Tijuana-born singer and songwriter Ceci Bastida wrote her latest album, La edad de la violencia, The Age of Violence, while she was pregnant.
“I think I got really obsessed with what was happening around the world and I started thinking that we’re living in the most violent era ever — not that that’s necessarily true but I just couldn’t help feeling that way,” she says.
As a teenager growing up in Tijuana in the 90s, Bastida played in the iconic band Tijuana No!, a pioneering punk rock band in Mexico. Back then, she accompanied the now award-winning singer Julieta Venegas and the rest of the band in tunes rich with lyrics about government corruption, immigration, racism and other social issues affecting Mexico and the United States.
Fast forward to 2014 and Bastida’s lyrics are a lot less direct. Take the song Una vez más, One more time, where she sings, “if you dare insult me once more, you’ll see how with this I’m going to get revenge.” It’s an upbeat song that could be interpreted in a myriad of ways, even as a break-up song. But it’s actually about gun violence; more specifically, school shootings.
Bastida says she doesn’t want to be “preachy” with her songs: “People will listen to songs and make them their own, in a way, and they’ll think about them the way they want to think about them and that’s OK by me.”
But if you watch the music video for Una vez más, her intentions for the song become more obvious:
Bastida’s feelings about living in “the most violent era ever” might not be too far from the truth, at least when it comes to gun violence in the US. According to recent research from the Harvard School of Public Health, mass shooting have become more frequent in the country.
The upbeat, poppy music in La edad de la violencia works to balance the often dire topics she covers in her songs. “It’s more about talking about these issues, but realizing that there is also a lot of beauty and that we need to also focus on that,” she says.
In fact, the last song on her album is one hundred percent positive. It’s a song she wrote for her daughter. It’s called “Ven (Beautiful),” and it features her friend Julieta Venegas. “I wanted to end on a positive note, and to me there’s nothing more beautiful than [my daughter].”