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Nuestra Música: Music in Latino Culture

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Collection Creator:
Smithsonian Institution. Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage  Search this
Archival materials
The title of the Nuestra Música program - "Our Music" - conveys two meanings. One is the feeling of closeness that Latinos who share life experiences, values, and perhaps language feel when they say, "This is our music." The other meaning, underscored by the symbol-charged setting of the National Mall in the nation's capital around the Independence Day holiday, is that música latina is a defining piece of our nation's living cultural heritage. The 2005 installment of Nuestra Música presented a series of evening concerts showcasing a variety of Latino musical styles and cultures and exploring the theme "Music Builds Community" (see also the 2004 2006 and 2009 programs). The 2005 program explored how Latinos have used music to persevere as mexicanos, Chicanos, puertorriqueños, Newyoricans, cubanos, salvadoreños, centroamericanos, dominicanos, colombianos, Latinos, or another self-proclaimed label, in the mass-media-driven, multicultural society of the United States. The larger purposes over the four years of this project (2004-2007) were to spotlight grassroots música latina's beauty, texture, and centrality to our nation's cultural core and to explore the many shades of meaning that Latinos give music. The special focus of the 2005 program was how Latinos use music and the values it carries to build a coherent, positive sense of community among people of specific cultural backgrounds and among the Latino population as a whole. Through the musical windows on culture that the Nuestra Música program presented and explored, visitors could find the fullest meaning of music. This meaning goes far beyond mere sounds; it goes to the heart of personal and social identity, to issues of survival for immigrant communities adjusting to alien social environments, to constructing a new spirit of community in an ever-evolving world. Music carries knowledge, meaning, affect, and spirit because people have endowed it with these assets, because they consider it essential to envisioning and living a normal life in which they are genuinely themselves. Creative musicians and communities constantly construct new meanings for music, meaning that serves a social purpose as well as an aesthetic one. Nuestra Música offered visitors to this "living exhibition" on the National Mall the opportunity to meet the musicians and to learn more about the world of meaning behind the sounds, as well as to sing the songs, to dance to the rhythms, and to experience the panorama of diverse expressions we call música latina. Olivia Cadaval and Daniel Sheehy were Curators; Cristina Díaz-Carrera was Program Coordinator; Nilda Villalta was Research Associate; and Russell Rodríguez was Presenter. This program was generously funded by the Smithsonian Latino Initiatives Fund, NEXTEL, Joyce Foundation, and Univision and was produced in collaboration with the Cultural Institute of Mexico and the Ministry of External Relations of Mexico, with media support from Radio Bilingüe.
Participants Los Camperos de Valles, San Juan Potosí, Mexico Marcos Hernández Rosales, 1951-, leader, huapanguera Dolores García, 1984-, dance Joel Monroy Martínez, 1949-, violin, vocals Artemio Posadas, 1948-, composer, dance Gregorio "Goyo" Solano Medrano, 1955-, jarana, vocals Ecos de Borinquen, Puerto Rico Miguel A. Santiago Díaz, 1946-, leader, composer, singer Luis Manuel Cruz Reyes, 1963-, bongos Karol Aurora de Jesús Reyes, 1985-, singer Jose Delgado Serrano, 1975-, first cuatro Pablo Figueroa Villalobos, 1937-, güiro José A. Martínez Zayas, 1960-, second cuatro Harry Meléndez Martínez, 1948-, chorus, small percussion Ramón Vázquez Lamboy, 1961-, guitar Eliseo y su Chanchona Melódica Oriental, Washington, D.C. Eliseo Gutiérrez, 1956-, leader, bass Manuel Enrique Alberto, 1960-, vocals, güiro Terencio Cabrera, 1949-, first violin Joel Cruz, 1980-, guitar Pedro Ángel Gutiérrez, 1949-, second violin Mario Mercado, 1965-, tumbas Luis Sáenz, 1964-, timbales JCJ Band, Washington, D.C. Carlos Camilo Toledo, 1959-, leader, bass Anthony Carr, saxophone Félix Carrera, trumpet Walter J. Durán, percussion Ely A. Hernández, trumpet Luis Hernández, vocals Nelson Medina, piano Salvador E. Montoya, saxophone Giovanni Marcelo, percussion András Parra, vocals René E. Sandoval, percussion Luis E. Villeda, vocals Los Pleneros de la 21, New York Roberto Cepeda, 1954-, güiro, maracas, dance Miriam Félix, 1960-, bomba dance, chorus Juan Gutiérrez, 1951-, pandereta, barriles de bomba, timbale, percussion, chorus Julia Loíza Gutiérrez-Rivera, 1982-, bomba dance José Lantigua, 1953-, piano, synthesizer, chorus Hector "Tito" Matos, 1968-, vocals, chorus, panderetas, barriles de bomba, cuá Edgardo Miranda, 1952-, acoustic and electric cuatro Camilo Ernesto Molina Gaetan, 1990-, güiro, maracas, pandereta, barriles de bomba, timbale, chorus Donald Nicks, 1953-, electric bass, string bass José A. Rivera, 1957-, vocals, chorus, pandereta, barriles de bomba Nellie Tanco, 1947-, vocals, chorus Sam Charles Tanco, 1941-, vocals, chorus Sones de México, Chicago, Illinois Renata Cerón, 1978-, vocals, accordion, jarocho, violin, saxophone Juan Díes, vocals, guitarrón Lorena Íñiguez, 1976-, vihuela, jarana, small percussion Joel R. Martínez, 1972-, drums, percussion Victor Pichardo, 1961-, vocals, huapanguera, jarana, guitar, clarinet José Juan Rivera, 1977-, vocals, requinto, violin
Collection Restrictions:
Access by appointment only. Where a listening copy or viewing copy has been created, this is indicated in the respective inventory; additional materials may be accessible with sufficient advance notice and, in some cases, payment of a processing fee. Older papers are housed at a remote location and may require a minimum of three weeks' advance notice and payment of a retrieval fee. Certain formats such as multi-track audio recordings and EIAJ-1 videoreels (1/2 inch) may not be accessible. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at 202-633-7322 or for additional information.
Collection Rights:
Copyright and other restrictions may apply. Generally, materials created during a Festival are covered by a release signed by each participant permitting their use for personal and educational purposes; materials created as part of the fieldwork leading to a Festival may be more restricted. We permit and encourage such personal and educational use of those materials provided digitally here, without special permissions. Use of any materials for publication, commercial use, or distribution requires a license from the Archives. Licensing fees may apply in addition to any processing fees.
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Folklife Festival records: 2005 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
CFCH.SFF.2005, Series 4
See more items in:
Smithsonian Folklife Festival records: 2005 Smithsonian Folklife Festival
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections