Las Américas: Un mundo musical/The Americas: A Musical World
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2009 marked the final year of the Festival series Nuestra Música: Music in Latino Culture and the culmination of eight years of research that sent the Smithsonian team down several programmatic paths. Four Festival programs presented over 300 artists from the United States and Latin America (see also the 2004, 2005, and 2006 programs). The Smithsonian Folkways CD series that launched the Nuestra Música project, Tradiciones/Traditions, produced thirty recordings of grassroots música latina from Puerto Rico and nine countries: Chile, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Paraguay, the United States, and Venezuela. The first twenty-five recordings earned eight GRAMMY nominations and one Latin GRAMMY award. The online Smithsonian exhibition Música del Pueblo: A Smithsonian Virtual Exhibition offers more than two dozen videos, each with interpretive text, representing a broad swath of homegrown musical styles from Chicago hip-hop to Mexican mariachi to Chilean nueva canción to ancient ritual matachín dance from New Mexico, and much more in between.
Three fundamental principles shaped the overall Nuestra Música project and guided its final installment at the 2009 Festival. First is the notion that a musical tradition is larger than any one artist or ensemble. When accomplished traditional musicians perform, they embody knowledge, values, and practices that are grounded in and express a "cultural territory" of shared life experience, past and present. This territory is also an environment which, like our natural environment, may need to be consciously cared for and actively conserved. Second is the idea that traditional music's power comes from its relationship to the community. Music has meaning because people give it meaning, and in turn it awakens familiar feelings that move us and holds connotations that give us purpose. Many musicians consider their music to be an expression of cultural and social identity precisely because it carries the weight of many participants and contributors over time. And the third principle is that tradition always changes, either in its sound or in its meaning, for those who take part in it. Tradition may reflect societal change or be an agent of cultural change or social resistance.
Música latina is an expanding universe of styles and social meaning. New styles of music are created alongside older styles that remain. As the Latino world becomes more urban, more globalized, and saturated with popular media and profit-driven products, community-driven music often moves to the stage setting and gains a heightened role as art form, cultural icon, and social rallying force. Age-old music acquires newly constructed meanings at the same time that new creations take on the mantle of old functions. In the competitive and specialized modern context, instrumental virtuosity is on the rise, and many local, micro traditions fade away in the shadows. Music, as a form of heightened communication, lies at the forefront of cultural life; and traditional music, laden with its seasoned cultural values and its associations with an entire way of life, becomes a charged symbol of statehood, a means of social self-reliance, and a "cultural territory" of elevated consciousness. In times of wrenching social change, musical tradition evolves in order to stay "traditional" and remain a fully functioning part of community life. As agents of innovation and continuity, traditional musicians are rooted in the past, but look to the future - the future of their music and the future of their people. Festival visitors could experience directly how música latina serves as a source of cultural diversity, artistic creativity, social identity, and economic productivity in the Latino world.
Olivia Cadaval and Daniel Sheehy were Co-Curators and Cristina Díaz-Carrera was Program Coordinator. Patricia Abdelnour, Alejandra de la Paz, Vásquez Espinosa, Mónica Fernández de Soto, Dayana Frontado, Pedro Gabriel, María Reynoso León, Roberto Vásquez, and Denisse Yanovich served as Country Coordinators.
The program was produced with major support from the Smithsonian Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center. Donors included the Government of the Republic of Colombia, the Chevron Corporation, and the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the United States. The Embassy of Mexico, Government of the State of Veracruz, Government of the State of San Luis Potosí, the Mexican Cultural Institute, the National Ministry of Culture of the Dominican Republic, the National Ministry of Tourism of the Dominican Republic, Mariachi Chula Vista, and Fondo Cultural del Estado de Paraguay were contributors.
