The Austin Chronicle

Live Shots

Reviewed by Thomas Fawcett, February 22, 2008, Music

Krudas Cubensi

Victory Grill, Feb. 16

"¡Que viva Cuba!" The Cuban flag hung above the well-worn stage at a capacity Victory Grill Saturday night as local musicians donated their talents to raise money for ArtReach's community music and youth mural-painting programs. In a biting parody of Cuban salseras like La Lupe and Celia Cruz, Wanda Krudas of local trio Krudas Cubensi shelved her hardcore feminist hip-hop persona to don a showgirl dress, neon-pink wig, and high heels. Equal parts musical performance and Spanglish comedy routine, she belted out tunes like "La Negra Tiene Tumbao" and pulled flasks and phones from her bosom as if it were a junk drawer. Then, she lost the outfit, and Krudas Cubensi launched an all-out verbal assault on the patriarchy, spitting rugged rhymes over banging Latin-tinged beats. The femcees celebrated Cuba, womanhood, and Afrocentricity, skewering Western standards of beauty with call-and-response choruses like, "La gorda llegó; la gorda soy yo!" ("The fat lady has arrived; I am the fat lady!"). Krudas proved they're not only the best black, radical, Cuban, lesbian, feminist, bilingual hip-hop crew in Austin but among the best hip-hop crews in Austin period. Local MCs beware: Step to Krudas, and get knocked the hell out. Carnival time followed as Buscando el Monte, a ninepiece ensemble featuring three horns and a small army of percussionists, pounded out a frenetic Afro-Cuban comparsa as enormous paper puppets paraded through the crowd.

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