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Nine Questions

Robert Ojeda



Robert Ojeda, director of the Community Food Resource Center at the Community Food Bank, was born and raised in Peru. He moved to the United States at 17 to attend college. He has played Andean music in bands across the United States; his current band is Entre Peruanos.

What was the first concert you ever saw?

Soda Stereo, an Argentinean super-band of the 1980s. I was 12 and remember waiting for hours in huge crowds contained by police on horses.

What are you listening to these days?

Juan Luis Guerra; Grupo Fantasma; Lo Mejor de Bolivia (a compilation album); and the following Pandora radio stations: "Peru Negro," "African Essentials," and "Klezmer."

What was the first album you owned?

I come from a culture where the family shares music, so I grew up listening to a mix of Porgy and Bess, Rubén Blades, Peruvian waltzes, rock en español and traditional Andean folk music.

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone seem to love, but you just don't get?

Mexican banda music with the oompah brass.

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?

A joint concert by Cuban protest singer Silvio Rodriguez, Bob Marley and musical poet Juan Luis Guerra.

Musically speaking, what is your favorite guilty pleasure?

Steve Winwood and Phil Collins. The American Top 20 hits that came on Peruvian radio were one of my only connections to American pop culture when I was growing up in the 1980s.

What song would you like to have played at your funeral?

"El Gallo ha Muerto."

What band or artist changed your life, and how?

Bolivian bands Savia Andina and Los Kjarkas connected me to my indigenous roots and inspired me to start my first Andean music band at 13, a band I was proud to say won Best Young Andean Band in my hometown of Arequipa.

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

Los Kjarkas, El Amor y La Libertad, not only inspired me to start my first band, but sparked my teenage awareness of the importance of honoring traditional cultures and the struggles of indigenous peoples for social justice.

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