Patricia Abdelnour; Benito Irady, Centro de la Diversidad Cultural; Mark Fogelquist; Sydney Hutchinson; Daniel Sheehy
Patricia Abdelnour, Martín Andrade, Eduardo Díaz, James Counts Early, Mónica Fernández de Soto, Quetzal Flores, Mark Fogelquist, Dayana Frontado, León García, Martha González, Michael Mason, Russell Rodríguez, Daniel Sheehy, Monika Ingeri Therrien, Cynthia Vidaurri, Ranald Woodaman, Denisse Yanovich
Adalberto Cruz Álvarez and Jesús García -- Adalberto Cruz Álvarez and Jesús GarcíaAdalberto "Don Beto" Cruz Álvarez, 1926-, vocals, guitar, violin, Tucson, ArizonaJesús Manuel García Yanez, 1967-, guitar, Tucson, Arizona
Arpex -- ArpexMiguel "El Pollo" Prado Mora, 1980-, arpa grande, Atwater, CaliforniaArnoldo "Chino" Galván Segura, violinRomán Isabel "El Coyote" Ramos Gómez, 1972-, guitarra de golpe, Winton, CaliforniaJavier Valdovinos Acevedo, 1979-, vocals, Livingston, CaliforniaRafael Valdovinos Acevedo, 1982-, vocals, Atwater, California
Ecos de Borinquen -- Ecos de BorinquenMiguel A. Santiago Díaz, 1946-, leader, vocals, Comerío, Puerto RicoLuís Manuel Cruz Reyes, 1963-, bongos, Bayamón, Puerto RicoPedro Hieye Gonzáles, 1963-, first cuatro, Bayamón, Puerto RicoJosé A. Martínez, second cuatroHarry G. Meléndez Martínez, 1948-, güiro, Bayamón, Puerto RicoRamón Vázquez, guitar
Estrellas del Vallenato -- Estrellas del VallenatoIsaac Enrique Carrillo Vega, 1937-, vocalsJavier Enrique Gámez Brito, 1961-, accordionDaniel José Castilla Maestre, 1984-, cajaJaine José Maestre Socarrás, 1964-, guacharacaOrangel Maestre Socarrás, 1961-, accordionSigilfredo Rivera Peñalosa, 1968-, bass
Grupo Cuero, Madera y Costa CUMACO -- Grupo Cuero, Madera y Costa CUMACOJosé Ines Uribe Lira, 1956-, director, percussion, Maracay, Aragua, VenezuelaLuís Aponte, vocals, percussionCarmen Emilia Camacho Ferrer, 1965-, vocals, dance, Maracay, Aragua, VenezuelaCarlos José Celis Uribe, 1978-, percussion, Maracay, Aragua, VenezuelaRoger Alexander Hernández López, 1975-, percussion, Maracay, Aragua, VenezuelaFrancisco Lujano, 1968-, cuatro, vocals, Maracay, Aragua, VenezuelaJuan Hilario Pantoja Aguilar, 1961-, vocals, Maracay, Aragua, VenezuelaIsidro Salazar, percussionAtalia Angelina Uribe de Román, 1958-, vocals, dance, Maracay, Aragua, VenezuelaElsie Yosmeli Rivas, 1978-, vocals, dance, Maracay, Aragua, Venezuela
La India Canela -- La India CanelaLidia María Hernández López, director, accordion, vocals, Santiago, Dominican RepublicMartín Mercedes Abreu Mejía, 1978-, vocals, Santiago, Dominican RepublicKerlyn Rafael Coronado Reyes, 1988-, güiro, Santiago, Dominican RepublicFrancisco Dionisio Espinal Reyes, 1975-, conga drums, Santiago, Dominican RepublicJuan Pablo García Ramos, 1974-, vocals, Santiago, Dominican RepublicDioni Nuñez Nuñez, 1973-, guitarra de bajo, Santiago, Dominican RepublicCandido Iturbides Pérez Reynoso, 1967-, saxophone, Santiago, Dominican RepublicRoberto Carlos Rodríguez Díaz, tambora, Santiago, Dominican Republic
Los Camperos de Valles -- Los Camperos de VallesMarcos Hernández Rosales, leader, guitarra huapanguera, Ciudad Valles, San Luis Potosí, MexicoDolores García, 1984-, dancer, Richmond, CaliforniaArtemio Posadas Jiménez, 1948-, dancer, lyricist, San Jose, CaliforniaCamilo Ramírez Hernández, violinGregorio "Goyo" Solano Medrano, jarana
