Celebrating Words: Written, Performed & Sung

This past June 24, Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural organized the first "Celebrating Words: Written, Performed & Sung" festival in the culturally-neglected neighborhood of Sylmar in the city of Los Angeles. With support from the Youth Policy Institute and LA City Councilman Alex Padilla's Office (and funded by the city's Department of Cultural Affairs), we were able to get a few hundred people to enjoy the poets, spoken word performers, musicians, and bands that played on the stage -- and to see and buy art works, jewelry, T-shirts, books, and tamales from our vendors.

Our sister organization, Tia Chucha's Cafe & Bookstore, had three tables of books, in English and Spanish, to make sure the community had access to literature, words, poetry, and stories to complement the wonderful voices and sounds on stage that included the bands Quetzal, Upground, and Noxdiel. We also had music from Alfredo Hidalgo and Big Joe Hurt, conscious Hip Hop from El Vuh and the Hazze Hip Hop Dream Center, and poetry from D-Lo, Tia Chucha Press author ariel robello, Poets of the Roundtable (Mike the Poet and the Bus Stop Prophet), Tezozomoc, and yours truly.

The whole event was blessed by Tia Chucha's very own Aztec Dance group, Cuauh Temach Totecayotl.

Held in Sylmar Park, I heard comments from a couple of local residents who said they'd live in the area for many years, and never saw such a wonderful celebration at the park. We want to make this an annual event. Already we've received Department of Cultural Affairs' funding for next year.

We are also glad to announce our free Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural's Summer Music Program, partially funded by the Attias Family Foundation and sponsored by the Department of Cultural Affairs Music LA program. This year we will offer workshops in Conga, Piano, Harmonica, DJ/Mixing, Son Jarocho, Folk Guitar, Classical Guitar, Contemporary Guitar, Indigenous Drumming, West African Drumming, and more.

For more information, call (818) 754-2402, write to centroemail@aol.com, or go to www.myspace.com/tiachuchascentro.

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