Quetzal Flores

photo of Quetzal Flores by Michael G. Stewart

Quetzal Flores is a Chican@ musician, producer and cultural strategist/organizer raised in East Los Angeles. He is the founder and musical director of the Grammy Award winning Chican@ band, Quetzal.  From the experiences generated through his family, mentors and the Chican@ arts&cultural community he has participated in multiple moments of radical transformation.  In 1997 he co-organized the historic Encuentro Cultural Chican@/Indigena Por La Humanidad en Contra del Neoliberalismo, a week long dialogue/retreat in the mountains of Chiapas, Mexico. The Encuentro gathered 100 arts&culture practitioners from East Los Angeles and Mayan Zapatistas that developed multiple outward facing emancipatory cultural methodologies with tangible touchdowns into community practice. In 2000 Quetzal was part of a group of artists from East LA who built important transnational and trans local relationships with fandango communities in Veracruz.  Through these relationships an important network was formed that has given way to a current thriving national system of fandango practitioners in the US.  In 2009 Quetzal co-founded the Seattle Fandango Project (SFP), a participatory music and dance community instrumental in providing an intergenerational space for people of color throughout Seattle.  In 2012, he co-founded FandangObon, a yearly event that brings Los Angeles Chican@, Japanese and African American communities together around participatory music and dance practices.  Since 2012 Quetzal has served as a Program Manager for the Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA) designing and implementing culturally sustainable health equity work in Boyle Heights as well as in prisons across the state.  As a producer, Quetzal has contributed over 100 recordings with artists such as; Son de Madera, Jose Luis Orozco, Nobuko Miyamoto, B-Side Players, Alice Bag, Maya Jupiter, Aloe Blacc and Susana Baca.  From 2013 to 2019 he served as a board member for the Smithsonian Folkways Recorders.  From 2016 to 2020 he worked as the Director of Cultural Vitality for the East LA Community Corporation. Currently, Quetzal is the co-founder and Director of Membership and Wellness for the Community Power Collective(CPC), overseeing internal and external facing cultural processes to build power with low-income tenants and workers through transformative, cross-sectoral organizing.