Los Texmaniacs -- Los TexmaniacsMax Baca, 1967-, bajo sexton, San Antonio, TexasDavid B. Farías, 1963-, accordion, San Antonio, TexasÓscar García, 1971-, bass, San Antonio, TexasLorenzo Chavez Martínez, 1967-, drums, Whittier, California
Maestros del Joropo Oriental -- Maestros del Joropo OrientalAquiles Báez, 1964-, guitar, Estado Falcon, VenezuelaLuís Beltrán Márquez, 1957-, vocals, Estado Sucre, VenezuelaRemigio Fuentes Natera, 1954-, bandolín, maracas, Estado Sucre, VenezuelaRoberto Carlo Koch Fernández, 1974-, bassJulián Laya, 1950-, caja, Municipio Baruta, VenezuelaHernán José Marín, 1940-, vocals, Estado Sucre, VenezuelaMónico Márquez, 1948-, cuereta, vocals, Municipio Baruta, VenezuelaJosé Dionisio Martínez Jiménez, 1940-, maracas, Caracas, VenezuelaAlfonso José Moreno Muñoz, 1952-, cuatro, Estado Sucre, VenezuelaMaríalejandra Orozco Veliz, 1986-, dancer, Caracas, VenezuelaJesús Enrique Rengel, 1962-, bandola, bandolín, Caracas, VenezuelaAlberto José Valderrama Patiño, 1949-, bandola, Nueva Esparta, Venezuela
Marcelo Rojas and Álvaro Marazzi -- Marcelo Rojas and Álvaro MarazziAquilo Marcelo Rojas Molinas, 1976-, Paraguayan harp, Asunción, ParaguayÁlvaro Marazzi, 1950-, guitar, Burke, Virginia
Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano -- Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati CanoNatividad "Nati" Cano, 1933-, leader, vihuela, Fillmore, CaliforniaJesús Guzmán, 1964-, director, violin, Pico Rivera, CaliforniaSergio Alonso, 1975-, arpa jaliscience, Sylmar, CaliforniaJimmy Kyle Cuéllar, 1982-, violin, Lakewood, CaliforniaRaul Cuéllar, 1976-, violin, Los Angeles, CaliforniaIsmael Hernández, 1969-, violin, Whittier, CaliforniaUbaldo Hernández, trumpetJuan Jiménez, 1962-, guitarrón, Pomona, CaliforniaJavier Rodríguez, 1969-, trumpet, Los Angeles, California
Radio Bilingüe -- Radio BilingüeChelis López, hostKenneth Mason, sound engineerSamuel Orozco, 1955-, executive producer, Oakland, CaliforniaTamara Orozco, 1981-, production assistant, photographer, Brooklyn, New YorkHéctor Valdez, 1964-, reporter, associate producer (WLCH, Radio Centro, Lancaster, Pennsylvania), Petersburg, PennsylvaniaCoordinating Team in Fresno, California:María de Jesús Gómez, station relationsJorge Ramírez, studio engineerSarah Shakir, producer
Son de Madera -- Son de MaderaRamón Gutiérrez Hernández, director, guitarra de sonNatalia Arroyo Rodríguez, violinRubí del Carmen Oseguera Rueda, 1976-, tarimaJuan A. Pérez, 1975-, bass, Los Angeles, CaliforniaRubén Vázquez Domínguez, arpa jarochaJosé Tereso Vega Hernández, jarana
Viento de Agua -- Viento de AguaHéctor René "Tito" Matos Otero, 1968-, director, lead vocals, pandereta-requinto, tumbandero, barril de bomba-buleador, minor percussion, dancer, San Juan, Puerto RicoGuillermo Cubero Roldán, 1968-, minor percussion, pandereta-seguidor, vocals, Carolina, Puerto RicoLuis Figueroa, 1967-, vocals, pandereta-requinto, minor percussion, San Juan, Puerto RicoJuan Emilio Martínez Román, 1960-, güiro, minor percussion, pandereta, Vega Baja, Puerto RicoJoksan Ramos, 1970-, pandereta-seguidor, minor percussion, barril de bomba-buleador, Carolina, Puerto RicoErik Noel Rosado, 1966-, vocals, barril de bomba-subidor, minor percussion, pandereta-punteador, Carolina, Puerto Rico
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Smithsonian Folklife Festival records: 2009 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.