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Border band split by the wall

 January 5, 2022 at 4:16 PM PST

Quick warning…

There are a few curse words in this episode…


It was March 20-20…

And my band Tulengua had just put out a new album..


This is actual audio of the show….from an iphone video taken by our sound designer Emily at our album release show in downtown San Diego…


The place….was packed…

We were having a great time up on stage…

The audience was dancing, we were dancing… People were singing along with the lyrics…

It felt…magical…

All the work…all the time…all the things my band and I had been working on for super long were finally getting out into the world…

Amari Tulengua clip 4 first show unification

We basically had just finalized our…not even just album and put it out, but it was just kinda like we finalized what it was to like complete an album as a band, like with that unification …

This is my bandmate, my sister, the mother to my godson and a true force of nature….Amari Jordan…

Amari Tulengua clip 3 show was a deep momentThat was an awesome experience. We all hugged…we cried. You know, it was a deep moment for us all.

Amari Tulengua clip 2 everything was about to happenIt was kind of like the start of a new venture. So that first show was just…it felt like an echo chamber in a way. Cause it was like everything was just lining up. And then all of a sudden, it just ceased to exist.

Fade out/reverb tail


Everything… stopped.

Because at that very moment in March of 20-20…the pandemic became the new reality for our border region and the rest of the planet.

It felt like the whole entire world shut down pretty much the day after our show.


Newsclip montage about lockdown

All the shows we booked to promote our new album…canceled.

And within weeks, the border was closed.

Newsclips about border closure

BEAT fade

Suddenly….our binational, bilingual band with members on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border….

Was about to be…physically separated by the border wall…

And…me and my bandmates, Amari and Jimmy Mora…

We ended up being separated waaaay longer than we could have ever predicted.

Amari Tulengua clip 5 it just happened

So I do remember that first show, just kind of being like, this is it, this is the start, you know? And then, you know, it just, it just happened the way it did…


Tulengua Jimi side second crossing Clip 5 thought it was fake at first

I couldn't believe it. I think it was just like a… I don't know, like a…como se dice? Como asi Natalie: Que cosa?

no fue real?

Natalie: like, it was a dream..

like, yeah, like it's not happening. Like, come on…


I’m Alan Liliethal…

And I’m Natalie Gonzalez…

And from KPBS and PRX, this is “Port of Entry.”

Where we tell cross-border stories that connect us.

We’ve got more about my band’s border story….right after the break.


Nooo te vayas a ningún lado , porque ahorita volvemos…



Y estamos de regreso…


Tulengua First Crossing Attempt Clip 1 introduction Alright, good morning. My name is Jaime Mora. We are in Tijuana right now. We're about to cross the international border… on a Monday, ha… on a busy Monday…yeah…

Because of COVID rules at the U.S.-Mexico border crossing…my bandmate Jimmy wasn’t allowed to cross into the U.S. for almost two years…

And…when the restrictions finally ended in November and Jimmy could finally cross the border again…we wanted to be there with him…

Alan, tu eres manajando, and our producer Kinsee was recording you in the passenger seat…

Y…Jimmy and I were in the back seat…


Tulengua First Crossing Attempt Clip 2 driving to get in line

We are in Tijuana, Baja California Mexico.. We are driving down the street. I don't know what the name is, but we are heading to the line so we can cross the border. That's what we're doing right now.

Tulengua First Crossing Attempt Clip 3 Jimi hasn't crossed in two years Kinsee; And so Jimmy, this is the first time you've crossed since the pandemic?

Yeah. It's been… almost like two years. So it's kind of like a new thing, to be honest, I'm a little bit nervous. Ha. I haven't done this in awhile..

So yeah…when the pandemic hit…Jimmy was on the U.S side of the border in San Diego for our album release show…

And from San Diego…that’s about an hour and a half drive to get back to Jimmy’s home in Rosarito, Mexico…

Tulengua First Crossing Attempt Clip 8

Alan: But you ended up staying, Jimmy ended up staying in the us for like, for like a month, because we didn't know. I mean, we just had no idea what was going on with the border. Like it was like supposed to be closed and kind of open. We didn't know when it was like, if he left, if he was gonna be able to come back. So he just like, we're like, let's just wait it out, the pandemic will probably be over in a couple of weeks. So Jimmy stayed at my house for like a month. And then after that, we were like, we realized that you realize that…

Jimmy: There was something else going on..

