Santa Martha Acatitla jail. All photographs by Amado Trevino and Frederick Bernas.
In the streets around Santa Martha Acatitla prison in Mexico City, mangy puppies forage for scraps. Pickup trucks trundle around with guards in ski masks toting AK-47s. But on September 25, convicts here discovered a welcome escape – metaphorically, of course.
Fuera de Control, a hip-hop collective formed during the jail, celebrated triumph in Rolando Rolas, a battle-of-the-bands involving correctional focuses on the main city. A backyard phase ended up being set opposite a bleacher occupied by a number of hundred inmates, whom cheered raucously while the artists played.
The winning track, “La Nave Del Olvido, ” translates to "Oblivion’s Vessel." It speaks of freedom, hope, spiritual peace and the desire for a better future, with words of forgiveness for enemies of history.
“We produced this so individuals can see there's rehab in prison, ” states Daniel Hernández García, a.k.a. MC Feck, who has got invested five years in. “We are right here for blunders, which we don’t justify, but music is freedom for people. Our Company Is no-cost in mind, heart and soul.”
Rolando Rolas ended up being conceived this season by Armando Vega-Gil, bassist in Botellita de Jerez – a cult Mexican rockband – in addition to writer Laura Esquivel. Initially it absolutely was a mobile studio and gratification facility touring deprived communities.
After keeping several jail programs, Vega-Gil ended up being inspired to start out the competition. “inside streets we want to party, in the prisons we would like a far better life. It’s the same mission, ” he said.
Five rings from four organizations recorded one track each, all posted as videos on a niche site that drew 40, 000 hits plus than 7, 300 ballots in only over a month. Combined with a panel of expert judges, the poll awarded first reward – the opportunity to make a full-length album – to Fuera de Control.
“It feels like falling crazy the very first time, I can’t put it into words, ” stated Antonio Silva Rodríguez, a.k.a. MC Toonz, who was simply sentenced to seven years for body-painting an underage woman. “We were here in prison, uncontrollable, and started making music. There is nothing before us. Our Company Is spokesmen for the prisoners, sounds that are not heard.”
“We hope the authorities cherish how art can affect the inmates, and help them come to be element of society again, ” stated their dad, in addition called Antonio Silva Rodríguez.
A year ago, a study because of the Mexican human legal rights payment concluded that 60 per cent of nation’s 430 prisons are operate by gangs. Overcrowding is yet another rampant problem, particularly in the wake of a government crackdown on narco-trafficking cartels throughout the last several years.
“It’s a complete globe inside indeed there, ” stated Gonzalo Castells of Charco Records, which arranged the competition. “It’s the same as Mexico City, but a microcosm – and high in males.” Stories have actually emerged about peacocks, battling roosters, prostitutes and luxury cells with plasma TVs and ac being found at penitentiaries across the nation.
“They have actually a small economy, and everyone actively works to fit in, ” explained Carlos Cruz Suazo, also of Charco. “They work with specific ‘padrinos, ’ selling any type of item – from meals to drugs – in order to get a place to sleep.”
This corrupt presence is a daily truth at Santa Martha Acatitla, but Rolando Rolas introduced a ray of aspire to many there – also for starters mid-day. The next step, relating to organizers, would be to expand into a nationwide event.
Together with members of Fuera de Control believe their new record offer a system to distribute good emails. “We’re constantly thinking, ‘my son will listen to this song, our kids will pay attention to it, ’” stated Guillermo Días García, a.k.a. Brand new RapYazo.
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