traditional sounds of Sunday morning. The sound of choir voices and organ riffs coming together to deliver the gospel, but USC student Makiah Green gets her gospel in a more contemporary form.

Makiah Green

Makiah Green believes Christian rap should not be alternative music but the standard. (Photo by Maria Eubanks)

“Oh man, I went to a church, Pastor for Christ Movement, filled with young people, and in service, they would play these really cool rap songs. And so I would just start asking who is this, who is this, who is this,” said Green. “They had a DJ that would play during service, and I went up to him and he put a playlist on a flash drive. And that was the beginnings.” [Read more…]

Narcocorridos: The drug war in song

imageFrom a back alley in Wilmington, illuminated by the twinkling lights of the nearby oil refinery, the sounds of the Mexican-drug war come alive on a windy Wednesday evening — not through gun shots, police sirens or the wailing of widowed mothers — but through song.

“Loyalty to the bosses, or you’re an enemy,” croons 27-year-old Jesse Castañeda in Spanish into a microphone in his home garage, rehearsing for an upcoming show. Jesse is the lead-singer of the four-piece Wilmington band Komando de la Klika. The song, called “Scarface Reborn,” tells the violent tale of a Mexican drug lord executing his foes. [Read more…]

The Ins and Outs of the Greek Theatre


The Greek Theatre is a concert venue at the northern tip of Vermont Avenue that attracts nationally and internationally-renown acts.

Find out more about the Greek Theatre:

‘The State of Vermont’ explores the businesses, restaurants and activities on Vermont Avenue. A collection of audio slideshows, the series was produced by the Visual Journalism class at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California.

When music and technology collide

Listen to an audio story by Annenberg Radio News:


image Elaine Chew joined neuroscientist Aniruddh Patel, composer Peter Child and computer scientist Alexandre Francois Thursday night at the University of Southern California to examine the influence of language on music. The night featured scientific presentations, musical performances and interactive visualizations. The event was inspired by Patel’s research, which demonstrated that the music of British and French composers reflects the rhythm and intonation of their native languages.

Music = Life

This article also appeared in the Toiler Times, the student newspaper of Manual Arts High School.

By Juanita Yat

Music inspires all types of people and age groups from the youngest to the oldest. To many people in many cultures music is an important part of their way of life. In most cases music shows people who they are. While some use the art of music as entertainment other use it for other use it for inspiration. Sometimes it helps say what’s on your mind without saying it yourself. It’s a way people and bands express their feeling about society and the government

Personally for me, music is everything. Music can help in my rough times; just by listening to the lyrics I know I’m not alone, that somebody else felt or went through what I am feeling. Many people like me find that music is what calms and relaxes them and makes them feel safe. Hear it because you are living it.

Music is important to me because it’s a way I express my feelings, also music was a bond between me and dad. One of my favorite bands that brought us together was HIM. I was around 7 or 8 when I was looking up to my dad and his HIM interest. The very first album I ever had was Greatest Love Songs vol.666 which was my Dad’s. I would have to say my favorite songs from that album would have to be The Heartless, When Love and Death Embrace, and For You.

Soon my passion for HIM grew bigger I started asking for cd’s like Razorblade Romance, Venus Doom and Dark Light. These albums included songs like; Dead Lover’s Lane, The Kiss Death, Dark Secret Love, Wings of a Butterfly and Killing Loneliness. Each of these songs have meaning to me and many have got me through problems greater than life. I think at first it wasn’t only the beat of the drums, base, and an awesome guitar solo but the lyrics that touched my heart. I just sink to my music and everything is okay.

Music is everywhere. There is no noise, only sound.

For a love of music, movies, and Michael

imageFor 15-year-old Justin Horton, music is more than just a pastime: it’s a way of dealing with hardship.

“It’s almost like when I sing a song that I know and like it will help get the pain out of me,” said Horton.

His sad experiences, or the “heavy stuff,” as Horton calls it, include the death of his uncle when he was four years old and the missing presence of his father. Horton’s dad has been in and out of jail, leaving Horton’s mother to raise two children alone.

“All my life my mom has always been there and my father hasn’t,” said Horton. “So I’m more close to my mom than I am with my dad. My mom knows how to care for me and cheers me up when I’m feeling sad.”

Horton loves to sing along to his favorites, especially Michael Jackson, when he’s feeling down. But he also loves watching movies with his mom.

Listen to Justin talk about singing his troubles away and being a movie buff:

In fact, it was a movie that inspired Horton to become a fan of Michael Jackson. He was introduced to the superstar through “The Jacksons: An American Dream,” a movie his mother suggested.

Horton is a big fan of the Jackson 5 and loves singing along to songs like “Who’s Lovin’ You.” But “You Are Not Alone” remains Horton’s favorite Jackson song.

“My uncle died when I was four so every time I hear that song I always remember that even though my uncle is dead, he will always be with me and that I’m never alone,” said Horton.

Michael Jackson’s death in 2009 came as a big shock.

“My heart was beating fast,” said Horton. “I know that he was a good entertainer and a good father, so I was just thinking what is his family going to do and how are his children going to get taken care of? Everybody was upset so I felt upset too.”

Listen to Justin sing, and discuss his love for Michael Jackson:

Crenshaw celebrates Taste of Soul Festival

The 5th Annual Taste of Soul Festival livened up Crenshaw Boulevard with soul food and soulful music. The event was presented by the Los Angeles Sentinel Newspaper and Mothers in Action, in conjunction with Radio Free 102.3 KJLH and the 94.7 The Wave.

An estimated 100,000 people attended the event, which monopolized Crenshaw Boulevard from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Rodeo Boulevard.

Food options included fried chicken, pulled pork, corn on the cob and pecan pie. Beyond the soul food, the festival boasted several performance acts and informational booths.