ARTIST PROFILES: Bulldog Bash Artists Celebrate Latin American Roots Through Rhythm


Ryan Chiao, Senior Photographer

Bulldog Bash, an annual event to welcome students first launched in 2018, returned this year after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 regulations.

On August 27, the Old Campus Welcome Event featured music and food from the Latin American diaspora, with artists sponsored by the Schwarzman Center and cuisine provided by Yale Hospitality. Jennifer Newman MFA ’11, associate artistic director of the Schwarzman Center, who planned the event, described it as an opportunity to celebrate joy.

“You can feel the beat and you can dance to the music,” Newman said. “You can feel the power of artists.”

This year’s Bulldog Bash lineup included an all-Latinx lineup.

MEXICAN SOUND INSTITUTE

Growing up, Mexico City native Camilo Lara discovered a passion within his musical family, who had a particular affinity for the guitar. But when her brother tried to teach her how to play, left-handed Lara ran into the design of the instrument. Instead of giving up, Lara found another way to enjoy music by sampling on the keyboard – that’s how he makes music to this day.

“I think of my music as a collage,” Lara said. “So I use instruments, I take samples and [creating] a larger canvas.

Lara grew up listening to hip hop and electronic music. His music today has influences from Latin America, punk rock and even Bollywood. He described the purpose of his music as a “sort of unifier” representing all the different forms of sound. As for the dance floor, he hopes to create a musical space where everyone is equal, keeping up with the beat in a place where he claims “democracy is coming.”

“It’s fantastic to showcase different music from different parts of the world,” Lara said. “I think it’s very important to do that. These kinds of shows are eclectic and fun, and I feel like we’re really happy to be a part of them.

RIMARKABLE

Maria Elena Garcia, also known as Rimarkable, is an Afro-Latin Puerto Rican producer and DJ from Detroit, Michigan.

Garcia’s mother, a classically trained pianist, introduced her to the world of music at an early age. She spent her Sundays listening to black gospel music at her local church. In her youth, she was an avid music collector, recording music from the radio and playing from a cassette box.

“I would say that’s more the foundation of the work I do than anything else,” Garcia said. “Bending genres and weaving them into each other is kind of the classic mentality, the cacophony of it all.”

Garcia also recalled his first experience as a DJ during his childhood. At 12, she brought a box of tapes to her friend’s house to host a party. She admired the idea that by performing her set, she had a say in how people at an event experienced their night. This solidified her love for music – and translated when she started working professionally.

Garcia has performed at two previous Bulldog Bash events in 2018 and 2019, and hoped the experience would be a chance for Yale students to feel at home, safe and welcomed.

“I want to bring everyone together,” Garcia said. “It’s out and everyone is finally back physically on campus, and it’s like a resurgence — it’s just a rebirth.”

VILLANO ANTILANO

Villano Antillano, a Puerto Rican rapper with over nine million monthly Spotify listeners, weaves her music through words.

Antillano began “playing with music” in his bedroom as a teenager and published his work on the Internet. There she was noticed by a social collective that worked to help artists develop. The group helped her record and mix her music, as well as “improve” it. She was then noticed by the La Buena Fortuna label, which she says brought her to where she is now as a trans rapper in a largely male-dominated space.

“They gave me the opportunity to be myself,” Antillano said. “I think it’s really important that queer artists aren’t… treated like puppets because nobody can tell you how to sell their product.”

Although Antillano specializes in urban music, his influences come from a variety of other genres, including Argentinian rock, salsa and heavy metal, which taught him “how to hit the beat”. She appreciates other rappers, like Nicki Minaj, who know how to play with words and vowels. In his own work, Antillano also plays with sound, using his native Spanish dialect to his musical advantage.

“We chew the language they colonize us with,” Antillano said. “In my case, it was Spanish.”

A queer and transgender activist, Antillano thinks she’s making a statement with her stage presence because people like her “are not supposed to go anywhere.”

She hopes to use her stage presence as a platform to spread love, energy and empowerment.

CHOCQUIBTOWN

ChocQuibTown, a Latin Grammy-winning Colombian hip-hop group comprised of members Carlos “Tostao” Valencia, Gloria “Goyo” Martínez, and Miguel “Slow” Martínez, began sharing Afro-Colombian music with others Colombians. Today they are doing the same with the rest of the world.

The group grew up listening to different types of music, from areas such as Latin America, Jamaica and Africa in their hometown of Chocó, Colombia.

“I started singing at home with my family,” Goyo said. “And then I started with hip hop…mixing different sounds.”

In the early 2000s, they got together as a group and started creating music from different beats in one style – from hip hop to dance genres to traditional Chocó music. As Afro-Colombian artists, they hoped to share their identity and the unique styles of music of the black community with other Colombians. After performing in Colombia, they achieved international fame and toured Europe, eventually winning a Latin Grammy.

“They didn’t believe at first when we just started doing our thing,” Tostao said. “Sometimes you have a lot of people around you who don’t believe in what you’re doing… [but] you have to keep going because one day they will understand.

This year’s Bulldog Bash was held in person at the Old Campus.




WILLIAM PORAYOUW




William Porayouw handles international affairs at Yale and is part of the YDN business team. A native of Southern California, he is a freshman at Davenport College majoring in ethics, politics, and economics.