Cinco de Mayo is the same to native Mexicans as St. Patrick's Day is to the native Irish -- an excuse for others to get stupid wasted.
But being that we're a bordertown, it's important that we don't get the holiday's meaning twisted: It's not about getting smashed on margaritas while wearing sombreros and ponchos and exaggerated faux moustaches. In fact, Cinco de Mayo isn't widely celebrated south of the border, nor is it Mexico's Independence Day (that happened on Sept. 16, 1810).
Here's the real-real: On May 5, 1862, the Mexicano army -- led by the young mestizo general Porfirio Diaz -- won an unlikely defeat over le Française in Puebla, Mexico. Look at it this way: Cinco de Mayo is the day when the broke underdog defeated the bully tactics of imperialist creditors.
Music. Community. Culture.
So, in the spirit of celebrating the legendary rebeldía of General boom-bap Diaz and his Mexican army, redefine your Cinco de Mayo in the powerful company of Grammy-winning La Santa Cecilia at CincoTeca.
La Santa Cecilia are masters of marrying activism and music with subtle precision. Last year, the Los Angeles natives found an eloquent, powerful way to give voice to the migrant workers of America in their cover of the Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever."
In an interview with the Grammy Museum, lead singer Marisol "la Marisoul" Hernández spoke about the connection between the Beatles classic and the plight of modern migrant workers. "One day, we started leaving L.A to play in Bakersfield, and we saw the fruit fields. The strawberry fields. Listening to the song on my iPod, I thought, man, it connected. Seeing all these migrant workers, working for hours in the strawberry fields forever."
"It's a trip that a song that was made by these four Brits turned into something that I feel connected to with migrant workers and the beauty of their work," she continued. "I guess it's a way for us to acknowledge their work and for people to kind of remember where all our amazing fruit comes from. It's so easy to just grab at grocery stores, but it comes from somewhere else. I always think it's nice to acknowledge the people behind the scenes."
La Santa Cecilia are sure to bring that same electric, feel-good message to San Diego audiences this Cinco de Mayo at CincoTeca -- guaranteed not to be your typical sombrero-clad fiesta. CincoTeca will transform Seaport's Headquarters Plaza into a thriving music compound featuring some of the best in alt-Latino music. Along with La Santa Cecilia, Los Master Plus of Guadalajara (who can only be properly prepared for by watching this "Fiestina" video), Orlando & the Shantelles of Tijuana and Buyepongo of L.A. will have your auditory senses bent. CincoTeca is going to be the only party to be at for Cinco de Mayo. Drink responsibly, mi gente!
Dita Quinones is a multimedia journalist born in Tijuana with a passion for Latin alternative and hip-hop music news. Her main goal is to uplift and inform so that the Latino, Filipino and hip-hop community get knitted into the fabric of American history. In addition to SoundDiego, she contributes to Latina, Fox News Latino, Poder, VidaVibrante, San Diego CityBeat and HipHopDx. She is also the founder of the infamous music and politrix blog GN$F! Follow Dita on Twitter or on Facebook.