Avantist during the Pilsen Battle of the Bands. Photo: El BeiSMan
Avantist, winners of Round 3 Pilsen Battle of the Bands, will be performing in this year’s Pilsen Fest. The band consists of brothers Erick, David, Luis, and Fernando Arias, who with unconditional love and support of their parents, have been able to carry out their music career. Having a Mexican background and being from Chicago, they embrace and incorporate the many wonders of their Latino identity in their work. Because the Latinx community is very welcoming, their lyrics are free, vibrant, and opened to interpretations all around. Their music is as authentic as they can be. Filled with their emotions, pureness, and humbleness, their “music is [essentially] a direct translation of [them].”
Their Latino identity is heavily mirrored through their music. In having this artistic platform, they incorporate their beautiful and native tongue recognizing the importance of its history and existence. From a Spanish pronunciation in lyrics, to the energies and attitudes, their Latino-ness holds great emphasis. When asked how crucial the use of Spanish and Latinx identity is in their work (i.e. Veneno, Solita Soledad), they described it being like a Mariachi song where the stories behind it are incredibly similar; “it is [all] like home.” Formulating lyrics is all a process of the moment, they feel their words and energies around them. Being brothers who work together allows them to enjoy each other’s presence more. They cherish their time together and regardless of having arguments and disagreements, just as siblings do, they return to one another by creating their music and naturally find a way to piece their many complex identities in one musical platform. Through their music, they hope to reach a greater audience in raising social consciousness by inspiring other local artists to pursue and accomplish their own dreams. They want to be what local artist and community organizer Rebel Betty is to them; an inspiration and a symbol ode determination and resistance. It is amazing that from working in their basement, creating music and lyrics that started as arbitrary words, the Avantist brothers will now be receiving the Revueltas Award. Being an award named after a critically acclaimed and creative family of writers, poets, actors, and musicians, the Arias brothers express their excitement in receiving their first award for the work, activism, and and social justice aspect of their work. As they glance at the future, they hope to continue organizing, lifting each other, and ensuring their music embodies their many identities. They hope to continue composing this “mentality and lifestyle,” as a reflection of perseverance and the power to move forward.
Understanding that they have a responsibility to shed light on the struggles of people of color, they say they will “use whatever platform people want them to use to continue [these] conversations” and making a difference. To the general public, they encourage us to “continue being genuine as genuine people cannot be ignored.” To be loud and take up space, to not be apologetic but to honor and embrace who you are. This gratitude derives from understanding that there is a “deep lineage in history and that our Latino-ness has been a pot of creation and inspiration”. To our uprising youth, they share this Golden life lesson: “They should embrace what they were brought up with… Never see their Latino-ness as a negative, always view it as a positive”. As true Chicagoans, the Arias brothers value the humbleness and pureness of those in their city and it is individuals like them that bring us back to unique aspects of who we are. We hold and raise one another and together, move upward as a familia. The Avantist brothers remind us to always remain humble and to embrace our history, our culture, and ourselves. Whether they wear their Chicago Bulls jersey during the Chibration video series, these Chicagoans are proud to receive this award.
My name is Michelle Ramírez and I am a recent DePaul University Alumni. Focusing my studies on Latin American and Latinx Studies has been a healing and nurturing experience as it brings forth the many beautiful souls within our Latinx community. It has created an environment I am working to replicate in my own Cicero community. Special thanks to Michelle Velazquez and Profesor Juan Mora-Torres for being more than familia; especially when it came to surviving the struggles of first generation students within academia.