Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Magdalena Gomez's Bemba y Chichon: "I am loca enough to know who I am"

Ever since I bought Magdalena Gómez’s spoken word CD Bemba y Chichón in 2008, I have listened to it at least once a month. And each time I listen to it, I listen to it as closely as mami y papi listen to the bulky 1960s radio that still stands on their kitchen counter. Once again Magdalena Gómez proves that she is not only a talented spoken word performer, but also a poet who weaves compelling and strong narrative poems.

On this CD, Magadalena Gómez’s poems are litanies that illuminate with such ferocious humor, truths about colonialism, racism and internal racism, misogyny, homophobia, assimilation, and other issues within the Puerto Rican context that will make you flinch because, HELLO, when IS the last time you had a meaningful conversation with anyone else about any of these issues? If you have had any, then you will appreciate profoundly this spoken word CD.

Who is Magdalena Gómez’s spoken word CD for? Certainly NOT for the fainthearted who flinch at so-called “inappropriate” language that they pretend never to have heard before. Certainly NOT for the “don’t rock the boat” boricuas who can never erase la mancha de plátano they bear no matter how hard they try to assimilate. And certainly NOT for the complacent Latino academics who chose to ignore Magdalena Gómez’s rightful place in the Nuyorican movement and in Puerto Rican literature in general. (Yes, as a poet and as an independent scholar, I can and will get on my soapbox.)

Who is Magdalena Gómez’s spoken word CD for? For everyday boricuas from all walks of life, especially for puertorriqueñas who can proclaim, as Magdalena Gómez does on the CD, “I am loca enough to know who I am.” For women like mami, humble, centered, observant, profoundly strong even when perceived to be quiet. For men like papi, violently machista who chuckles and is aroused by the irreverent female power of Magdalena Gómez’s voice.

I won’t claim that you will agree with everything you hear on this CD. However I will guarantee that you will be immediately drawn in by the performances, including some of Magdalena Gómez’s poems set to music and sung by an amazing singer, Abraham “Abe” Gómez-Delgado, and that you will be moved - to reflect, to listen again, to question, to talk about what resonated with you, and to act!

1 comment:

  1. Great review. I need to get a copy of "Bemba y Chichon". I am a poet and longtime fan of Magdalena, and I have come to appreciate Abe's prodigous talents. When I finally start my blog I'll write about this also.
    Rick Kearns