Tuesday, March 22, 2016

César Chávez Day Celebration March 31


 “Si se puede!” the slogan of the United Farm Workers (which was used by Barack Obama in his presidential campaigns) has been a rallying cry for the farm workers for decades. Tonight we salute those who grow and harvest our crops, and the organization created by Cesar Chavez in 1962 to organize workers for better working conditions and a living wage. Or, as the UFW puts it, “to provide farm workers and other working people with the inspiration and tools to share in society’s bounty.” The struggle for that goal continues, and as we salute Chavez’s crucial role on this day, Cascada de Flores provides music for listening, dancing, and organizing!

The lively Mexican music band Cascada de Flores (Cascade of Flowers) features singer Arwen Lawrence and guitarist Jorge Liceaga, who are well-known not only for their stage shows for grown-ups, but also for award-winning children’s concerts. They are joined by Miguel Govea (of La Familia Peña-Govea). For all ages they combine a wide range of regional Mexican styles, classic songs, and some originals. Their songs speak of the diversity of roots in Mexico and Mexicans in the U.S. and of indigenous, Spanish, and African roots.

Mexican poet Rafael Jesús González, whose moving reflections on the American “standard of living” have touched lives coast to coast, will read from his works with flautist Gerardo Omar Marín. Named a "Remarkable Californian" by the Museum of California, González is a passionate voice for freedom and his commentaries often are stinging rebukes to American assumptions.

The joyful music making of La Familia Pena-Govea began over 30 years ago as a simple family pastime. Mother and father and two daughters have since brought their gift to venues as varied as Davies Symphony Hall and San Quentin Prison, from the streets of Bakersfield to the pubs of Donegal, and to countless festivals, weddings, baptisms, funerals, libraries, classrooms, hospital wards, and backyard barbecues. Their infectious music raises the spirits, and creates an irresistable urge to dance and sing and join in the fun. Named "a cultural voice in the Bay Area" by Latin Beat Magazine, the members of La Familia Peña-Goveasing play traditional Mexican, American, Tex-Mex and Colombian music, including: rancheras, polkas, valses, vallenatos, boleros, danzónes, chachas, and cumbias. 

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