LESSpeak | Sandra María Esteves: Making Magic at the New Rican Village

This is a guest post contributed by the phenomenal poet & artist Sandra Maria Esteves, in anticipation of The New Rican Spirit this Saturday, November 7th, at the LES Girls Club. 


Making Magic At the New Rican Village

The era of the New Rican Village was a deeply rooted, multi-layered, cultural
renaissance that blossomed into my life during the age of awakening. As a single mom,
college student, art major and newly emerging poet, the New Rican Village fueled and
nurtured a dynamic birthing in my artist soul and in the wellbeing of our collective
community. Eddie Figueroa was the captain who steered the vessel charting our journey
where every Thursday musicians arrived to jam. Like a family of creative folk we interacted
in political, spiritual and cultural affinity with each other. We bonded organically during a
time before personal computers, cell phones and social media. As inspired wordsmiths,
music makers, visionary painters, spirit healers, performance artists and cultural workers,
we explored our history, shared elaborate discussions, collaborated spontaneously, made
mistakes, taught each other and grew. Empowered by art that reached beyond the
marketed mainstream, we broke through space into the mystical passage where spirit
transcends in the life-affirming power zone of creativity, alchemy and love.

Sandra María Esteves,
November 1, 2015


Black Notes and “You Do Something To Me” 

                     for Gerry Gonzalez and The Fort Apache Band

Jazz–jazzy jass juice,
just so smooth,
so be-bop samba blue to sweet bump black.
So slip slide back to mama black
to mamaland base black.
Don’t matter could be bronx born basic street black.
Or white ivory piano coast negro dunes bembé black.
Mezclando manos in polyrhythm sync to fingers,
to keys, to valves, to strings, to sticks,
to bells, to skins, to YEAH black.
Bringin’ it home black.
The bad Fort Apache tan olive brown beat black.
Bringin’ it all the way up fast black.
Flyin’ across Miles ‘n Sony,
across John, Rhasaan and Monk’s ’81;
across Dizzy blue conga Gerry horn,
‘n básico Andy mo-jo black.
Across Nicky’s campana timbaleando tumbao black.
‘n Dalto’s multi-octave chords with all those keys black.
Those multifarious dimensional openings
playin’ loud-soft-hard-cold-slow-’n-suavecito black.
Playin’it runnin’-jumpin’-cookin’-greasin’-’n-smokin’ black.
Playin’ it mellow, yeah mellow,
makin’ it mean somethin’ black.
Makin’ it move, rockin’ round black.
Walk with it, talk with it, wake the dead with it black.
Turnin’ it out, touchin’ the sky with it black.
Shakin’ it suave, shakin’ it loose,
shakin’ it che-ché-que-re black.
Season it, sugar it, lingerin’, lullaby black.
Livin’it, ALIVE BLACK!
Always lovin’ it-Yeah!

How I love your sweet soul sounds.
how I love how you love me.
Yeah, how I love that deep black thang

                             …“You do so well”…

©1990 Sandra María Esteves, Bluestown Mockingbird Mambo

The New Rican Spirit: New Rican Village Alumni Reunion, Round-Table and Reception (celebrating the Young Lords cultural legacy to the Lower East Side) organized by The Loisaida Inc happens this Saturday, Nov 7, at the LES Girls Club, from 4PM – 8PM. This event is FREE and open to the public; please RSVP here

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