By Ricky Richardson | Contributing Writer
(Los Angeles, Ca.)- This is the season for live outdoor music concerts, events and festivals. Hoping that you have been able to get out to enjoy the many options available for the many free, family friendly events around the Greater Los Angeles area.
Esperanza Community Housing Corporation presented the 2nd Annual South Central Innervision: An AfroLatinx-Futurism. This wonderful event returned for another engaging, entertaining, empowering and encouraging cultural celebration. This was a fantastic daylong pop-up immersive, multidisciplinary arts festival curated to interpret & reflect upon the historical and future relational nature of Black and Brown power and to explore the Black/Latinx imagination.
Several hundred people from a diverse, multicultural background, was in attendance for the festival on Saturday, July 23rd at Mercado La Paloma, 3655 South Grand Avenue, from 2:00pm-9:00pm. Damon Turner and Roberto Carlos served as host and master of ceremonies of the festival.
South Central Innervision: An AfroLatinx Futurism socially and culturally engages audiences through participatory dialogue, social dance, theater, visual art, place, and music. Embodying how racial and ethnic demographic shifts-and the search for identity and belonging-are dramatically shaping American cities around the country.
DJ Zurie played a soundtrack of danceable rhythms of the diaspora to compliment the show and enhance the crowds’ enjoyment of the festival. The dance floor was in constant use as people grooved to the beats between live performances.
ABC + Ensemble, featuring Chris Wood, Stephanie Matthews, Lor Ann Estevez and Adrienne Wood. They were brilliant with their classical performance of “Lowrider” by War, “Eine Kleine Nach Muzik,” a popular composition by Mozart. The title means a little night music in German. The group continued with “Hoedown” by Aaron Copeland from the musical Rodeo. They honored the legacy of African American composer William Grant Stills, performing the 3rd movement of The Lyric Quartet (The Jovial One). Chris Wood showcased his composition “Transcendance 1” and concluded their set with “Oye Como Va” written by Tito Puente, and performed by Carlos Santana.
Nadia Calmet is a professional Peruvian Folk Dance Artist, specializing in Afro-Peruvian Dances. She presented a colorful, vibrant Afro-Peruvian experience featuring drumming and dancing.
Nikki Campbell uses the drums to express her unique Afro Caribbean Panamanian lineage, extend a large legacy of women drumming in the African diasporic traditions, and celebrate the intense study of rhythm. Nikki Campbell & Puentes de Poder presented another captivating performance of Afro Panamanian and African drumming, coupled with Afro Cuban drumming and dancing featuring Kati Hernandez with special guests Jorge Luis Fernandez and Indira Mora Cueto from Cuba.
They opened their set with “Calabash Intro” with Onyi speaking and singing to honor our Ancestors and to give words of encouragement of generations to follow. You could feel the presence of the Spirits throughout their set on “Osun,” “Yemaya,” and “Makuta.” They continued their riveting performance with “Rumba,” “Cumbia Congo,” “Wasalonka (drum call), “Djaa,” “B.I.,” featuring Sunu, and concluding their set with a medley “Kawa,” “Kassa,” and “Kuku.” the crowd didn’t want their set to end.
Brasil Brazil, vocalists Ana Gazzola and Sonia Santos performed a crowd pleasing set of Brazilian music in aa variety of styles. They opened their set with “Aquarela do Brazil,” followed by “Mais Que Nada.” They incorporated snippets of the tune “Hit the Road Jack” as they continued their musical journey through Brazil.
Mexico68 AfroBeat Orchestra and Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca closed out the festival with an awesome, memorable performance.
The festival engaging exhibition, La Plaza and the Porch: Freedom Dreaming repurposes a parking lot into a historical & current community space within a liberating, speculative imagination. Artists were able to reflect upon the exhibition theme and incorporate into their practice. The public were able to participate in the AfroLatinx-Futuristic spaces of solidarity, refuge & sharing in a safe space.
Participating Freedom Dreamers: Jorge Rojas, Chelo Montoya (Crop Collective), Self Help Graphics, LA Commons, AfroUnidad, City Hearts, Reparations Club, South Central Arts, LACMA, Esperanza Community Housing Corporation and La Plaza de Cultura Y Artes.
Founded in 1989 to address displacement and housing insecurity in South Los Angeles, Esperanza Community Housing Corporation has grown into a multi-faceted and nationally recognized social justice organization, engaged in comprehensive community development through core programs areas: housing, health, arts and culture, economic development, and environmental justice. Esperanza Community Housing Corporation works collaboratively through partnerships to strengthened our neighborhood. In all their actions, Esperanza builds hope with the community. https://www.esperanzacommunityhousing.org