KCRW’s Freeform Fridays features mixes from special guests and KCRW DJs. This week, we welcome California-based Mexican singer-songwriter Ceci Bastida. She offers up a set that is nothing short of powerful, with selections and introspection, as she amplifies the Black Lives Matter movement through songs that have shaped her as a person and artist.
We asked her a few questions in anticipation of her set. Read on for the theme of her playlist, the story behind her connection to English ska revival band The Specials, and love of rap music.
Ceci on reflecting the Black Lives Matter movement through her mix:
I wanted to not only play music that I love, but music that talks about important and relevant issues that we are going through right now. Paying tribute to all the people around the world who fight every day for justice.
Seeing the whole country, and most of the world, come out and demand justice is very inspiring. It’s been a long time coming and I feel proud that so many people have come together in an effort to try to end systemic racism.
There are some songs that are inspired by social justice issues but also songs that have musically shaped me. Songs that I listened to and loved since I was a teenager (“Ghost Town” by The Specials and “Dress” by PJ Harvey are good examples of that) but also new songs from artists that I love and admire.
“Los Caminos de la Vida” — which is the song that I use as the intro to the show — is one that seemed to be always playing whenever I took the bus while I was living in Mexico city.
I was also interested in sharing music by artists that I have collaborated with — Tamer Nafar, for example, is a pioneer of Palestinian hip-hop. He is such a talented guy, smart, creative, political but also has a great sense of humor.
Ceci on The Specials:
The Specials were one of the bands that I listened to a lot when I was a teenager. They were a huge influence for me, especially during the years that I played with “Tijuana No.” I wanted to sound like them, write songs like they did, and have the powerful onstage energy they had. A few years back, I had the privilege of opening for The Selecter, in a sort of new version of the band which included a couple of members from The Specials and it was an incredibly fun night.
Ceci loves rap music:
I really love Little Simz, I think she’s an incredible rapper. She has an amazing flow and her lyrics and music are powerful. You can’t help but move when her music is playing. Tamer’s [Nafer] song is also super energetic and fun. He is also a great rapper and really smart.
Ceci on adding ‘a little bit of everything’ to the mix:
The playlist is very eclectic, so I think it has a little bit of everything. You might listen to the Fiona Apple track — which is beautiful and sort of mellow — and focus on her lyrics which are so smart and thoughtful. The song “René” by Residente is very introspective, autobiographical. He’s always been such a talented lyricist but this song which deals with so much loss and pain might be one of his best yet. The music is super minimal and very beautiful too. Run The Jewels’ song is so powerful and I felt like I needed to play it, especially right now. Julieta Venegas’ song “Mujeres” was inspired by a very important and much needed feminist movement in Mexico, a country that sees an average of 10 women murdered every day. Women are uniting, taking to the streets and saying “enough”.