As part of their Save LA Murals campaign, the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) is having a fundraiser with a suggested donation of ten dollars from 7:30-10 PM on Saturday, May 23rd, at 685 Venice Blvd, Venice, CA (Old Venice Jail), SPARC’s historic headquarters since 1977. “Planet Siqueiros Peña” presents the lively son jarocho of “Conjunto Jardin.”
The Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) presents the fifth 2009 installment of the “Planet Siqueiros Peña” series. This monthly space provides a unique blend of socially conscious traditional world music, contemporary musical styles and spoken word.
On Saturday, May 23rd, at 685 Venice Blvd, Venice, CA (Old Venice Jail), SPARC’s historic headquarters since 1977, “Planet Siqueiros Peña” presents the lively son jarocho of “Conjunto Jardin.” Son jarocho, one of the most vital and energetic styles of Mexican folk music, comes from the state of Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico. A key port for five centuries, the city of Veracruz was the point of entry for cultural influences from Africa and the old world. This vibrant musical style has roots in Mexico’s three cultures – Spanish, African and indigenous.
The Los Angeles-based Conjunto Jardín features sisters Libby and Cindy Harding on the traditional jarana, a small strummed rhythm guitar, and requinto, a 4-string lead guitar plucked with a long bone pua or pick. Their sibling vocals ride atop hard-charging jaranas, driving cajón-and-bass rhythm section and sparkling harp-like keyboards to create a fresh, modern sound that is at once faithfully traditional, yet at the same time possessed of a rock-influenced drive and accessible edge. Another core member of the group is keyboardist Gary Johnson on incredible keyboard-harp simulations as well as donkey jawbone, tambourine and jarana. Other members of the group are master Peruvian cajonero Gino Gamboa, bass player Rick Moors and Jorge Mijangos who sings and plays jarana, Leona, Cuban trés and percussion. The group was nominated for Best Latin/Salsa Artist in the 2003 L.A. Weekly Music Awards, and is the recipient of an L.A. Treasures Award from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. The musical night begins with Hector Marquez and Marisol, extraordinary voices that claim for social justice, followed by Salvadorian refugee and poet, Maria Guardado. Tamales and drinks will be available during the intermission.
The name of SPARC’s latest community cultural endeavor, the “Planet Siqueiros Peña,” is inspired by the revolutionary Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros and the South American musical Peñas that produced a wave of music that took old rhythms to express new realities. Historically, the Peña movement emerged during the 1960’s in Chile and in Argentina in times when oppressive military governments did not allow artists to assemble. They were safe spaces that began in private homes where poets and musicians would discretely come together to share food and wine along with their songs of despair and hope. During the following decades, forced into exile, many musicians moved north bringing the Peña spirit with them.
For more information, please go to www.sparcmurals.org or call 310/822-9560
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