Alan: Yeah..that this was going to be long term…


Tulengua Alan side second crossing Clip 10 chanted f covid didn't seem very real

I tend to not take things too seriously until they're like really present in my life for some reason. So I just thought it was kind of like this media thing. I think a lot of people like this is just like overblown exaggerated thing. Uh, and I think that was the general feeling at the show. Like we were, everyone was kind of making jokes about it, sharing joints. There was like a 30 person joint circle. I made fun of COVID on state. And like we had a COVID chant. It was just like, I think it was fuck COVID to be honest. Ha. I'm not proud of it now in retrospect. But it was like the second or third day I'd even heard of COVID probably, you know, and like, it was like this thing that's like, oh yeah, it's like, it's happening on the other side of the world. And it was, it just didn't really seem very real.

Tulengua Alan side second crossing Clip 12 gravity was not felt by anyone at the show It definitely did not feel in any way serious or the gravity of it was not felt by anyone at that show…

But...a few days after that show…Things got really real….

Way too real…

Tulengua Alan side second crossing Clip 11 things got real Alan: We were told we had to quarantine then. So it was like, oh shit.

BEAT fade

Tulengua Alan side second crossing Clip 13 thought it would be chill

We heard about the COVID and like the border might be closing. We're like, honestly, like just, just, he was just going to stay in San Diego. I mean, he had stayed for like a week or two in the past, but this was like a month and a half that he stayed because we really thought in a couple of weeks…. we had a few shows playing like a month and a half. Like, fuck it. We'll practice. We'll record. The border will open again in a couple of weeks. It'll be chill.


Tulengua Alan side second crossing Clip 14 realized it wasn't stopping anytime soon

Alan: I think after that, like towards the end of Jimmy staying when it was like a month and a half into the pandemic and we realized like any, it wasn't really stopping anytime soon.

Tulengua Jimi side second crossing Clip 8 went to walmart

Jimmy: Yo, do you remember that time? We went to Walmart to buy stuff. It was chaos..

Yeah…Walmart was when the gravity of the situation really sunk in for us…

On our drive to the border to get Jimmy home…we stopped there to get him stocked up before crossing back..

Tulengua Alan side second crossing clip 17 describing walmartAlan: It was like..te recuerdas, Jaime? It was like, people like just were panicked.

Jimmy: It was like zombie stuff.

Yeah. Like people were like, just moving the way there were, people were moving through the aisles and stuff. Like, you know, getting stuff. It was like the first couple of days of the pandemic. It was just this air of like… doom. People had no idea what was like, what was happening or like how serious this thing was. So, so like just, yeah, it was just like an odd feeling in that Walmart where like, not only was it empty and like a lot of things just felt like you're used to seeing, again, consumerism, you go to these stores and they're like overstocked, but stuff to the ceiling. So the fact that it was like pretty empty and you just have the bones of it…

Tulengua Alan side second crossing clip 15 stocked up at walmart before parting ways

Alan: So our thinking was…pues quin sabes…like who knows how things are in Tijuana in terms of the supermarkets? So our thinking was like, well, Tijuana must be chaotic. Jimmy and I went to to like buy stuff. So that Jaime could take it to Tijuana. So that at least he'd be stocked for a few weeks. I thought I would see him again in a few weeks, but I didn't, we didn't know. At this point it was like far enough into the pandemic where we're like, dude, I might not see you for a while.

Tulengua Alan side second crossing Clip 18 didn't know how he would survive

Alan: Like you weren't gonna be able to work. So it was like, we didn't know how long you weren't gonna like have money in your pocket.

Tulengua Jimi side second crossing clip 11 that suckedJimmy: Yeah, that sucked.

Tulengua Jimi side second crossing Clip 9 and they didn't see each other for nearly 6 months

Jimmy: And yeah…it happened. I didn't see you for a while.

BEAT fade


At this point…Jaime…who I also call Jimmy…….he was actually pretty sick…maybe with covid, maybe not…we don’t know…

And we will never know…

But I just remember he was coughing and having a hard time breathing because he has asthma…Nooo….

Yeah…so…after Walmart, I drove him to the San Ysidro Port of Entry, and we said our goodbyes for what we thought would be a few weeks at most.

