Q&A: Mexican Band Pistolera Makes Music for Kids of All Ages

Brooklyn–based quartet Pistolera blends indie pop and ranchera to create socially conscious songs that deal with life outside of Mexico. Singer and guitarist Sandra Lilia Velasquez tackles immigrant rights, racism, feminism and other pressing issues with equal fervor. And now, as a new mother, she’s ready to spread positive messages to the kiddies via the band’s side-project Moona Luna. I spoke to Velasquez recently and here’s what she had to say:

What can you tell me about the band's upcoming albums?

2010 is going to be a busy year for Pistolera. We will be releasing a concept album called El Desierto y La Ciudad. As you know, I live in New York. The city is filled with non-stop energy, which I love. But sometimes I need to get away and experience total silence and space. Last year I had a real craving for the openness and peacefulness of the desert. I took a series of trips and was really inspired by the open landscapes and sky. I traveled through the desert of Baja California, Arizona, and the Mojave Desert of California. The album is about both places—NYC and the desert—and how they are both magical in their own ways.

What’s going on with Moona Luna?

We are also really excited about our new side-project Moona Luna, the first female-led bilingual family band! We will be releasing a bilingual family friendly album for children and their parents. There is no release date set yet for either album, so stay tuned for updates via the news section at pistolera.net.

What are some of the positive messages the band wants to send out to children?

In sticking true to how I write for Pistolera, the songs of Moona Luna will be about themes that are relevant to the lives of children and their parents—just like in Pistolera, where some songs have strong messages and others are just about having fun. Now that I am a parent, I can say that raising a child is the most rewarding thing, but also very exhausting! It's also challenging being a kid and learning how to do everything for the first time.

I like the title of the song “We All Have to Work”—what’s the lesson there?

The song "Hay Que Trabajar/We All Have to Work" is inspired by the reality that everyday I have to explain to my two-year-old why I am leaving the house. Even though she doesn't quite understand what having a job is, she understands that Mama y Papa have to go there everyday. The songs talk about how much more we enjoy our free time after we've worked all day. We also recorded a cumbia version of the classic Latin-American folk song "De Colores/All The Colors."

What are you looking forward to this year?

We are looking forward to recording and releasing the two albums and having our music reach a whole new demographic. We play a lot of festivals that are all ages and we've always had little kids jumping up and down in the front. It is exciting to be able to give them songs that pertain to their life and their parents, too!

Catch Pistolera this Friday at the Here Comes Trouble showcase at the 92nd Street Y in New York.