Arts in Context: Somos Krudas

AIC brings us a look at the life and work of hip-hop duo Krudas Cubensi

Austin gets a bit of Cuban flavor in "Somos Krudas,” Arts in Context’s latest episode, which shines a spotlight on Austin-based, Cuban­-raised hip-­hop duo Krudas Cubensi.

Odaymara Cuesta and Olivia Prendes of Krudas Cubensi (Courtesy of KLRU)

Arts in Context is KLRU's Emmy award-­winning documentary series that explores the condition of living and working as an artist. The show spotlights many forms of art, from visual arts to dance and music.

Odaymara Cuesta and Olivia Prendes are both vegan ­lesbian­ feminists from Cuba who rap with an incredible sense of consciousness about politics, sexuality, and breaking the patriarchy. The rhythm is fast and classically Afro-­Cuban, while the elements of hip-hop remain strong. Cuesta and Prendes drip with Cuban pride, but are aware of the problems that exist in their country and how they compare to the problems of America.

“I think our music reflects what we are. It is autobiographical music,” says Odaymara Cuesta in the episode. “It’s music of resistance, of the struggle, of bringing people together. It’s music of healing, it’s medicine for the people and for ourselves.”

Bird's-eye view of a street in Havana, Cuba (Courtesy of KLRU)

In the episode, we take a colorful and intimate visit to Cuesta and Prendes’ homes in Havana and get to meet their mothers. Havana is bursting at the seams with live music and dancing in the street, partially as a means to cope with hardship, but mostly as a way to express their Cuban culture and pride.

“We are people that came into life with a purpose; we came to fight, to make this world a better, more habitable world, a more positive world, a world with more color,” says Cuesta.

Live music and dance performance in the streets of Havana, Cuba (Courtesy of KLRU)

Somos Krudas is one of the last episodes that AIC’s producer, Mario Troncoso will be a part of, as he will be leaving the show at the end of the season. Troncoso is an Austin filmmaker whose 2010 short film “Clowns Never Lie” made it to the Cannes Film Festival in 2012. Troncoso has several projects ahead of him, including three documentaries. Hello Stranger explores Latino culture and identity in the U.S., while Arcade Babylon concerns the global world of game developers. His third project, with the working title of Sonoro, Troncoso describes it as "a music series similar to Arts in Context."

Arts in Context: "Somos Krudas" premieres Thursday, June 25, on KLRU and will be available on the PBS app the following day.

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Cuba, Austin, Somos Krudas, Arts in Context, Krudas Cubensi, hiphop, LGBTQ, feminist

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