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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.
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
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Smithsonian Folklife Festival records: 2005 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.