You can hear the the sound of Gerardo’s fingers sliding up and down the Ukulele as he sits down with me for the interview. He is nervous, and strums it every once in a while. Gerardo Ruiz-Tovar is a musician residing in Indianapolis, Indiana, and plays drums in two bands, Trip N Balls and Indianapolis Forever. Both bands sound very different from each other, but it’s always about the music says Gerardo, “We never get paid to play, we do it for the music.” That’s why you always see them play at local shows around the town of Indianapolis.
Gerardo came to the U.S. at the age of 14. After some tough economic times in his hometown of Tala, Jalisco, Mexico, his family decided to move north. They owned a stationary store, and business was not as strong as previous years. Because of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Mexico and the U.S now share a strong economic tie; 89% of Mexico’s exports are sent to the U.S.. In this export based economy, it is difficult for businesses that rely on local cash flow. Most of the money is being handled by multi-national corporations, whose money flows without taxation in and out of Mexico. The close ties to the U.S. also means that if U.S. economy is a bind, so is the Mexican economy. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, the U.S. economy went into a recession and brought Mexico’s down right with it. It was a mixture of economic and social pressures that forced Gerardo’s family to move to the U.S.
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It was in a small bedroom of a high school student where Jesus Galaviz recorded his EP, “Desempleado” in 2010. Jesus had been recently fired from his job as a welder for an agricultural company on the Eastern Coachella Valley. He had been working there for five years, after moving from Los Angeles where he had previously lived. Jesus was unsure of recording his music, after all, he had only been playing music for his own enjoyment and those around him, as he had been doing for years.
Born and raised in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico on October of 1954, Jesus was born one year into the Cuban Revolution, just as it was beginning to get traction and support from the people, not just in Cuba, but around the world. It was actually Mexico, just a couple years before, that housed the exiled leaders of the revolution, such as the now famous Ernesto “Che’ Guevera. In what was one of the greatest fights for land, work and equality for all, it was an exciting time to be growing up, and Jesus was born just as all this was unfolding. A lot of the music influences of that time are present in much of the musical sound of Jesus.
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