Keith LaMar has spent the last 30 years of his life on death row for a crime that evidence shows he did not commit. Since his conviction, LaMar has dedicated his life to criminal justice reform activism and education. His work has taken the form of starting book clubs at high schools, writing and autobiography, and co-writing a jazz album, “Freedom First” with pianist Albert Marquès.
On Oct. 7, Marquès was joined by Zack O’Farrill, Kazemde George, and Yosmel Montejo in the final performance of the Freedom First West Coast tour at Pomona’s Lyman Concert Hall. While the musicians performed on stage, LaMar called in to recite his original spoken word poetry from an Ohio prison.
“íyo’toróvim yaraarkokre ‘eyoo’ooxono (We the Caretakers Remember our Land)” bridged Indigenous oral history with intercultural music performance. Held at Garrison Theater on Oct. 7, the performance was constructed with the guidance of the Gabrielino-Shoshone Tribal Council, an intertribal coalition with ancestral lands in present-day Claremont. The Indigenous speakers’ words were accompanied by a live music ensemble.
Two weeks before Hispanic Heritage Month began, fans from all over the Inland Empire and Los Angeles county lined up mid-day, getting ready to see one of the biggest Mexican Norteno bands live and for free. On September 8th 2023, Los Tigres Del Norte performed to a full house at Fox Theater.