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Java.Sept.2017-1

34 JAVA MAGAZINE LAS

34 JAVA MAGAZINE LAS CHOLLAS PELIGROSAS Bringing Change Through Music BY TOM REARDON

Las Chollas Peligrosas are ready to change the world. Perhaps it will be one beautiful song at a time, or it may be due to a persistent effort to be part of the positive change this weary world needs. But make no mistake about it, Las Chollas Peligrosas exists because we need them, and their time is now. The six talented individuals who make up Las Chollas Peligrosas (which Google Translate says means “The Dangerous Chollas”) are all female and all committed to the cause of creating beautiful music while getting involved in making the world a more positive place. Andria Bunnell, who is also a member of the wildly popular Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra (PAO), adds vocals and percussion to the mix. She wants one thing to be perfectly clear: “Some people are supposed to be on the frontlines (of change) and some people are not, but we can utilize our fanbase to benefit the community. We want to partner up with the community to address issues through our music and want to have a wide variety of people involved. For us this isn’t just about a band. It is about a movement.” Las Chollas Peligrosas is about creating a vehicle where fans and the community can get involved in making their world a better place. There is also the benefit of hearing some truly great music, and that is never a bad thing. Bunnell is joined by Scottsdale’s Anameike Quinn on upright bass and guitar, Tempe’s Tatiana Crespo on accordion, Phoenix’s Melissa Medina on guitar and flute, Mesa’s Rachel Villa on guitar, and another Phoenician, Marian Heinekken, on violin and percussion. Each of the women in Las Chollas Peligrosas also sings lead on at least two songs per set as they play more and more packed shows around town. The six women who make up the band are all avid supporters of local music, citing bands like Bunnell’s PAO, Snake!Snake!Snakes!, Jerusafunk, Playboy Manbaby and many others as influences. They enjoy playing places like the Crescent Ballroom (Phoenix), Shady Park (Tempe) and anywhere, really, where people want to sing along, dance and have a good time. We caught up with the band via email and phone as they prepared for a tribute to the late great Sharon Jones of the Dap Kings in August at Crescent Ballroom, and here is what they had to say: How did Las Chollas Peligrosas come about? Andria: I was talking to my friend Mike Logan, who helps to put on the Coronado Porch Concert Series in the Coronado neighborhood. I had mentioned that I missed singing in Spanish so I was putting a duo together with Melissa Medina, playing traditional Mexican songs. He was telling me that the next porch concert series was going to feature all women, so it seemed like our new thing could be a good fit. But as I thought about it, it just seemed like it would be so much cooler to add some additional instrumentation. There were several other ladies around town that I’d really wanted to work with, so I hit them all up. Everyone was totally into it from the jump. The thought was that we were only getting together for that one gig, but when we got into a room together and started playing, we were like, “Um, I think we just started a band.” It was magic. That just doesn’t happen very often. At first, we were just going to play some traditional Mexican music, but we realized that everyone in the band was a songwriter with incredible originals. So we thought, why not play a couple of each person’s originals and throw in a few covers? Amazingly, although our styles are all different, everyone’s songs just seem to flow and complement everyone else’s. Where was your first show and when was it? Andria: Our very first show was at The Lost Leaf. We had decided that it might be a good idea to do a show to get the bugs out before the main event—the porch concert series. At this point, we had no idea what the response was going to be, so we figured it would be an off-night show that would be super chill. Then we put up a Facebook page and got 500 likes in two days, and we were floored. We realized then that this thing might start taking off faster than we anticipated. That night at The Lost Leaf ended up being packed, and we were overwhelmed by the response. Because of that night we were asked to play our second show at Viva Phoenix two nights later—all of this before the show that we were originally getting together for. JAVA 35 MAGAZINE

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