Tulengua Alan side second crossing clip 19 dropped him off and said goodbye

Alan: In those days when they said the border was closed, people really respected that and was like, okay, we're not, we're not crossing. So even though Jimmy was sick and I wanted to, like, we, you know, Jimmy was at my house and his health was like, he was, he was really just not feeling good. I couldn't cross the border. Cause I didn't know. Like, I didn't know if I was going to be able to come back. So I had to drop him off in San Ysidro and he walked across..

Tulengua Jimi side second crossing clip 12 walk of hell

Jimmy: Yeah that was like the walk of hell. Cause I had like so many bags and my breath was…like, no se puedo brethar bien… I get just kinda like, I'm not saying so every five stabs, I will like, just get so tired. It was like the longest walk ever.


Tulengua…was officially separated by the border in that moment…

We were…but, again, I thought…and we all thought it was just gonna be a little blip in time…like, we’d be back at band practice for sure in a few months, pero maximo.

Mmmhmmm…Pero…of course…that didn’t happen…in part, because of privilege…

Yeah…so…the border closure actually was all about status…like, I eventually figured out that because I’m a binational citizen with papers in both the U.S. and Mexico, I could cross the problem.

Yeah…it’s the same with me…And I was able to keep crossing too since I’m a binational citizen, too.

Pero… our dear Jaimito is a Mexican citizen…

And…in pre-pandemic times..he could cross the border whenever he wanted with his tourist visa…

But… it was precisely these people like Jimmy… Mexican citizens… and only Mexican citizens with tourist visas…

Who were NOT allowed to cross anymore…

And the rest of Jimmy’s family was in the same boat.

Yeah… and actually, when the pandemic hit, Jimmy’s mom was in the U.S….And she knew that if she crossed home to Mexico, she wouldn’t be allowed to cross back…

So…rather than lose her job at a Mexican restaurant…

She decided to stay in the U.S. to work.

Tulengua Jimi side second crossing clip 13 his mom was on the other side Jimmy: I didn't see my mom, like for the longest.

Natalie: How long she stayed over there for more than a year?

Uh, yeah. More than a year. Oh, so you didn't see her? Yeah. I didn't see her for more than a year..

Alan; That was the longest you have gone without seeing your mom, huh?

Jimmy: Si.

Kinsee; How did that feel?

Jimmy: Weird. Like… just weird. Yeah. I can’t describe it.

Did you miss her?

I did in a way. I know she was doing good. I was just worried about the COVID thing. Like she getting sick…


And….on top of that constant worry…

Like a lot of folks in the pandemic…perdió su trabajo…

Mmhh. Jimmy lost his job…

Tulengua Jimi side second crossing Clip 14 wasn't working

I wasn't just working. ‘Cause…like my job is giving surf lessons and stuff, like one, one part of it. So like, people couldn't come…. like there was no job at all. So I ended up, like, not working for some months.

Tulengua Jimi side second crossing Clip 15 was lonely and sad

Natalie: So what were you doing during those months when you weren't working?

Just eating, and getting depressed. I was so depressed for some time. I really felt alone.

Natalie: OK.

Like…I felt alone. I do remember that. And….yeah, just making music, like sad music…


This melancolica song we’re listening to right now is something Jimmy made during that time…it’s called…”Rolling High.”

It’s a track he made with his friend Ruben…but for the first time ever, during this time in the pandemic…Jimi started becoming more serious about his solo music…


Tulengua Jimi side second crossing clip 16 started feeling the isolation, stopped talking with Alan I was just there at home playing stuff and just eating greasy food. It felt like a little vacation type of thing for a bit, but then…. I started like feeling it, you know, like …no hablamos, verdad? No hablanos….we stopped talking and

Alan: Not because of anything happened. Just we're both not good at phone communication. Yeah. But I God and my best friend too. I couldn't see her. I remember she was doing pretty. Like her health…. I couldn't visit her at all. I couldn't do anything.

Natalie: She lives in Rosarito.


Alan: because of COVID because of COVID. Yeah.

Kinsee: She was battling cancer too. So you gotta be very careful

Si, and that kinda like took a toll on me too. Eo. Y…que mas….Um, it's all like I was feeling it too. I was just worried.

BEAT bump to fade

Jimmy’s best friend Marce…ended up passing away from cancer early on in the pandemic…


Ambi up

Tulengua Jimi side second crossing Clip 17 found out who he was separate of the bandNatalie: So how, how did you cope with her passing away?

