The people we meet: Miguel Govea, long a Bay Area musician will perform this weekend with his daughter La Doña


Miguel Govea was calm and serene when he invited me to his home in Bernal Heights to sit in his instrument-filled living room, where he told me about his life as a community musician in the Bay Area.

Many musical evenings have taken place in Govea’s living room and courtyard over the years. And for Govea, watching people get up and dance to his music, and seeing them happy or sad (depending on the song) is what makes it worth it.

“I consider myself to be a socially shy person, but [music] allows me to connect with other people, ”says Govea, who started playing Mexican music as a child and grew up in Bakersfield with his Mexican father and Mexican-American mother.

Finally, in 1978 at UC Berkeley, while on the picket line, he met Enrique and Antonio Ramirez, and the three formed a group called “Los Peludos”. They played movement music, and some of their songs such as “Aqui no sera” left a lasting impression on the listeners. The song told President Ronald Reagan to stay out of Central America. He said, “Even though we are small, we will resist,” Govea explained.

Los Peludos playing at Dolores Park in 1981. Photo courtesy of Miguel Govea.

Throughout his life, Govea continued to play guitarrón, a big bass guitar, accordion and trumpet, playing salsa, meringue and cumbia in schools, libraries, demonstrations. and local community places.

Now retired, he has paid the bills for 35 years working for the San Francisco Public Works Department as a bridge operator, or someone who manages the three movable drawbridges in San Francisco, two near the stadium of the giants and one at the end of Caesar. Chavez.

He also worked first as a volunteer and then as a paid music teacher at the Missionary Cultural Center, then to Community music center.

Music is “maybe the least destructive thing we can do as humans, you know, that makes people feel good.” And I think allowing or encouraging children to play is really, really good for them, ”said Govea.

Early, La Familia Peña-Govea, – Govea, his wife and two daughters Cecilia and Rene played in the Bay Area.

During the pandemic, he played music with his daughter René while she wrote songs for “SF likes to learn, An educational Youtube run by the San Francisco Unified School District that formed during the pandemic.

And this weekend, he will perform alongside his daughter Cecilia, or La Doña, a musician who fuses hip hop, reggaeton and Latin rhythms in Stern grove, where she will perform her original music.

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