Multi-American

How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

A sneak peek at one 'Corrido of L.A.' entry

Art by Gajin Fujita, courtesy of LACMA

In late September, I wrote about an unusual songwriting contest for the "The Corrido of L.A."

The contest, put together by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the University of Southern California, encouraged 7th through 12th-grade students from throughout the city to write and submit songs in the traditional Mexican narrative ballad style that best captured the essence of Los Angeles, in any language. Contest judges would include the band Ozomatli, which was to perform the top ten entries in a concert this month.

The deadline for submissions was in mid-November, and since then, KCET's website has provided a sneak peek at one of the songs submitted. The station's Departures hyper-local project recently posted audio and video from a group of students at the Los Angeles Leadership Academy who, calling themselves Los Geekz, have produced a haunting, stylized rap about urban life in "the sickest part of Cali," as they put it. The group calls the piece "Change is Coming," and while it sounds nothing like traditional corrido, no matter.

Ozomatli's website lists plans for "The Corrido of L.A.: The Concert," a free show planned for Saturday, Dec. 18 at 2 p.m. at LACMA.

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