top of page






To raise awareness and prevent violence against women


Since February 2017, in the city of Zacatecas, Zac. a bi-national group of researchers, social activists, professional musicians and producers lead by Martha M. Lopez Ramos PhD an expert in gender perspective and public policies studies has been working together developing and executing songwriting workshops to prevent different forms of violence against women in order to make this issue more visible and work towards a solution to violence.


These workshops are helping create a clear consciousness about violence towards women, revealing conditions that might have been hidden before, under a veil of normalcy.


As newly opened places for debate, the workshops are truly leveling and democratic meeting spaces, where women can freely share experiences or listen to other women’s struggles, creating a feeling of relief between participants and empathy from the listeners.


The workshops open a place of diverse participation, where the writing process allows revival of the voices of participants, along with teamwork, and a powerful support of talents through the creative process.


The result is visible as a complete product, formalized and ready to be shared and broadcast. It creates a beneficial impact for the individual and the community.


During the Beta stage of the workshop, we used the structure of the traditional Mexican Corrido. Working in a community center in the state capital, we began the discussion through the process of composing and writing about gender stereotypes that reproduce or induce different forms of violence against women.


Our multidisciplinary team got deeper every day into the creative process. And so was born the first Northern Mexican corrido with a gender perspective: “The Story of Lupe Fernández”


The project is specifically designed to address violence against women, but is always adapted locally to the local cultural perspective of the participants.


In parallel the workshop moved into a real life social laboratory; we gave the song to traditional street performers so they can appropriate it and play it as part of their repertoire.


A traditional version of the song “La Historia de Lupe Fernandez” here, with English subtitles, recorded live in El Saucito community near the Zacatecas/ San Luis Potosi State border:


After the songs are written, performed and recorded in the fields, we invite some of our urban international musician friends to add some spice to it, creating a bridge between genres, cultures, and countries.

A beautiful addition to make the songs even more accessible to a broader audience:


History is rife with examples of popular culture changing minds. Using this approach from the ground up, we realize everyday during those workshops that eyes are being opened to the plight of female (and male) victims of violence and that attitudes and even behavior can be changed.

Statistics show that in Zacatecas, a State in Northern Mexico where most of the workshops are being conducted, 48% of women have been victims of domestic violence at some point in their life. Since 2013, 29 women have been femicide* victims in the State of Zacatecas alone. 

*Femicide or feminicide is a sex-based hate crime term, broadly defined as the killing of women but definitions vary depending on the cultural context.

The workshops have been presented in Chicago, IL and Lyon, France in addition to the Cities of Zacatecas and Tequila in Mexico.


In The Past

HOUSE O MATIC TALENT SHOWCASE @ Silver Room Block Party in Wicker Park

CHICK RODGERS This Kinda Love album 


To raise awareness and prevent violence against women 

Right Now

"La Historia de Lupe Fernandez"

A selection of songs from the songwriting workshops with a gendered perspective, produced into an album partially supported by an Individual Artist program Grant from the City of Chicago DCASE and IAC a State agency.




The facts: 

Chicago’s finest talent show is presented by Ronnie Sloan, founding member of House-O-Matics dance troupe*, associated with Poi Dog Pondering since the early 1990’s.

In a safe environment, Ronnie brought together up to 100 people from a blighted neighborhood to come out and support their youth in a competition-like environment where family, friends, and supporters can go to see their talented kids compete in the Dance, Singing and Rapping categories.

With a down-to-earth approach, Ronnie has been able to self-sustain an exceptional performing arts initiative that supports local culture and positive thinking and actions for youth.

Looking forward:

- Rehearsal spaces and professional mentorship could be provided to these very talented and semi-pro kids

- Working with entertainment industry professionals could add extra guidance to an already motivated group of kids

- Access to more families, more neighborhoods could be projected and programmed

The tools: 

Community Arts Exchange, a 501(c) (3) non-for-profit association could act as a fiscal agent and provide addtional financial support. CAE could also provide mentors to support Ronnie's existing team.

* House O Matics Dance Team is a youth dance organization that has been established for 26 years, under the leadership of Mr. Ronnie Sloan. They are a basic performance dance team on a prowl of achieving extraordinary things. This team is strongly motivated to uplifting the youth, as well as focus on bringing them as far away from life and call of the streets as possible. House-O-Matics has mentored over 500 members over the years and still mentor 60 members a year today.

They are strict on education and require a (C+) average to be able to participate and perform in any events of the team. In order to ensure that this will be met the team offers any help needed with homework, projects, as well as preparation for test, mid-terms, and/or finals. They believe that school is the key to success and discipline is the key to happiness. Within the team they, as the leaders look at each child as their own and as far as youth’s personalities and behavior they offer one on one care and counseling to ensure that their job of uplifting and influencing them in a positive way is effective.

They use tools of communication to ensure that the youth have total balance through dance. While also focusing and instructing the youth on nutrition and health to install in them the importance of a correct diet.

House-O-Matics has been the Opening Act for such artists as Notorious B.I.G., Scarface, 8Ball & MJG, Geto Boys, Immature, The Brat, Arron Hall, and many more. They currently have been performing with The Band Poi Dog Pondering for over 20 years, and are also 7 time winners of The Bud Billiken Parade & 3 time winners of The Regal Talent Showcase. 

As a whole, we will bring about change in the community one child at a time.


With an Individual Artists Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, Gilles Aniorte Tomassian produced an album for Memphis/Chicago soul singer Chick Rodgers.

With a foundation in the Chicago music tradition, we wanted to mix traditional blues, soul, and funk with modern sounds and foster the evolution of the Blues in a way that makes it more accessible to listeners, while still preserving the essence of the Chicago sound. Doing so promotes the Chicago music scene well beyond the city limits.

Partnering closely with Mexican-born and Chicago resident Christian Larumbe, the album was also about bringing together two neighboring cultures against the background of the wonderful Chicago cultural melting pot.

The purpose was multi-fold:  first, to document a historical moment in Chicago music through the city’s musical creators; second, the CD is a contemporary work to be distributed directly by the performer and through CD Baby and iTunes to reach established as well as new audiences.


The method was to create a studio recording with top-notch professional musicians who have well established careers, utilizing the support of the recording industry, including the tools for independent musicians (Youtube, Spotify, Facebook, iTunes) to promote and distribute their works.


This project has only been possible since Gilles's arrival in Chicago in 2007. As the producer, this project gave him new tools and opportunities to develop more musical projects where Chicago’s glorious past meets the future.


These projects will continue to solidify a line of generational encounters Gilles had started in international festivals like Cognac Blues Passions, where in July 2013, he created an all-star Johnson family affair whose headliners were Jimmy Johnson and his niece Syleena Johnson, daughter of Syl Johnson.

Gilles's unique cultural understanding is due to his experience as a musician, producer, and world traveler. He has, and will continue to serve, the artistic scene of the great city of Chicago and promote it nationally and worldwide.

Collaborators and guest artists involved in this project included internationally renowned musicians Corky Siegel, Frank Orrall, Ernest Dawkins, and Dalia Chin.


Let us know how you want to participate. 

We are looking for new board members to help develop projects, seasoned grant writers to help fund our existing programs, volunteers to help build a better future for kids and teens, friends to support our projects with donations, and voices to make ours heard!

bottom of page