I haven't. I think. Like… I still still have my stuff…

Natalie: That’s ok…

But it’s ok, life goes on, like on. I’m going through it. I channel a lot of that through music a lot. Eso si. Um, yeah, I learned that. Como…musicamente as a being… because I wasn't with, with them anymore, you know, como creo que mi ronen la band…it was different….I wasn't good. It was like a kid kind of..

Natalie: So you started to find your essence maybe?

Eh…my essence just pretty much like becoming an artist, de puede desir. Como Yo. Sabes? Como yo. Yeah. I don't know how to put it in a word, so yeah.

Natalie: Yeah, I understand.

Tulengua Jimi side second crossing Clip 18 it was like a bomb

Jimmy: So that happened. Um, that's the thing, like I always been active, like not on like in a consistent way, but I've been like surfing or skating or I don't know, just moving. Yeah. I like to move. Cause if I don't, I go espero…So yeah…eso paso… Like right after my friend died.

Natalie: Mmm

And I had like this relationship too back then, and it ended up like in the same week.

Natalie: So everything…ok.

Yeah. Everything just like….it was like a bomb…


So yeah…Jimmy says it felt like his whole life exploded…

His best friend…his band…his girlfriend…all of the things he loved the most…were not there.

But…eventually…his aunt took him with her to a small town about three hours south of Ensenada.

It’s a rural, quiet place where there’s not much to do.

Jimmy was helping his aunt with her business and still pretty depressed….

Yeah but… There just happened to be a gym across the street from where he was staying…and since Jimmy couldn’t surf or day, he decided to workout…


And that moment… changed his life.

And his body, too.

Ha. Yeah, he’s ripped now…

He is ripped. ..but yeah I…I get it….

The exercise truly helped him process all those difficult things.


Tulengua Jimi side second crossing Clip 19 used exercise as therapy

Jimmy: I like the pain. I like the pain, cause it just makes me feel like I'm alive. Um, I like being strong. That's one thing too. And I believe like it helps me to channel energy and whenever, like I start feeling like emociones negatives….cause of all the stuff I've been through. like just stabilize.

Natalie: So you were using exercise to cope with everything. Pretty much like therapy?



Things… got better for Jimmy…

And things got even better…when his mom finally came home…

Alan side second crossing clip 30 jimmy's mom's cooking

Alan: Before the pandemic, it seems like such a staple of your life is like waking up and your mom's making food. And it's like, it's such a comforting thing. Like going, going to Rosarita the first few times, me and Amari to visit Jimmy, it was like, that was one of the most heartwarming parts of it. Like getting there and like, Jamie’s mom was cooking something and it smells so nice while we're making music. And it's just like this very comforting feeling. And I'm sure not having it for a year and a half….

Tulengua Jimi side second crossing clip 24 yeah missed his mom and her food

Jimmy: Yeah. It was a trip going on poquito. Speaks in spanish.

‘’It was a trip. The knock didn’t feel that hard because I was with you in your house but as time kept passing by and nothing was changing it was like man this is a piece of trash. I mean it was good but the food…I just missed it.’’

Ambi fade

BEAT bump to fade

Alan working on solo song voice memo

Ok…so…Alan, this is a voice memo by you…and this is how you handled being separated from your band by the border…

Yes…and we’ll get into exactly how it changed me and my music, and how it changed my bandmate Amari, too…


After a very quick break…

No se muevan…

Beat fade

Midroll 2

Y estamos de vuelta…



Tulengua Alan side second crossing clip 25 alan learned to be nice to himself

Alan: Oh man. I can't even believe how like the, to the degree, like how differently I related to myself before the pandemic.

Yeah so.…anyone who knows Alan knows that music is the center of his whole universe…



and when live music stopped because of the pandemic…and my band couldn’t get together because of the closed border….it really shook me up…


Ha. Don’t make fun of me!

Ha. Just kidding…



You got real and vulnerable that day in the car when we were crossing the border with Jimmy…..

You shared exactly how it shook you up….


