Chicago, IL (Top40 Charts/ Sones de Mexico Ensemble)
Juan Díes, a folklorist/ethnomusicologist and co-founder of GRAMMY Nominated Sones de Mexico Ensemble, will be curating an exhibition that will feature Latino
artists from Ohio and the Midwest. The exhibition, called "Latino Ohio," is part of the Cityfolk Festival 2012, an annual 3-day, multicultural music, dance and arts event in Dayton, Ohio, June 29-July 1.
In 2009, Díes conducted a survey of Latino
artists in Ohio for the Ohio Arts Council, spotlighting gifted folk artists from around the state. Some of his work is featured in the Ohio Traditions website ohiofolkarts.org. For Latino
Ohio, Díes selected artists who preserve folk traditions from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Panama, Argentina and Peru. The exhibition will feature interactive displays of mural art, traditional costumes, ceramic and stone work, tea preparation and migrant foodways, masks, cut paper art, yarn sculptures, sawdust carpets, and Day of the Dead traditions.
Festival visitors will be able to participate in the making of a variety of Latino
folk arts and crafts, allowing them to have real hands-on cultural experience, all while enjoying the sounds of traditional Latin music. Curator Juan Díes says, "One of my favorite aspects of this year's exhibition is how interactive it will be. We are so used to watching exhibitions through glass panes and not touching the displays, but this time it will not be like that. The Latino
Ohio artists are eager to share their culture. They are preparing hands-on activities that will give everyone a chance to participate. I've always believed that the best way to learn culture and to demystify cultural differences is to immerse yourself."
Ohio exhibition has influence even beyond the festival. This year, the Cityfolk Festival is working closely with the "Welcome Dayton: Immigrant Friendly City" initiative, a move to raise awareness of the benefits of a culturally and economically diverse community, by focusing on Ohio's large and growing Latino
population. "We bring music from all over the world and make it a part of Dayton," says Kathleen Alter, Executive Director
Sones de Mexico Ensemble, the group that Dies co-founded in Chicago
18 years ago, will also perform three times at the festival. They will do a one-hour live broadcast performance at 9pm Eastern on WYSO 91.3FM Public Radio's "Midnight Ramble" streaming on http://www.wyso.org/.
The festival will take place on Friday, June 29th 6-11 P.M. Saturday, June 30th 1-11 P.M. and Sunday, July 1st 1-10:30 P.M. in downtown Dayton's RiverScape MetroPark along the Great Miami River.
Ohio will be located in a large tent on St. Clair Street between Monument and First Streets
from 1-6 pm on both Saturday and Sunday. Latino
Ohio will close Sunday afternoon with a session featuring Sones de Mexico Ensemble. At 5 P.M. Juan Dies will lead Beyond the Music: A Musical Geography of Mexico, a lecture/demo, developed in part by a grant form the National Endowment for the Arts, that will take the audience on a musical journey through regional styles of Mexican music that are part of the band's deep repertoire.
A schedule for the Latino
Ohio stage and bios on the participating artists is available at http://www.cityfolk.org/festival/2012/matcult.htm
ABOUT JUAN DIES: Juan Díes is a Mexican-American folklorist/ethnomusicologist, musician, producer and arts administrator based in Chicago. In 1994, he co-founded Sones de Mexico Ensemble with other talented musicians and educators, and has produced most the band's studio albums. Díes majored in anthropology and music at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana and earned an M.A. in folklore and ethnomusicology from the Indiana University Folklore Institute
in Bloomington, Indiana. He worked as Director
of Community Programs at the Old Town School of Folk Music
for 13 years and developed programs and strategies to reach ethnically diverse audiences. He worked as research curator for the 2006 Smithsonian Folklife Festival "Nuestra Música: Latino Music
in Chicago" exhibition in Washington, DC, and he conducted regional surveys identifying and documenting Latino
folk artists for local agencies in Maryland, New England, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Ohio. Juan's present work with Sones de Mexico Ensemble demonstrates not only artistic excellence but also a deep commitment to community work and education.
ABOUT SONES DE MEXICO ENSEMBLE: The Sones de México Ensemble made its first public appearance in 1994 at an art gallery in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood, commemorating the death of Mexican land-rights revolution hero Emiliano Zapata. Through the years, the ensemble has amassed a large collection of folk musical instruments from Mexico's diverse local cultures using it to interpret music from different regions of the country. Today, the ensemble has toured extensively, and through its own non-profit organization has taught thousands of school children and adults across the nation about the riches of Mexican music, dance, and culture. The ensemble consists of six members: Victor Pichardo (music director), Juan Dies, Lorena Iñiguez, Juan Rivera, Zacbe Pichardo, and Javier Saume.
ABOUT CITYFOLK: Cityfolk shares diverse artistic traditions from across America and around the world with the communities of Southwest Ohio. We accomplish this by: Presenting the best in ethnic and traditional arts;
Celebrating diverse cultures and promoting cross-cultural understanding; Building partnerships and collaboration; Educating person of all ages.
ABOUT WELCOME DAYTON: The Welcome Dayton: Immigrant Friendly City initiative is a consensus of the goals and recommendations of over 100 individuals and representatives of a wide array of immigrant, public, and private groups who voluntarily came together to discuss how to engage our new residents in revitalizing our neighborhoods, building our population and strengthening our economic base.