Ceci Bastida: Latin Alternative Rockera

Ceci Bastida joined her first band, Tijuana NO at age 15 as lead vocalist, keyboardist and songwriter and became one of the first women to rise in the ranks of Latin rock. One of Mexico’s most important ska-punk bands of the 1990s, Tijuana NO performed together for 12 years and recorded three albums NO, Transgresores de la Ley, and Contra-Revolucion Avenue.

Since 2000, you can find Ceci playing keyboard and singing back up vocals to internationally known recording artist Julieta Venegas. Now going solo, Ceci’s passionate, hypnotic tunes have been heard on the new MTV TR3S show Indie 101, and through thousands of hits on www.myspace.com/cecibastida.

Ceci Basitda
Latinitas recently met up with Ms. Bastida through Skype at a recent Spring Break Camp. Campers asked her a number of questions and here’s what they found.

Where were you born and where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico.

When can you first remember wanting to do music?

I think I realized that I wanted to work in music when I was about 15 years old. Before then I used to play piano at home and the thought of me playing in a band and writing songs didn’t cross my mind.

Who are your female influences in music? male?

I don’t think I have specific female artists that I think have influenced me. I know I listened to Bjork when I was younger, Pauline Black from The Selecter was amazing, I loved the power in her voice and how rhythmic it was. I also loved Annabella Lwin from Bow Wow Wow.

I listened to The Clash a lot when I was growing up. I also loved Bob Marley, David Bowie, The Specials. This is all music that I listened to when I was a teenager and a lot of these artists made me wanna become a musician.

Describe one of your favorite songs?

this is a tough one… There are so many songs out there that I love.

What instruments do you play?

I play piano and melodica (which has keys like a piano so I guess it might not count).

How has it been going solo these past few years?

It’s been amazing. I’ve had a lot of fun and I also feel that I’ve learned a lot. Guiding a band is not an easy thing to do. Before, when I was playing with Julieta Venegas I didn’t have to do much except play and rehearse. Now that I’m doing this on my own, there are so many things I need to take care of and it can be difficult at times.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Writing the songs is fun but it can also be torture. When everything flows I’m in the best mood. When things don’t, I start doubting myself way too much.
I also would love to play in Mexico and Latin America and it’s difficult when you don’t have much of a a budget for it. I hope I’m able to go at some point this year.

How do you feel the music industry receives women?

I’ve never had issues with label guys telling me what to do or not to do. But I also know that a lot of them compare women too much. They think that if one sings and writes her own music, she probably sounds like another girl that writes and sings her own music. Even if the music is completely different. I believe that sort of thing happens more with women than it does with men.

Who has been your most exciting celebrity meeting/collaboration in music?

When I was younger and I was playing with my old band Tijuana No, we worked on several occasions with Manu Chao. I always thought he was amazing and loved that we got to work together. I also worked with Kim Deal from The Breeders and I absolutely loved her. She’s an amazing singer and a really cool person.

What do you recommend to our young Latinitas who are interested in pursuing a career in music?

I think that if you are passionate about something you should always pursuit it. Be always honest with yourself and do it because you love it.

To listen to music from Ceci Bastida go to: http://www.myspace.com/cecibastida

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