Tulengua Alan side second crossing clip 25 alan learned to be nice to himself

Alan: I've had anxiety my whole life or I've had anxiety my whole life. But I think before the pandemic and having so much time to spend with myself. Which was hard a lot of the time, because you have to really realize that like a lot of the things you blame other people for like that you blame situations for is like something you carry inside. Um, so before I would get anxious and then I pile like guilt on top of like, why are you feeling anxious? Like, what do you have to complain about? Like, and then guilt would come on top of that. And it's like, it's this like, never ending layers of, of like judgment and like really self hatred, like self, self criticism, self, self negativity, right? Like it would keep piling up on top of the other. And while that still gets triggered in me so I can see like how I used to relate. Now I can way more easily be nice to myself….and just be kind to myself. And that's the biggest change in everything, because that changes how you relate to everything….to everything.


So…yeah…I used all that downtime in the pandemic to deal with all the mental health stuff…

Yes…it’s important stuff to deal with!

Yeah…and…it actually helped me evolve my relationship with music…

Interesting….talk more about how it changed….

Well…before COVID, I was really using music to fill a void…or get love from other people or avoid feeling lonely…

But when I started addressing my anxiety and depression instead of just masking it with music…

It made music a lot more fun and freeing.

BEAT fade

So…yeah… just like Jimmy, for the first time in my life, during the pandemic…I ended up using my alone time to write and record solo music, too.


And this banger we are listening to right now is called ”Soft Plans”…

It’s one of those songs Alan wrote during that time…


Tulengua Alan side second crossing clip 27 music isn't to fill a void

Alan: So now the music that is being made, and I know Jimmy feels the same way, um, because we had to learn this on our own. It's like, oh wow. Like I'm making music from a state of place of health and from a place of wholeness. And it just makes it feel so much better because you're not relying on music, like as a crutch or as a drug to, to fill up, to fill up an empty void.

BEAT bump to fade

Amari Tulengua clip 11 baby sounds

Baby crying.

Kinsee: Oh no! You can come hang out with us! Is it naptime?

Amari: Yeah, it could be naptime for sure.

Kinsee: Ok, we can be flexible…I know how it goes. He could come hang out. He’s 1, right? He just turned one in August?

Amari: Yes.

Kinsee: Awwww. Yeahhh.

So…that was Kinsee talking with my bandmate Amari and Amari’s…baby…my godson…

Because at the album release show, Amari was actually five months pregnant…

Yes…and…at that show…she was already preparing herself to have to take a bit of time off from the band…

And..on August 23, 2020…it happened… her baby boy….was born.

Amari Tulengua clip 12 had a perfect baby You know, birth is beautiful. Like my baby is so beautiful. I can't even put it into words.

Amari Tulengua clip 9 was ready for lockdown mode Like I had already been anticipating, like being on lockdown mode. If you like, as a mom, like as a mom in general, I already knew that was coming, but to, for it to be like, not even forced, but for it to be at the level it was at, I don't think I was ready for that.

So Amari was a new mom…separated…not only from her band, but…really… from everyone.

Yeah..she says…the experience…was, really, really hard.

BEAT fade

Amari Tulengua clip 8 felt really alone You know, being, being a new mom and all that, and like the experience of like baby showers and, and, and, you know, having my family present while I had my child, or like, just anything like that, it was just like, non-existent because no one could gather. You know, so I remember just feeling like…really alone in that process.


Amari Tulengua clip 7 it just became life

Amari: But it's so weird because it's almost like I have a baby at the best part of like life that I could have possibly had at, at, in the weirdest way. Because the world stopped for everyone, not just me.

Kinsee: Lol. Because you weren’t really missing out on anything…

Amari: I wasn't really missing anything, yet I was missing everything, which was strange, as far as the mother and woman experiences like yoga, all the little pregnant, yoga, pregnant, weird classes, mommy, all that was canceled. So I just, I didn't get the full experience of like, just a lot of shit. Um, so that was hard to adapt to, but it just became….. life.

Kinsee: Yeah.

Amari says her first reaction to having a baby and the pandemic and all our canceled shows and inability to meet up….

Was sheer panic.

Mucho miedo…

Amari Tulengua clip 13 panic mode Amari: I think. There's a lot of different faculties. When, when you become a parent in general that your whole mind chemically, like literally chemically changes. And I think I went into like a panic mode because I felt like, what am I going to do? How am I going to do it? Like, how am I going to make sure he's good? Like, I don't have a real career outside of music. To be honest with myself, like…And it was just like, okay, I can't do any shows. I can't, we are not selling anything. We're not doing anything like what's happening??? So it was a lot of honestly fear-based emotions going through my head.

But….after a few months, Amari found….her rhythm…

And…she used any down time she could find outside of baby duties…to jump right back into music….

