Latinx Heritage Month: Peanut Butter & Jam

Meet Peanut Butter & Jam, an all Latinx band in Richmond, Virginia. Read about their majors, their Latinx heritage and how they are influenced by it, and how they feel about being one of the few ALL Latinx bands in Richmond, VA. 

Names and majors: 

Diego Azuga; Biology

Ivan A. Orbegoso; Biology & Environmental Studies

Diego A. Orbegoso; Philosophy of Law & Political Science

How does your Latinx heritage influence your music? 

Azuga: My father is Bolivian, my mother is Peruvian, so I have grown up with a strong cultural heritage however my capabilities in Spanish are limited, though I would like to excel in that aspect. From the rhythmical and cultural facets of my cultural music, it has influenced how I perceive music and has allowed me to create my own rendition of what I believe is an amalgam of many genres. 

I. Orbegoso: Being born in Peru, all I listened to in my childhood and a fraction of my adolescence was traditional Peruvian music as well as the traditional music of neighboring countries such as Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, and Bolivia. 

D. Orbegoso: I did not show much interest in traditional Andean and Peruvian music growing up, it was not until we migrated that started to miss the sounds of my people. After deconstructing the “American” or “western” me that was created after assimilating, I had rediscovered my passion for Latin music. It is interwoven into every note that I play, every note that I sing, and every sentiment I write about. 

How do you think you can influence others? 

Azuga: Every brown child wants to see someone who looks like them perform music that a lot of people love, I want to be part of that force that allows to create an empowering space for musicians of color. 

I. Orbegoso: We welcome anybody to jam out with us, always. In fact, whenever we meet someone new we typically ask if they play any instruments and if they would like to make some noise. Then we ask if they dance, perhaps salsa. 

D. Orbegoso: We hope that we can empower all people of color, just as we have met remarkable musicians of color that have inspired us, to be confident in their abilities and to never compare themselves to their white counterparts. Music is a conglomerate of sounds, or vibrations, something that humans beings discovered and did not create. It is not subject to the human error of corruption, and it is a power that transcends time and civilizations. Growing up I was always afraid and felt inferior to musicians that were American. Not anymore.

How do you all feel about being one of the few ALL Latinx jam group in RVA? 

 D. Orbegoso: After attending many house shows, local concerts, and other projects that were predominantly white and non-latinx, we always felt hesitant in being the participants in these spaces. In particular, the audience is typically all white, which we associate with unfamiliarity similar to that of the sentiments being brown in an all-white classroom in elementary school.  Who knows, if they were to hear traditional music or even certain aspects of Andean music infused with modern funk and soul music, they may be a bit skeptical. Our project does not recognize this because we flourish in humility. We make musical sounds, something we hold very dear, to recognize the dilemmas of contemporary discourse and to be supplementary in the force that seeks to recognize local racism within the music movements and the accessibility to the Latinx communities that seem to be relegated to salsa nights at local restaurants and small events that celebrate them and tokenize our cultures with food. We want live music; we want our music of our ancestors to live through us. 

 

Follow them on Instagram at @peanutbutterandjam.rva for updates on their upcoming shows this October and more!

 

Picture Credits: @diegomyson, Instagram. @peanutbutterandjam.rva Instagram