#CommunityDialogue: A Sit Down with Buddha AKA BuddhaFunk


Written by Carlos Contreras.

Glenn BuddhaFunk Benavidez is a seasoned musician with a heart for collaboration and community. I’ve known Buddha as they and we call him, for the better part of a decade at this point. When I drummed up the idea for this project, #CommunityDialogue, a project focusing on creative folks of all kinds in Burque, I figured what better way to do this then to do it while enjoying a beverage in one of the many places we all go to wind down, Albuquerque’s brewery scene…

Once all those decisions were made, and I committed to the idea of kicking this thing off – I knew Buddha was the right first choice.

We sat down and talked about family, community, fear, failure, and this beautiful city of ours.

For working artists, fear is a real thing – failure and success often mean paying the rent and keeping the lights on, or not. When talking about the life of a musician and what it takes to keep money in the bank and food on his family’s plates, Buddha said, “My biggest challenge is being able to take care of my family.  I want to make sure I can provide and care for my wife and daughter the best I can.”

Family is important to Buddha – growing up he can point to his parents as being part of what kept his fire burning. “My parents have supported and inspired me,” he said –  “My wife and daughter continue to inspire me to never give up.  Fans of the music I play have inspired me with their stories of how music that I have been involved with helped them with their lives.  This keeps me going on my path with music.”

And going he is – hopefully not gone soon, being that Burque can often be a launching pad for bigger and better things for artists and musicians. We hope that Buddha will remain a homegrown talent. In being the talented being that he is, he has woven himself into the fabric that is the Albuquerque music scene, he spoke to that a bit – the excitement and energy he gains when given an opportunity to create with others.

“When I am working on music with my band Reviva or with others I love the collaboration process of it all.  I feel like musicians have a fingerprint of how they play and how they write.  In this process, I learn the most from other musicians ideas.  I also work through my instrumental parts of the music to best accompany the others around me to make a solid unified sound,” said Benavidez.

Buddha and his bandmates might not always understand what they are doing for a city like ours. Days and nights are hard right now. Albuquerque is experiencing heightened crime, less access than arguably ever to needed resources, and the discomfort and uncertainty that often comes with transition. Music can take away some of the stress, pain, and worry, at least temporarily. That being said, it’s not like folks like Benavidez don’t see the scene around them, they just aim to create one sonically that we can all escape to for a bit.

I welcomed us back to our stark reality and asked Buddha to talk about Burque and his opinions surrounding current state of things.  He said, “one of the biggest problems I see our community facing is the lack of art and music in the school system.  I hear of these programs being cut out here and there and it makes me sad.  I feel like these programs in the school systems are very important to the development of our children’s minds.”

Aside from our obvious short coming with Albuqurque’s youth, Benavidez touched on another obvious and important situation in regards to Albuquerque’s “un-sheltered” populations.  “There are a lot of people hurting right now due to homelessness.  It seems on every corner there is someone in need of help.  I see homeless vets and homeless disabled people all around our city.  I have made some friends with the homeless community in the downtown area and I see how much help they really do need.  I would like to see our city embrace this need to help instead of ignoring or hiding from this problem,” said Benavidez.

It’s likely not surprising to some that Benavidez an active musician in the Albuquerque community has a pulse on what matters and needs attention most. Such is the point and aim of this here series. #CommunityDialogue is intent on creating a conversation around Albuquerque’s creatives. Do you know a thinker? A doer? A painter? A poet? Someone who cares and has something to say? Let’s chat. Ideas come from conversation, shared and often times different perspectives.

We finished our chat with Buddha ending on the positive side – talking about what he finds encouraging and exciting about Albuquerque, while asking him to do a bit of encouraging himself. He said, “Burque has a variety of events and things to do.  Our music scene is one of the best in country in my opinion.  There are great local artists of all kinds doing there thing on a daily basis.  Go check out a local brewery and I am sure you will find an event you will enjoy. Go to a local event whether it be music or art.  Buy local from the variety of many local businesses that are around.  If we support each other locally we will grow to be a strong community.” You heard the man – get out and do something, talk to someone, and be the change you want to see in Albuquerque.