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EMERGENCY FUNDRAISER for Victims of Fire in Valparaíso, Chile. Sunday, April 27th, 3:00 PM to 9:00 PM

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EMERGENCY FUNDRAISER for Victims of Fire in

Valparaíso, Chile

Sunday, April 27th
3pm to 9pm
Suggested donation: $5 to $100
Restaurant Valparaíso
1403 Solano Avenue
Albany, CA

Miguelito Martinez & Corazon Sur Quintet. Performing Sun. May 27. 8pm

Celebrating 15 Years! De Rompe y Raja Saturday August 27, 2011

Cultural organization dedicated to promoting and preserving Afro Peruvian arts. Conducted by Rosa Los Santos.

Grupo Mono Blanco

Mono-+-Danza-300x276The internationally acclaimed musical group Mono Blanco is the leading proponent of Son Jarocho. It is a multi-generational ensemble of over twenty members whose families have played and danced indigenous art forms for generations; the group has a unique sound due to a rich ancient tradition in which feet and voices of energetic and insightful modern musicians join the echoes of the past. Since its inception in 1977, Mono Blanco has toured Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and Central and South America, the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Gilberto Gutierrez, Mono Blanco’s artistic director, has received numerous honors including the National Endowment for the Arts “Folk Arts” Award and the Rockefeller Fund for Culture to develop projects that promote Son Jarocho.

However, its most important work remains within the rural communities of Veracruz. The group features Don Andres Vega, a master musician and elder in the group, who is responsible for keeping the flame of this musical tradition. As a large part of disseminating this tradition, Mono Blanco conducts workshops on traditional song, dance as well as traditional instrument making. In 2001, Mono Blanco opened The House of Popular Music of Veracruz: “el caSon” – an independent music school whose sole mission is to promote and teach music of Veracruz.

All of the workshops expose the idea of learning through teaching whether that is workshops on jarana, zapateado, harp, guitar or violin. El caSon features a monthly fandango with an invited group of Son jarocho, where students as well as educators participate in a jam session that displays the rich traditions of lyrical and instrumental improvisation. In addition, el caSon provides a space for the local jarocho groups to come and showcase their talent.

“… The first thing one perceives is their authenticity; specially their ability to improvise… (their) temperance within extremely good taste gives their interpretations a high poetic value…”

“Like the monkey, these soneros are characterized by their originality, their gift of imitation, -La Jornada Semanal, Mexico, D.F.

“The harp and the ukelele-size guitarra de son pluck interlocking melodies and arpeggios, changing with every verse; a strummed guitar, the jarana, and an acoustic bass guitar, the guitarron, play brisk, three-against-two syncopations hinting at connections between Veracruz -New York Times, New York, USA.

Boss youth on the Move (In the Lounge)

BOSS Youth On The Move: Art, music, & enrichment activities for homeless children Youth workshop flyer-page-0and youth from BOSS housing programs. A partnership between BOSS, La Peña, and Free Church Berkeley.

Entrance is free.

Revolutionary Skype Session: Brazil

brazil-flyerWhat did Brazil’s workers’ struggle look like leading up to the World Cup? Sao Paulo metro workers, Rio de Janiero airport workers and bus drivers in Natal all went on strike while huge popular mobilizations were held throughout the country. 

Join Advance the Struggle and La Pena 2nd Generation for this skype conversation with Ian Steinman, activist in Rio de Janerio, about this wave of struggle in Brazil, its relationship to the world’s most popular event, and the current state of the movement as the cup comes to an end.

This is a FREE event sponsored by:

Advance the Struggle:


La Peña 2nd Generation

Celebrating 39 years of culture at La Peña

La Peña Cultural Center has been a lively cultural space in Berkeley for the past 39 years. Since it’s doors opened, La Peña has served as a community cultural center promoting a wide diversity of cultural traditions from the Americas and Caribbean as well as promoting social and political justice. Doing so, La Peña has created the perfect mixture of politics and the arts in a community that is known for its diversity.


This past month of June has been filed with celebrations geared towards celebrating La Peña’s 39 years of promoting peace, social justice and action, as well as cultural awareness through the arts and education. Paz: Fandango Urbano was one of La Peña’s 39th anniversary events that filled the theater with sones jarochos. A son jarocho is a regional folk musical style pertaining to Veracruz and the Gulf of Mexico consisting of the jarana jarocha, a guitar shaped instrument, a requinto jarocho or guitarra de son, which is also similar to a small guitar, a pandero jarocho, similar to a tambourine, a quijada, typically made of a donkey or horse jawbone and conga drums or a cajon.

