Tribute to a Latin American Icon

by Tania Flores

The words and melodies of Facundo Cabral have haunted me for almost a year now, surging and welling up in me on days when I can feel wistfulness in my muscles and the folds of my skin tingle with the touch of fabric or the cool wooden surface of my desk. I could not stop listening to “No soy de aquí, ni soy de allá” after discovering this recording, could not help but sink into the song, the back of my throat prickling.

Cabral’s words, the tension between the verses of his songs, have the capacity to evoke visceral responses; Cabral touched on what was palpable, present, and sensory, the details that constitute what is pleasurable in life. His music articulated a simple and abiding love of life, a love of the experience of being human, as well as distaste for the excess and infrastructure and false needs that distance us from that experience. read more

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In the Western Sahara, Music is a Bridge


by Washington Quezada

In 1975, Spain abandoned its position as colonizer of the African Northwest, producing an intense instability among the people in the region. Morocco took advantage of this situation by invading the land that belonged to the Saharawi people, who had to live from then on in refugee camps in Algeria. Mariem Hassan, who had been part of the clandestine parties celebrating Saharawi culture during the Spanish colonial period, became a messenger for her people, communicating the living conditions they suffered, isolated in the refugee camps. She traveled with a group of musicians to let the world know about the Saharawi situation. read more

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Musicians Reflect their Roots in Lumbalú

 

by Washington Quezada

( lu =collective, mbalu = melancholy in the Bantu Africana language)

Lumbalu are the funeral ritual chants used by the community of African descent in San Basilio de Palenque in Northern Colombia.

With this same name, there is also a musical group founded in 1984 by a group of young people interested in their roots. The members of Lumbalú started a field study of traditional music and dances from the Afro-Colombian communities on the coasts of their country. Learning from the masters, they began making their own presentations, and thanks to the support of the people who listened to them, they became a musical group on their own. Already with the name of Lumbalú, they recorded their first album, “Fandango Alegre,” in 1993, and in 1997 the second one called, “Balada de un tambor sobre el mapa del caribe.” read more

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La Chilena and the Dancing Bull

by Lindajoy Fenley

April 9, 2011

Most tourists in Mexico never go south of Acapulco, but that’s the beginning of the Costa Chica, a little-traveled region I had long dreamt of exploring. Last December, I finally went, spending two weeks searching for musical traditions unique to the region along the Pacific Coast of Guerrero and Oaxaca states.

At the end of my first-ever sojourn into the region, I regretted not seeing the flirtatious chilena dance more than once. I had been too shy to take out my camera the first day of my trip when I had happened upon a small roadside celebration where women danced the chilena. I thought I’d see the dance again, but hadn’t. As I left the region, I stopped in Chilpancingo, the capital of Guerrero, to see a pre-Christmas parade of music and dance each year that attracts musicians and dancers from throughout the state. read more

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Chico State Spanish Major Examines Language in Music Musical Linguistics

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by Alfredo Oropeza

Since I was a small child I have loved music. It didn’t matter what kind of music it was or where it came from; if it was something that sounded interesting to me and had good rhythm, I would play it. Thanks to the Spanish linguistics class that I took at Chico State, I have learned new things about the music I love.

For instance, now that I have studied the varieties of Spanish spoken throughout the world, I can differentiate between a Caribbean and an Argentinean singer. It fascinates me how I have been able to combine something that I’ve learned in a linguistics class with the pastime that I love so much: listening to music. read more

Afromestizo Musical Tradition Falters

In her third in a series of reports from Mexico, Lindajoy Fenley explores the Afromestizo traditions of southern Mexico’s Costa Chica that includes parts of the states of Guerrero and Oaxaca.


               video by Lindajoy Fenley

by Lindajoy Fenley

Silvestre Tiburcio Noyola is one of the few remaining son de artesa musicians on the Costa Chica of southern Mexico. I recently sat with Tiburcio in his front yard in the dusty town of San Nicolas Tolontino near Cuajinicuilapa, Guerrero, on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. “You don’t know my life story,” he said, and then, as if he could summarize it this way, he added, “In 2001, I won the Premio Nacional [the national award for science and the arts.]” read more

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