Reviewed by Jorge Antonio Vallejos
Meeting Sandra Alland and Y. Josephine, Zorras, at Toronto Women’s Bookstore this past weekend was amazing. Smiles and hugs came at me as I walked in the place.
Good, fun, loud laughter.
We moved into action fast as Zorras were to perform music from their CD We Apologise For Any Inconvenience within the hour. Chairs and tables were moved as I set up my camera and we started to record. Sitting side by side, Sandra on a chair and Y. on her box-drum, Sandra starts the poetry to song:
“I didn’t want to ruin
burst from my lips
like, yes, gunfire.”
After Sandra says “Palestine” you hear a big gulp come from Y.’s throat.
Drum beats, gulps, and alliteration make up the song After Going Out. It’s a reflection on the many parties disrupted by “the P word”. You know the word, the one that fence sitters run from. The word that had my brother sit me down one day and say:
“Jorge, I love you. I don’t want you to ruin your future by talking about that conflict. Those people have a lot of power and can ruin your life.”
It doesn’t look like Sandra and Y. have been overcome by it.
Not only do they talk about Palestine in their song After Going Out they sing:
“Ire. Ire. Ire. Ire. I I I I I I I I I I I I
didn’t want another
Iraq Iran Afghanistan Ireland
Iraq Iran Afghanistan Ireland”
Sandra and Y. sing the chorus alongside Y.’s drum beat. They make connections with other lands that have been, or are being, colonized.
They end with a subject no one wants to talk about, a colony that is thought of as a country. Sandra whispers:
CA NA DA.”
Yes, Ipperwash, one of Canada’s dirty little secrets. As is Davis Inlet, the place Canada let South Africa study for two years before they instituted Apartheid; but I’m getting off track here.
Back to the Zorras.
Not shying away from controversy, Zorras explore suicide in five parts via their short poems In The Details. Suicide is a topic on my mind as I’ve seen two confirmed suicides, possibly three, happen in one month this past summer. Sandra opens herself up to her audience by admitting her own considerations on suicide as well as exploring the topic in whole. She ends “In The Details” in a very sad way:
“My friend was sad and considered suicide.
I didn’t receive a phone call.”
Sadly, to many, it’s not just a consideration.
The exploration continues in After the Phone Call. One word for 1:47s describes the feeling Sandra experiences and survives after hearing the news:
It is whispered, whimpered, yelled.
Zorras sing their twelve tracks in Spanish, English, emotion (“ouch”), gulps, and yells.
Poems, a drum, and a guitar are there vehicle, heart is their gasoline, and change is their destination.
There are no apologies, nor should their be.
Check out their shows, invite them to your town, and play their CD at a gathering, they might just ruin your night.
Tune in to BlackCoffeePoet.com September 28, 2011 for an inclusive interview with Zorras.