Growing up and influenced by a wide range of music from Fania and Motown Soul to Old School Hip-Hop, Isa’s music career started at a very early age. As she described her childhood in a recent interview with the Pulse of The Twin Cities Magazine, “I had always been singing and playing Bomba (Afro-Puerto Rican folkloric music) and Plena (news of island through music and dance) since I was 5 years old. I had been hearing it since I was a baby. I picked up hip-hop in the same elements of singing during family gatherings.”
At the age of 7, she was invited on stage with Salsa singer La India and given timbales sticks from the late great Tito Puente. From then she knew she wanted to be reaching others by being in the spotlight and behind a mic.
Maria Isa teaches Boricua history/song/vocal instructions to children at El Arco Iris Center for the Arts in St. Paul, while performing with the folklore group “RAICES“(roots).
Her lyrics flow naturally in Spanglish with strong political convictions, and mix her Puerto Rican background with her Twin Cities environment. It’s best explained by a quote from her MySpace page, “Never for get the pride for our cultura, our language, our movement or else we become descendents! We become lost…. For those who are lost, it’s our duty to respect and educate them towards freedom.”
Describing her role as powerful and positive female voz (voice) on the hip-hop scene, “If you notice, the women who are in it now are being represented as hoes in the videos. There aren’t too many women using their femininity and sexuality in a positive way and not a trashy way. There’s already not that many of us that are out there. We need to start a revolution. B-Girl Be is a revolution. What we need to say is we are here and need to be respected just like any other person.”
Isa will be performing at the AfriFest Gala at the Cedar Cultural Center on Saturday, Aug. 18, at 10:00 pm on the Main Stage. Isa is one of five acts performing at the Cedar, and will be a definite and distinct voice to reckon with. Doors open for the gala at 6:00 PM, and the main stage bands start at 7:00. Tickets for the AfriFest Gala are $10 at the door for five bands.