Xiuhtezcatl Martinez: Earth Guardians’ youth director and Conscious Life Expo keynote Speaker on consciousness and music
As the youth director of Earth Guardians and as an activist, there are times in my life when I’ve felt lost within the chaos of movements. It’s crazy how much is happening, and there is always more to do than there is time to do it. It can be overwhelming. At times like these, my music is my compass. It’s the perfect outlet to transform the fears or sadness I feel about a world gone mad into a source of inspiration. There is something profound and empowering about song and dance that can’t exactly be put into words. After I write something dope, it’s as if the weight on my shoulders feels a little lighter. It’s impossible to feel alone when I’m rocking out with my crew on stage, and the audience is rocking with me.
It’s no wonder that music has been used throughout history not only as an outlet but also as a tool to bring people together for a common purpose. From traditional ceremonies to modern religious practices, from social movements to national anthems, music has a power to form bonds and transform our understanding of the world. Music is both timeless and ever-present.
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez on Music and Education
My music has continued to evolve and become more than a tool for education. It has become a way to express my relationship with the world. I want the listener to understand what it’s like to be a teenager taking on the fossil fuel industry and the idea of systemic oppression. I want them to see it through my eyes, but I also want them to deepen their own relationship with the subject.
The power found in song and art is that, sometimes, you can break through an entrenched belief system and connect to the emotions beneath it.
By getting more personal and adding depth to my music, I believe I can connect with people on another level. The title track of my new album Break Free exemplifies this new approach:
To break free is our only choice,
we march through the streets silence overpowers the noise
don’t let your greatness die within you
chain me to these pipelines
black lives, indigenous rights, connected lifelines.
Break free from your suffering; don’t let it change you,
leave it in the past, know that stronger is all that made you.
I want people to feel the song, not just listen to it. I want it to evoke emotion that dances the line between “damn, this world is messed up,” and “damn, we are so powerful that we can change all this.” There is a feeling that we’re all in this together. Maybe that’s what can save us—that deep humanity that only true expression can uncover.
Music is one of the tools that has helped Earth Guardians spread to every corner of the globe. As we traveled, using music to tell our story, people were signing up to start Earth Guardian crews, which are kind of like local chapters of the organization. They were popping up everywhere, in places like New Zealand, Togo, and Bhutan. The global expansion of our organization changed our approach.
Earth Guardians Protect our Future
At Earth Guardians, we created global days of action called Protect Our Future, which allows the organization to coordinate and highlight particular issues. It took a tremendous weight off of my shoulders when I heard the stories of what other young people on the ground were doing. I began to realize that there were kids like me around the world building the movement and doing incredible things in their cities.
Facts and figures can only communicate so much. The power found in song and art is that, sometimes, you can break through an entrenched belief system and connect to the emotions beneath it. From that place of feeling moved, we as humans are able to re-evaluate our ideas and beliefs and develop new perspectives.
Hear Xiuhtezcatl Martinez speak at the Conscious Life Expo
Xiuhtezcatl will be a Keynote Speaker at the Conscious Life Expo from February 9-12, 2018 at the LAX Hilton. For more information, visit: consciouslifeexpo.com