Combining a unique mix of punk rock, Aztec instruments and indigenous lyrics, Mexico City band Los Cogelones are using music to save their cultural heritage.
Punk band, Los Cogelones (roughly translates as The Fuckers) formed in 2008 when four brothers Marco Antonio, Víctor Hugo, José Alberto and Jesús Adrián Sandoval decided – with tongues firmly in their cheeks – that they wanted a life of “sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll”
However, what began as ‘just four brothers jamming together” started to take on a momentum all of its own – especially when they fused their love of punk and their passion for keeping indigenous Mexican tradition alive and relevant for today’s generation.
The brothers, wearing traditional Aztec outfits, thrash out their songs mixing electric guitars and the fury of punk with traditional instruments such as the huéhuetl (a tube-shaped drum used by the Mayans) and sing in a combination of Spanish and the indigenous Nahuatl language.
“Our songs incorporate prayers like our Mexica (Aztec) grandparents did, and we integrated traditional instruments into this mix of our present and native past,” drummer Marco Sandoval told AFP.
The brothers were brought up in the El Sol neighbourhood of Nezahualcoyotl and when growing up the roads there were still unpaved and the houses made of flimsy sheets of metal. Neza, as it is known, is said to be a place that grows from adversity. It is a tough place to live in. It has a high crime rate, violence and murder are commonplace and the town is lacking even in the most basic services.
The harshness of life there is reflected in the songs of Los Cogelones. The lyrics speak about indigenous peoples history and cultural heritage and the injustice and discrimination many indigenous people of Mexico experience on a daily basis.
“We are not Mexica, we were not born in an indigenous community, but we grew up in a town where people live the same way. There are shortages, there is thirst and there is hunger. But people go out to work every day. If people grow, it is because they go out to work every day, because they fight,” Marco Antonio told Mexico City local travel guide website Local.Mx
The brothers have just released the video for the single Hijos de puta (no censurado) – which translates as Motherfuckers (uncensored) – from their new album Hijos del Sol (Children of the Sun)
Lyrics roughly translate as: “Motherfucker, a word that accompanies the rage you planted. Now you’re demanding that we stop screaming. Stop looking for what you took from us. Is there any feeling inside you that might want to help me? Everything will change.”
This gritty, edgy and truly unique punk band is well worth checking out!
The album is available now on all platforms
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I’m a London born and bred music journalist, a mediocre bass player and the occasional strummer of the guitar. In the ’80s I worked in recording studios and made a few records you’d probably recognise. I have written a couple of books and made the odd media appearance as a music commentator. I now call Brisbane home.