Growing up in Boulder with a white mother and a Mexican-American father, Molly Gallegos felt confused about her identity.
“My father assimilated into dominant culture just as a means of survival, so I didn't grow up with a lot of cultural background and knowledge and all that,” she says. “In college, I started noticing people around me with similar experiences who were trying to figure out how to sort of reclaim the culture they didn't grow up with and how to navigate what building your own traditions and culture means, with everything from the food choices they made to how they dress to their spirituality and reclaiming the Spanish language.”
She then started noticing musicians who were mixing traditional music like cumbia, champeta and Andean folk with modern technology, digital sounds, punk and rock.
“It just was really validating to me, and I was like, well, I want that for everybody,” Gallegos says.
And that’s what sparked Super Sonido
, her weekly radio show that airs at 4 p.m. Sundays on KUVO
. Gallegos, who goes by "La Molly" on the show, will celebrate three years of hosting the program on Sunday, August 15. She plans to mark the occasion by replaying some of her favorite moments in the show’s history.
Gallegos initially launched the program with music from her own collection, including artists like Bomba Estereo, Julieta Vanegas, Chancha Via Circuito and Chicano Batman, whom she says were “all those people that sort of mixed all my different identities together in music.”
She’d also play local acts like Don Chicharrón, Los Mocochetes and Kiltro.
“That's really important to me, because it's cool to bring voices from all over the world, but I think, particularly with the live-music scene, people maybe don't take us so seriously — but there's so much good music. All those guys are incredible, and they're making really important contributions.”
Gallegos scours the internet and social media for new music she can play on the show.
“I'm interested in artists or musicians particularly that are exploring those consequences of a tradition and modernity and how they all fit together," she explains. "One thing I've been really interested in lately...[is] this new trend of corridos tumbados. These young kids are taking old Mexican corridos [ballads],
and they're adding trap music to it, and it's just fascinating to me to see the way that they’re creating our own culture and changing it and modifying it to fit where we are now. That's really what I'm interested in.”
During her shows, Gallegos also spends a lot of time talking between songs. She wants her audience to think about the music and artists, she says. "It's the experience of understanding what these people are doing, because I think we're all kind of doing it. Whether you relate to Latin music or not, I think everybody is kind of figuring out how to live in the world with all of their traditions and culture and history.”
Gallegos also thinks music can be like therapy, referring to terapia
parties that used to be thrown in Colombia, “where the Black Colombians would go and just dance and let loose all of their stress and all the weight they carried around with them all day. That's what I'm trying to do with the music. I think it's a really good way to process a lot of the emotions maybe we're pushing down inside throughout the day. [The show] is an hour to process who we are and what we're feeling.”
Some listeners have reached out to her, saying they’ve felt validated by the music she’s played on the show.
“That's what I'm going for,” Gallegos says. “That's what the music did to me. It made me feel like I actually existed. And that's so important, and so that's what really means the most to me — that people are getting that.”
For more information, visit Super Sonido online.