‘Choloani’ Is a History Lesson in What It Means To Be a Cholo

Courtesy of Prayers

It’s been a minute since we last heard from the original cholo goth gang Prayers. Vocalist and producer Leafar Seyer has been busy at home raising his baby with wife Kat Von D, and co-producer Dave Parley has spent time with other musical endeavors like Meldamor. But that’s all about to change with the imminent release of the band’s next studio album, which Seyer calls “a true body of work.” This time, they’re going all the way back to the dawn of what it means to be a cholo.

Once settled into family life, Seyer had a hard time creatively, he shared on a quick call with Remezcla. Writing music—especially music about street life—wasn’t a priority and every time he tried doing something, it wouldn’t come out right. Then, one day Von D pushed Seyer to “go hard” with his art. He rediscovered his fire and penned some of his most personal work to date, which became Prayers’ forthcoming new album. Then, he met Teypohsweepeehltseehn.

A tattoo artist, silversmith and coppersmith living in New Mexico, Teypohsweepeehltseehn dedicates himself to the preservation of his ancestry as a Cheecheemehkahtl or Chichimeca. He and Seyer met and clicked immediately. As a gift, Teypohsweepeehltseehn allowed Prayers to include a 30,000-year-old song from his culture on the new album; Seyer’s only condition was to contextualize the wisdom that accompanied their encounter. The result is “Choloani.”

Over traditional chant song, Teypohsweepeehltseehn talks about the history of chohloh’ahneeh or choloani, a group of rebels that refused to let Spanish colonizers forbid them from practicing their culture, religion, language and traditions. The derogatory designation became the root of “cholo” but the connection doesn’t end there. As seen on the new video, Teypohsweepeehltseehn wears the traditional warrior attire of the ancient Chichimecas and explains how it evolved into what we associate with cholo streetwear. It’s mind-blowing, yet only a nugget of the untold history that’s included here.

“Choloani” will be part of Cholo Goth, Prayers’ next full-length album slated for a February 2021 release.