Yeah, she actually got more serious than ever about music and did things like invest 5,000 dollars in her little music studio upstairs.


Amari Tulengua clip 15 invested Amari: Like I got a new laptop, you know, I got the new middies. Um,

Amari Tulengua clip 14 then she buckled down

Amari: I think musically speaking, like I felt like I have to give it my all, like, if I don't do this, not to say I'm not good at other things, or that don't have other experience or whatever, but like now is the time to turn it on because now you have something to. Beyond yourself in, in God and all the things you care about, you have someone in something that's relying on you to get shit done. So I think musically, my relation became like more like, okay, how are we getting this off the ground? How can I be of more assistance to like Alan and the whole process?


Like, you know, what can I do to, um, better serve my, my family it within, within music? Um, because. Again, everything had stopped. So it was just a really weird process.


Amari started working on a solo album that’s been floating around in the back of her mind for years now.

This is a demo track from that solo album called “Fuschia”....and she’s planning on releasing it late next year.


Noice! I love this song!


Alongside the new album….

Amari also used the pandemic to start working on building a female music production collective…pretty badass…


So…Amari and I were able to meet up once in a while through the early days of the pandemic since we were both on the same side of the border…

And actually, once I realized I could cross, I started crossing down to see Jimmy, too..

…But it wasn’t until almost seven months went by…with Amari mostly being at home alone with her baby….that she finally felt ready to cross the border again to see Jimmy….

Amari Tulengua clip 16 had to see jimmy after seven months Amari: As soon as I could really, really get out and I felt like it's okay, like I'm getting out this house. Like I fucking been in this house for months. Like I know I have a young son, but I need y'all to fuck fucking house. I need to see Jimmy.


Amari Tulengua clip 17 jimmy was all grown up

I went and saw Jimmy and yeah, it was a trip. He even looked different. Kinsee: Yeah.

Yeah. Yeah. He looked different. He smelled the same. Good. He smells really good, but yeah, you never know, but he, I'm not gonna front on Jimmy. He do smell good. But yeah. You know, but there were still different things about him. And I was like, wow, Jimmy's growing up.

Amari Tulengua clip 18 things were the same

Like he's becoming a grown-ass man. So, um, yeah, that experience was dope though, because. I think we all were probably questioning a lot of things, not even just about like the music and when it's coming back, but just within our own band, like there was probably some weird, I mean, at least for me, I know I was questioning a lot because I'm in my house all day and that's all I can do is fucking assume. But. I just, I was hoping like, damn, I, I don't, I just have this baby. And like, you know, they say it's good, but what if it's not, you know, this little shit, this little shit that was building up in my heart. And, um, you know, uh, when I went and saw Jaime and, and just like, we're all together, again, it just felt like it was yesterday. Like nothing really changed. Like at least internally, nothing really changed. Like. Yeah. There's been some time. Yeah, it's been difficult. Yeah. People were working on solo shit. Cause fuck. We had no choice…. we couldn't even see each other. Um, but ultimately it still felt like the brotherhood that had always felt like since the jump.


Kinsee: Did you happen to look at the line length today, yet?

Natalie:, Uh….so I was walking by and I think it's going to be probably like two hours probably. If we're lucky..

Kinsee: not as bad as last time..

Natalie: Not as bad as last time, but it’s still gonna be a few hours

OK so…the last time we all sat in a car in the border line and recorded Jimmy crossing the first time after COVID restrictions were lifted…we actually…never made it across.

Yeah, the line was ridiculously long that day…And we got out of it…

Jimmy actually ended up having to cross with his Aunt after that, so, we didn’t get to capture his first-time-crossing experience…

Buuuuut we did get to record him a few days later as he crossed for the first time in nearly two years to do music stuff with Tulengua again.



Tulengua Alan side second crossing Clip 4 let's go

Kinsee: All right. Ready? Let's go.

Jimmy: Vaminos!

Tulengua Alan side second crossing Clip 5 Getting ready to drive to the line Jimmy: Right now we are in this area. Yeah, we are at Colonia Federal. We just got some coffee. It's pretty good from Nativo Coffee Community. And we’re about to cross the border.

Alan: Crossing the border!

Natalie: Crossing the border!

Tulengua Alan side second crossing Clip 6 Crossing the border song I don't know maybe housing, but

it's going to be like two hours, my friend. You think? So say comparatively plus we're fun people.

