Film chronicles Cesar Chavez’ ‘favorite’ musician


SAN DIEGO (border report) — The movie is called “Singing Our Way to Freedom”. It chronicles the life and music of Chicano musician Ramon “Chunky” Sanchez, who traveled extensively with Cesar Chavez in the 60s and 70s.

Sanchez was known for joining picket lines in California fields with Chavez, using his musical ability to promote social change and better working and living conditions for Southwestern farmworkers.

“We went out there and did a couple of songs and everyone was ready to come out and challenge the world,” Chunky says in the film. “It was powerful, it was penetrating to the soul.”

Espinosa did a lengthy interview with Sanchez which formed the backbone of the film.

Ramon “Chunky” Espinosa. (Courtesy of Espinosa Productions)

“Chunky Sanchez was a very charismatic musician and storyteller, he was very involved with Cesar Chavez,” Espinosa said. “He was Chavez’s favorite musician, he was really connected to Chavez, especially the kind of message that Chavez was doing about the working and living conditions of farm workers all over the country.”

According to Espinosa, Sanchez has performed at protests and rallies for more than 40 years at schools, prisons, political events, quinceañeras and weddings.

Paul Espinosa is the San Diego-based film producer. (Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

“Chunky came to San Diego to attend San Diego State University and when he got here he got involved with a musical group called The Rondalla Native American From Aztlan and they went to rallies and demonstrations all over the state, all over the southwest, basically playing for the farm workers to somehow inspire the workers to get involved in the union.

Espinosa’s film about Sanchez has already won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the San Diego Latin Film Festival and has been an official selection at several festivals, including the Guadalajara International Film Festival, the Smithsonian Folk- like Festival and festivals in Austin, Seattle, San Francisco. , Los Angeles, San Antonio and Kansas City.

Espinosa is a longtime filmmaker for PBS whose movies have won eight Emmys and is responsible for the highly acclaimed The Lemon Grove Incident…and the earth didn’t swallow it.

He also produced The Hunt for Pancho Villa, The US-Mexican War: 1846-1848, Ballad of an Unsung Hero.

Espinosa’s latest work, the film about Sanchez, airs on PBS stations across the United States.

It will debut in San Diego on Nov. 3 at 9 p.m.


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