CONCORD, CA (Sept. 18, 2022) — Chika Di has more than 13,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. Her music has been featured on HBO multiple times, and she’s shared the stage with famous acts like George Clinton and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
In 2006, 19-year-old Diana Trujillo moved from Colombia to Pleasant Hill and enrolled in Diablo Valley College.
“It was an amazing experience, coming here with no English, then going straight to college. It was a challenge, for sure, but mission accomplished. Not just to be able to do my work and communicate, but also to learn the cultural part – to be able to adapt myself to a new life,” says Trujillo, now known musically as Chika Di.
Strong Latin roots
Trujillo was born and raised in Medellin, a city she described as plagued with violence that claimed her father’s life when she was 12. Shortly thereafter, she turned her attention to music.
Trujillo joined the Corporación Cultural Canchimalos and toured the country playing traditional Colombian music. After performing with different rock groups as a teenager in Medellin, Trujillo decided to leave Colombia – the only one in her family to do so. She started a new life in America, where she hoped to study to become a nurse.
It wasn’t long after her immigration that Trujillo returned to her roots, performing Latin music on stage. She sang with Bay Area salsa groups and ultimately joined La Misa Negra, an Oakland-based cumbia group that toured North America for the better part of 10 years.
Ready to go solo
In 2020, Trujillo decided to take advantage of the network she built during her 20 years in the music industry to launch her career as a solo artist; thus, Chika Di came to be.
Her first single, “Bailala,” produced by acclaimed New York City record producer Max Perry, has enjoyed considerable commercial success, including being featured on the HBO original series “Generation” and “Euphoria.” Her husband, Michael Costanzo, a.k.a. “Good Bear,” produced subsequent singles at their home studio in Concord.
Trujillo is quick to note that they work with a team of sound engineers who have produced Latin Grammy winners, saying their contributions are integral to the Chika Di sound.
“We all combine forces, and we make things happen.”
Sending a message
The latest single from Chika Di is “Guaro,” released earlier this month. Trujillo is particularly enthused about this one, which she says features “all the elements that can describe me as an artist.”
With “Guaro,” she really hopes to make a statement.
“This time, I talk about acceptance. This time, I kinda put my foot out a little further when it comes to promoting a good message for society in general. Promoting respect. Promoting the right to choose your path, whatever it is.”
While much of her online audience is international, Trujillo notes that Latin music interest is very much on the rise in the United States.
“I see the Latin scene merging with American culture more and more. Before, you needed to sing in English in order to do that crossover. Now, I don’t see that as having to be the rule anymore.
“Sometimes they don’t understand what the song is saying,” she adds, “but they’re still having fun, they’re still feeling the vibe.”
Trujillo feels “blessed” to be able to make music with such inspired people and to do so in the Bay Area during a time that she recognizes as special for recording artists and performers of all genres.
“Overall, I think we’re living in the best music era there is.”
Dave Hughes is a lead advocate for the local music scene in and around Concord, California. Having volunteered for years at the grassroots level with advocates for social justice, Hughes developed effective community organizing skills, which he later applied to the regional independent music network to launch various platforms to showcase and celebrate local music during the pandemic. Along with the team of music-minded volunteers he assembled, Hughes worked with Visit Concord and the City of Concord in launching Concord Couch Concerts, which has since produced over 30 hours of content featuring over 100 local acts. The success of this effort paved the way for Hughes to launch the downtown concert series "Singer-Songwriter Saturday", an FM radio show on 90.5 KVHS called "The Beat of Diablo," and this freelance column of the same name. Understanding Concord as the "City of Dave Brubeck," Dave is driven by a sense of duty as a local musician and Concord resident to posit that this is not only a city rich with music history, but one that yields excellent music today in its robust, eclectic, and thriving music scene.