Entertainment

La Bruja Drops Hispanic Poetry and Hip-Hop on University

La Bruja Hispanic PoetryThe stage was set with one stool, one music stand, and one microphone. On a small table sat one laptop and one water bottle.

Performing for students and professors at a packed Lauren K. Woods Theatre, La Bruja brought her one-woman show to the University last Thursday, September 29 in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Sponsored by the Office of Affirmative Action & Human Relations, the Office of Student Activities & Student Center Operations, and along with the University Library, La Bruja’s performance was a mix of comedy, slam/spoken word poetry, and songs from her multiple albums that infused hip-hop with Latin roots.

Nicole Martinez, the Freshmen Coordinator/Counselor for the University’s Educational Opportunity Fund Program, said La Bruja had a “great reception last year, so we brought her back,” as many students were left standing at the end of last year’s performance.

La Bruja was born Caridad De La Luz, which translates to “Charity of the Light.” “My parents were not playing around when they made me,” she said about her name. She chose the name La Bruja, or “The Good Witch” a superhero name, when considering W.W.M.D. (What Would Madonna Do?), until she asked herself “No, what would I do?”

La Bruja was raised in Bronx, New York, better known as “Boogey-down Bronx” or “Nuyorican” to its Puerto Rican citizens. She got her start “holding open mics” at her house at the age of five with her family as her audience. Her inspiration came from her great grandmother, who couldn’t read or write, “but had a memory of gold,” La Bruja said.

The first song she performed was “For Witch It Stands,” the title track off her latest album. It highlighted her upbringing as a Puerto Rican New Yorker while pursuing a career as a poet and Latin hip-hop artist.

In between her verses that infused poetry and rap, she belted out during the choruses in Spanish, showcasing her many skills as an artist. La Bruja said she likes to “belt a tune every once and awhile.”

La Bruja’s poetry ranged from gut busting humor with haiku’s about love and bathing, poetry skits of various characters one would find in the “Boogey-down Bronx” like a pretty senorita or a wannabe rapper. “New York City will inspire a lot of things,” La Bruja said while wandering the open stage.

While a lot of her performance left the audience gasping for air in between laughs, La Bruja was quick to turn to the dark side of life. She recited her poem, “Lola,” a story of a drug addicted woman that sells her body to get drugs, which got her on HBO’s “Def Jam Poetry” in 2002.

Although “Lola” got La Bruja on “Def Jam Poetry,” her poem about the 9/11 tragedy titled “WTC” was what made a mark on the poetry scene and at the University event. “You gotta go dark sometimes. That’s where the truth is,” La Bruja said.

La Bruja kept the remainder of the show light on the topics, highlighting aspects of being raised in a Hispanic/Latino household, by performing more songs from her various albums which can be found on LaBrujaMusic.com.

Her songs “Keep It Movin’ Like” and “Nuyorico” off her album Brujalicious dived into the Puerto Rican culture while growing up in South Bronx.

An audience favorite was her rendition of Rihanna’s “Umbrella” which described Puerto Rican’s love for pork and pigs feet in a very humorous way, and got the audience to sing the chorus along with her (look it up on YouTube).

This was sophomore Michael Rosas’s second time seeing La Bruja perform, who said it was “still fresh.” Being from Ecuador, Rosas “sometimes laughed at parts” that related to his upbringing. “It’s not meant to be an inside joke, but that’s what it feels like,” he said.

Martinez added that “the program is light and students like the diverse events. Students get talked to and here they can interact and have fun.”

La Bruja said she liked this performance better, because “I didn’t have a set structure. Last time I had an agenda. I just felt the energy and went with it, and I liked it so much better.”

Overall, La Bruja had plenty of messages to spread in her performance such as “be true to yourself,” “Don’t let people label you,” “Be honest,” “Keep it real,” and “Let love be your religion.”

PHOTO COURTESY of pepatian.org