This is a live music video of United States band Bad Religion playing in the capital of Costa Rica, San José.

There is also local punk music there, about which I learned more on 19 November 2022, at the annual conference of the Punk Scholars Network Canada and United States.

There were three panels with three presentations each. Ellen Bernhard was the moderator of the first panel.

The first presentation was:

Katie Brown – “Pero al menos hoy sigo respirando (English: But at least today I’m still breathing)”: Queer and Transnational Feminist Punk Performance in San José, Costa Rica.

Always interesting to hear something about punk in a country where less has been written about than about the UK or the USA!

Katie Brown had invited Costa Rican queer punk Fer Lozano to do part of the presentation. Fer is originally from mostly rural Guanacaste province, where Roman Catholic conservatism is relatively strong. Fer mentioned that police sometimes stopped punk concerts by cutting off electricity. Concerts often began early, a, eg 4pm, because there are safety risks at night for women and LGBTQ persons.

There is much variation in musical styles in Costa Rican punk. Punk often has a political (in the broad sense) side to it. That is also true for punk in Latin America. Class inequality plays a role in Costa Rica.

Bands from countries like Argentina were influential in Costa Rica. Other influences: from Spain. Karie Brown told me in the Zoom breakout room that she did not know about French punk influence in Costa, but did not exclude the possibility.

Reggae and ska were also influential in Costa Rica. They tended to exclude women. That surprised me a bit: in post-1979 UK ska bands like the Bodysnatchers and the Selecter, women played important roles. Yes, said Katie said, but the influence was not so much from Britain as from Jamaica and other Caribbean countries.

The role of women in Costa Rican punk really took off in the 1990s, influenced by Riot Grrl bands, like Bikini Kill in the USA and a west Mexican band. X-ray Spex was also an influence in Costa Rica, but European influences often worked 5-10 years later because of geographical distance.

Stay tuned, as all presentations at the conference were interesting, and I will write posts about them.