The crowd at the Getty Museum in LA was electric. Everyone anxiously awaited the performance by San Cha, the infamous latinx musician who has seamlessly bridged the gap between traditional Mexican folk music and contemporary queer culture. The stage was set, but as the music began, it remained empty.
From behind the crowd a procession began. San Cha emerged in an elegant gown adorned with gems and flowers. Her band spread out through the crowd strumming their guitars and singing a classic Bolero tune. Soon, a well dressed cowboy appeared and began courting San Cha. She sang in response, confessing her love through song. This was not a normal concert, this was a Telenovela soap opera being played out for us all. It was a cinematic expression of love, art, and culture, expressed in a way that only San Cha could manifest.
Madre had the pleasure of speaking to San Cha after her stunning performance at the Getty. Here is a bit of what we talked about:
Follow San Cha here.
Seeing the performance at the Getty was so much more than a band playing music… it was like a telenovela! How do you use theatre and storytelling in your performance?
I am the most connected to music when I can follow a story and have a character. I love playing with emotional gestures and taking people on a ride or on a journey during a performance. I’ve learned a lot from my early days in the San Francisco drag scene, and seen how they can captivate an entire room with their presence and theatrics. The Telenovela blends my worlds: drag, music, art, punk, traditional Mexican family drama and storytelling.
Your style and sound has really changed and evolved over the years, how important is it for an artist to be able to change?
Yes it’s definitely important for an artist to change and evolve just as anyone else. I love to learn different ways of creating and learning different sounds that represent different sides of me. I’m a very complex person that hates anything stagnant and monotonous. I have so many different tastes that fulfill certain aspects of me and I pull from so many references to create something I’ve been longing to hear.
You present very classic sounds and traditions with your music, but with a beautiful latin queer focus. Do you feel like you are bridging two very different audiences?
I’ve often thought that I could not be myself with my parents/family or show them the real me. For fear that they would tell me to put that all aside to please them. But recently I have been bridging these two very distinct worlds of mine because I’m inspired by my friends here in LA that didn’t leave their parents until their mid to late twenties, who accidentally or on purpose showed their families exactly who they are and I’ve seen the joy that queer people bring to their straight blood family counterparts, and I saw that these two audiences could be so much closer than I ever imagined.
Why do you create art?
I almost feel like music and art chose me, and not the other way around. I’ve kept going despite not having stable housing, money or food and against everyone’s will, but I will say that the most free I have ever felt is singing at the top of my lungs and dancing like no one’s looking.
If you could share a glass of mezcal with someone (alive or dead) who would it be and why?
Chavela Vargas, sounds like we’d drink each other under the table while singing at full volume all night. Sounds like an absolute dream.