Among the Bay Area’s bustling music scene is singer-guitarist- social activist Diana Gameros, an artist who’s quickly caught the attention of national media as well as acclaimed musicians (i.e. La Santa Cecilia, Natalia Lafourcade, Bebel Gilberto, Taylor Mac, San Francisco Symphony) who’ve been drawn to her singular music and intrigued by her life story. From the age of 13, Gameros has resided in the United States, and for much of that time, she was an undocumented immigrant. Now with legal status, Gameros writes a love letter to her homeland with 13 standout renditions of classic Mexican songs on her latest album, Arrullo, in anticipation of soon returning to Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Gameros independently released her sophomore album, Arrullo, on November 10, 2017.
Having spent her teenage years in Michigan and adult life in San Francisco, Gameros has longed to visit the land where she was raised. 15 years have passed since she last travelled to Ciudad Juárez. Heartbroken while her city went through devastatingly tough times with militarized policing of streets and drug cartel conflicts, her family has experienced firsthand violence leaving Gameros feeling trapped with no way to help. With a sense of loss and being absent from many family milestone moments, she channels her fears, guilt and powerlessness into a beautiful tribute reminiscent of her childhood in Mexico.
Arrullo takes the listener back to the times when Gameros’ big Mexican family would gather at her grandparents’ home -- a pink house surrounded by pecan trees, rose shrubs and cacti -- located in a small farm town called Torreoncitos, eight hours south of Ciudad JuaÌrez (the album cover of Arrullo depicts a collage of cacti, birds, her grandmother, and pictures of Mexico all in a pinkish hue). The sound of her grandmother and mother’s voice (the latter of which sings on Arrullo); the strumming of guitars; kids playing; and life on the farm, all comprise the magical spirit of family life in Mexico for Gameros. She transcends this energy into an intriguing song selection of both famous and obscure Mexican covers featured on Arrullo.
Arrullo came to life through the Women's Audio Mission's Local Sirens & Preserving Culture projects, made possible by the generous support of The California Arts Council and The Zellerbach Family Foundation. Gameros performs with her mother Altagracia Estupiñan (vocals) and grandmother Leonarda Rentería (vocals), as well as a talented cast of Bay Area musicians including Patrick Wolff (clarinet, tenor saxophone), Thomas Edler (bass), Helen Newby (cello), Danny Cao (trumpet), Andrew Maguire (vibraphone), and Magik*Magik String Quartet featuring Liana Berube (violin), Philip Brezina (violin), Marcel Gemperli (viola), and Michelle Kwon (cello) directed by Minna Choi.
In 2013 Gameros released her first official album “Eterno Retorno”, a soulful retrospective of her journey as a musician and immigrant. The songs on Gameros' album include "SB1070", which she wrote in response to the anti-immigration Senate Bill passed in Arizona in April 2010, and "Libre Y Serena", the story of an immigrant woman who decides to return to her homeland. In October of 2014 she received the Emerging Leader Award from the Chicana/Latina Foundation for her work in music and her support to social justice movements.
Diana’s songs and story have been featured on Billboard, Mother Jones, NPR’s All Songs Considered, NPR’s Alt. Latino Podcast, Public Radio International – The World and PBS Newshour.