Splendid Programs About the African Diaspora
Museum of Latin American Art celebrated Black History Month with an Afro-Latino Festival
Ricky Ricardo, Contributing Writer
In recognition of African-American History Month, the Museum of Latin American Art( MOLAA), hosted its annual Afro-Latino Festival, Sunday, February 17, 2013. This popular event celebrated African Heritage in Latin America through captivating storytelling, movement and music. Every year I look forward to the Target Free Sundays @ MOLAA Afro-Latino Festival. The crowd and I was entertained and enlightened about the African diaspora through splendid programs at Museum of Latin American Art.
Published on LatinoLA: February 18, 2013
On Saturday afternoon, two back to back radio programs on KPFK 90.7, set the tone for my enjoyment of this wonderful event. DJ Nnamdi Moweta host of Radio Afrodicia broadcasted his show live from the Museum of Latin American Art on Saturday afternoon with a set of music from Africa, Belize, Brazil, just to name a few.
Tanya Mayahuel Torres, host of Canto Sin Frontera, gave me a better understanding and deeper appreciation of African influences on music of the Americas during her informative program. She spoke about the various genres of music with African influences from the countries of Cuba, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico and Uruguay, to name a few, during her entertaining two hour program.
The celebration was held in the Robert Gumbiner Sculpture Garden on a beautiful, cool and breezy afternoon.The perimeter of the Garden was lined up with crafts vendors, along with booths for face paintings and art workshops. Several food trucks were also on location. This event was free and open to the public, thanks to a grant from Target Corporation, for sponsoring Target Free Sundays@MOLAA.
There was story time for children in the Screening Room. Vocalist Tony Taylor performed "Ofelas Last Tango", a song from his CD, which is a new genre of music from Argentina entitled Tango Alma/Tango Soul.
Baba the Storyteller got the program under way with some exciting storytelling of Africa with music. Baba told his stories while playing the African harp/kora. Baba sang in Bamana, a language of Mali, West Africa. Baba spoke to the audience in both English and Spanish. His stories, are based on African folklore, they have a Universal appeal. The first story was about being careful for what you wish for, and the other one was either about being yourself, or not trying to grow up too fast.
The programs segued to Brazil for the next group. The Mandingueiro Capoeira Academy (pictured) showcased a different type of storytelling through centuries old form of Brazilian Martial Arts-Capoeira led by Professor Mosquito. The audience, ages from ten months on up to "Young at Heart" were spellbound by the acrobatic movements of the agile members of this group during their program of Samba de roda and maculele. The group moved to the sounds of the berimbau, pandeiros, atabaque de corda, agogo and ganza.
Closing out the program were the Lidereibugu Garifuna Ensemble. Lidereibugu means "Powerful" in Garifuna language. This is a traditional and contemporary cultural, vocal, dance and drumming group based in Los Angeles. They were outfitted in traditional Garifuna clothings. Three drummers accompanied the group playing the primero and segundo drums.They performed a set of Central American dance and music representing Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
The Museum of Latin American art is located at 628 Alamitos Ave,Long Beach, CA 90802. You can reach the museum by calling (562) 437-1689 or visit their online website at www.molaa.org to learn about current exhibits and upcoming programs and events.
Ricky Ricardo, Contributing Writer:
Ricky Ricardo is a Southern California based music reviewer, writer and photographer with an emphasis on World music.