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POP Symposium

Cheko Salaam

Toronto, ON

Cheko Salaam is a 1st generation rapper, producer, social worker and cultural theorist from the Salvadorian diaspora. Cheko’s music is infused with the experience of a life ruptured by forced migration, a reflection on a collective identity distorted by a set of events, moments and histories that map the trajectory of an uprooted peoples. The stories are resistant and disobedient, confronting power and it’s shadow at every opportunity. The passionate prose is carried by a sharp, soulful and experienced delivery, while the sonics are sample-heavy, often sourcing from nostalgic mesoamerican archives, his father’s favourite records. Cheko Salaam is urgently bridging his art with his community work, demonstrated by his collaborative albums with groups such as Missing LinX and Tapas, as well as founding the Broken English Collective, a capacity-building cooperative for newcomer youth artists. Cheko is currently finishing a full length album in reflection of the upcoming 30th anniversary of the Peace Accords that ended the Salvadorian Civil War in 1992, to be accompanied by a thesis discussing how Hip Hop can serve to transform the collective hauntings of colonialism into revolutionary sites of creation.