Between 2008 and 2012, I produced works about the pains and pleasures of Caribbean diaspora, as well as colonization and assimilation through the persona of ChuCha Santamaria, a mutable and omnipresent figure based on various stereotypes of the pan-"Latin"/ Caribbean performer (from Carmen Miranda to Olga Tañon to Celia Cruz to XuXa, where the name partially stems from).
Stemming from the idea that Caribbean immigrants before me found shelter for their at times distressing and difficult situation in the glittery and seemingly-plastic folds of popular dance music I, in collaboration with partner and fellow artist, Matthew Gonzalez Kirkland,created an eponymous concept album in an attempts to participate in that tradition. The content of ChuCha Santamaria y Usted ranges from abstract impressions of my personal experience of 'coming to America' to engaging with the history of Caribbean colonization from 1492 (with the “discovery” of my native Puerto Rico by Christopher Colombus) to today. Songs from the album (accompanied by music videos) are housed in the installation,Baby, Remember My Name which also serves as the home of heavily manipulated family photographs, paintings, and other ephemera typically associated with the stereotypic Caribbean performer who in this project serves as a stand in for the multifaceted and multiply-marginalized identity placed on the Caribbean immigrant. This space served as the stage for the performance of the album in its entirety, Under The Influence of Love.
I envision my current performance work as happening after a split happens to ChuCha in which she simultaneously becomes the nameless, La Propheta [sic], living 1000 years in the future and the the music making entity, XUXA SANTAMARIA, which scores all of my performances. XUXA SANTAMARIA continues to create music based performances, most recently with the project, BILLIONAIR RAINBOW and Chancletas D' Oro
Vinyl Record by Young Cubs, click HERE to purchase.
(also available through itunes)
ChuCha Santamaria Y Usted LP