BEAT fade

So…this second crossing attempt was shorter, but the border line was still pretty long….

I think there’s still longer lines right now because of a bottleneck of all those people like Jaime who haven’t been able to cross in almost two years….

Ambi up

Tulengua Alan side second crossing Clip 16 Line is long again Alan: Wow. Second take of trying to cross the border with Tulengua…Still super fucking long.

Kinsee: The challenges of having a binational band, huh?

Alan: Damn. Without Sentris.

Tulengua Alan side second crossing Clip 20 going far far back

We are going far….,. for this.

Kinsee: back, back, back.

Jimmy: It’s fine.

We did eventually make it through to the U.S…it took us about three hours…

Yeah…and actually Kisnee and I, who both have the sentri fast pass that allows you to cut the long line, ended up ditching you and running through the border traffic so we could go pee..

Yep, that happens to the best of us…

Anyway.. spending all that time in that border line with Jimmy that day….reminded me of pre-pandemic times…

Specifically, the huge role the actual border line and waiting in it has played when it comes to our cross-border band…

Tulengua Alan side second crossing clip 31 end second drop-in on line crossing here

Alan: One of my, one of my favorite things I'm remembering now about Tulenguia is that. Most of our bonding in the first like pre pandemic was in the borderline, like talking about most of the, like the ideas about Tulengua and, and dreams and like plans for the future where like actually waiting in line at the border because, you know, When we were getting to know each other, I mean, we bonded very quickly, immediately. As soon as we met, it was like, there was a familiar energy between us, but, you know, spending hours in the borderline together for, for a couple of years, we would just that's when you really like, get to know someone, cause you're just like, it's just, you just talk, you talk about your family, you just bullshit. You're just like, fuck around. Cause you got, cause you're bored, you know, and like, and dream about the future. And we would talk about Duolingo and like listen to our demos and listen to our songs all the time in the car being this cross border ban and like, you know, our music and our, I mean, our whole band formed because of the border and this desire to like, have a band that's from both sides of the border.


Tulengua First Live Show Shotgun mic walking into venue Tulengua First Live Show Shotgun mic clip 1 setup

Natalie: So we are right now at La Bella bookstore in Barrio Logan, and this is Soft U with Tulengua and a lot of artists who are going to sing and play music. And just heal our energies….


This was Tulengua’s first live show back together again.

Tulengua First Live Show Shotgun mic clip 2 first show talk Alan: We haven’t played a show together in two years. This is Tulengua plus Jacito…. a new member of the live group. So this is the first time we've been on stage together almost two years. A long time. So we're very lucky to be here.

Alan, it was mury pedo! I loved it!

Thank you! It felt…just…beyond words…so amazing to be back together…on stage again….


So…this episode wraps up our season on artists and musicians at the border…I hoped you enjoyed it. If you haven’t listened to the other episodes, go to port of entry pod dot org and get yourself caught up.

Today’s episode is also the last episode written and produced by Kinsee Morlan. She is moving on to a new job, and we’ll miss her, but we wish her all the best of the world.

It’s also our sound designer Emily Jankowski’s last show….she, too, is moving on and…the show just won’t be the same without her and her magic touch…

So yeah…with all this change, Port of Entry will pause for a bit as we figure out our future. But we promise we will be back, so don’t worry too much, ok?

Now…for our credits…Alisa Barba is our editor.

Lisa Morissette is operations manager…

and John Decker is the interim associate general manager of content.

Adrian Villalobos was our technical director for this episode.

This program is made possible (in part) by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people."

I'm Alan Lilienthal.

And I’m Natalie Gonzalez.

Live music applause

"Port of Entry" cohost Alan Lilienthal (center) and is Tulengua bandmates Jimmy Mora (left) and Amari Jordan are pictures in this photo taken in 2019.
"Port of Entry" cohost Alan Lilienthal (center) and is Tulengua bandmates Jimmy Mora (left) and Amari Jordan are pictures in this photo taken in 2019.

When COVID-19 rules prevented certain people from crossing the border, “Port of Entry” cohost Alan Lilienthal’s binational, bilingual band Tulengua got separated by the wall. How the partially closed border and the pandemic changed Alan and his bandmates Amari Jordan and Jimmy Mora forever.

Today’s story is the final episode in our “Port of Entry” season focused on artists and musicians who’ve turned pain into power.