The Firefighter's Hat

The Firefighter's Hat

Yolanda Cardenas reflects on growing up in Back of the Yards, a field trip to the neighborhood firehouse, and a missed opportunity for her father.

Yolanda Cardenas with her father, Felipe Cardenas in 1976.


The Firefighter’s Hat by Yolanda Cardenas 7:57

“Chicago missed out on an exceptional firefighter but I never missed out on an exceptional father.”


Ana Castillo: Fueling a literary tradition

Ana Castillo: Fueling a literary tradition

Chicana writer Ana Castillo wants to fuel the tradition of reading and writing in the Latino community, through the memoir writing workshops she teaches. Ana says she hopes that she can help establish posterity of culture and most importantly the family stories of the participants. Literature, Ana reminds us, comes from all walks of life–writing is not just for the privileged. Our Proyecto Latina contributor, Yolanda Cardenas also asks about spirituality’s place in writing, listen to their complete conversation below.

Ana Castillo: Spirituality’s place in writing? (4:17)


Ana Castillo: Can you teach someone to write? (5:48)




Ana Castillo’s memoir writing workshops are cross-cultural and generational and open to everyone over 18 years-old. Details available here.

Interview by Yolanda Cardenas

Alla-licious, Latino indie/rock never sounded so good

Alla-licious, Latino indie/rock never sounded so good

Proyecto Latina is a big fan of the Chicago based group Alla. And if you are familiar with their music and you ever tune into our Sunday afternoon show you will know that our show intro features a snippet of one of Alla’s songs from their first CD Es Tiempo.

Proyecto Latina’s music director, Yolanda Cardenas sat down with Alla earlier this month to talk about their music and uncovered some interesting stuff about the intensity and drive that moves them. The Mexican-American band and it’s unconventional and sophisticated sound is formed by: Lupe Martinez (vocalist/guitarist) and the Ledezma brothers, Jorge (producer/guitarist) and Angel (drums). Allá’s debut album” Es Tiempo “ was produced by Jorge Ledezma over a four-year period, using no less than 8 studios. Most recently they released Digs, a new mini-album where the band pays tribute to a diverse list of artist and songs that helped bring their unique musical vision into focus.

Catch Alla with us this Saturday, May 16th, they will be performing an acoustic set at the National Museum of Mexican Art as part of the Sor Juana festival and the Letras, Palabras y Cantos event. Details below.

Part I: Alla, 5:56

Part II: Alla, 16:04

Part III: Alla, 12:39

Interview by Yolanda Cardenas

Discover Alla’s sound here.

Luna Blues Machine: Two sisters, one cd & lots of livin' & learnin'

Luna Blues Machine: Two sisters, one cd & lots of livin' & learnin'

The multi-talented Cervantes sisters have roots in Back of the Yards and Chicago’s Southside but their music casts a much wider net and draws inspiration from a very diverse mix of music genres.

The Luna Blues Machine fuses acoustic hip-hop with soul, folk, latin and any other genre that moves them. Fronted by sisters Belinda and Maritza Cervantes (mandolin and guitar), LBM stands out as one of the most experimental acoustic music acts working in Chicago today. With the accompaniment of bass and drums, their feel-good rhythms, engaging stories, tight harmonies and charismatic hooks will make you want to getcha self a little luna love.

Part I: Luna Blues Machine, 8:21

Part II: Luna Blues Machine, 8:17

Part III: Luna Blues Machine, 5:14

Catch The Luna Blues Machine, this Thursday, April 30th @ 10pm @ Silvie’s Lounge, 1902 W. Irving Park Road. $5 cover. Say you’re there to see LBM. You can learn more about them and their new cd at www.thelunabluesmachine.com

Interview by Yolanda Cardenas