Once the doors opened and people greeted each other and took their seats, the musicians came out onto the stage and began playing their harmonious and lively music, that were composed and put together in previous Fandango workshops and jam sessions.  These sones reflect the Bay Area experience of those who have partaken in the past Fandango Urbano workshops. The lead artists, Maria de la Rosa would zapatiar to the music in her traditional son jarocho dress adding the rhythm of her tapping heels as she danced to the music. The zapatiado dance is a traditional dance in fandangos and is also a form of percussion, having their dance essentially become an instrument. After playing a few sones the artists, invited the audience to dance and to come up and showcase their zapateado. Once the artist were done with their performance, they invited the audience to jam with them in a Fandango Urbano and create new community sones.

Listening to sones for the first time, was really a pleasing musical experience. The combination of the small acoustic instruments gave the music it’s folkloric accent, while the cajon conga drums, and the zapatiado dance gave the music it’s percussive rhythm.


The following day after Paz: Fandango Urbano, La Peña held it’s open house to invite the community to see the newly renovated lounge and cafe, which now  serves farm fresh Mexican food from “Los Cilantros,” and to officially celebrate La Peña’s 39 year anniversary with live music and the broadcasting of World Cup’s match between the U.S.A. and Portugal. The afternoon started off with a performance by Gail Dobson’s vocal class, which consisted of the community’s children singing popular songs and the Latin American Songbook class who were both very good and showcased both group and solo performances. There was also Salsa, Bomba y Plena, Cumbia, and other diverse genres of Latin and Afro-Cuban music, that just made you want to get up and dance, like some of the attendees did. The food provided by “Los Cilantros” was also very savory and fresh. I had the opportunity to try their chicken tamales and they were simply delicious. The fresh agua de piña (pineapple water) was also very sweet and refreshing and complimented in my opinion the chicken tamales. The World Cup also started soon after, which drew soccer fanatics as the U.S. and Portugal played an intense and suspenseful game, which lead to a draw between the two teams. La Peña was additionally holding a silent auction. The auction consisted of many paintings and posters that reflected what La Peña stands for culturally and politically, as well as books and other cultural objects from different areas.


Attending both events made my weekend truly a different experience from the typical routine. In two days I heard a wide variety of new music and was able to enjoy and be exposed to the different compositions of other cultures besides my own, try some wonderful and appetizing food, as well as being able to enjoy it with the local community all thanks to La Peña Cultural Center. My favorite part was the Fandango, where majority of the audience made a circle around the band and artists and began having a jam session with traditional Veracruz folk music, which I would never thought possible for folk music. The soccer match, was an adrenaline pumper, as people would stand up and cheer as their team came close to scoring and things got even more exciting towards the end, the energy in La Peña was really something else. Being able to attend La Peña’s 39th anniversary celebration really was a great cultural experience and a fun time.

About the author: Sonia is currently  an intern at La Peña, as a part of her work field. She first heard of La Peña Cultural Center through her Chicano Studies advisor at UC Berkeley. She took interest in becoming an intern at La Peña, as it provides a space for people of all cultures to showcase their cultures through the arts, spoken word, and theater performances. She is currently finishing her bachelors at Cal and hopes to use the experience learned at La Peña to further promote cultural and ethical awareness.

Euphoric Dance, Footless Dancers (In the Lounge)

Solo exhibition by Elizabeth Jiménez Montelongo                OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
May 1- June 30, 2014
Reception June 7 from 6-9pm

In her solo exhibition, Elizabeth Jiménez Montelongo presents artwork from her body of work The Euphoric Dance of the Unconquered Mind. Her highly textured, brightly colored oil paintings of danzantes, indigenous Mexican dancers (Mexika dancers) reflect the energy created by the dancers as a symbol of unity and mental strength. Montelongo is also introducing mixed-media paintings from her new series, Footless Dancers. These paintings combine the energy of the work in The Euphoric Dance of the Unconquered Mind with lines from her poem “Footless Dancers”. The poem addresses the indigenous resistance to European beliefs, values, and lifestyle.

Music by: Grupo Puyakan Cumbia
Click here to visit them on facebook.

Elizabeth Jiménez Montelongo

World Devotional Music with Fanna-Fi-Allah & BOLO

Fanna-Fi-Allah                                                                                                                           bolo

The Fanna-Fi-Allah Sufi Qawwali Ensemble is the leading representation of this music worldwide. Through their consistent high profile appearances in both Pakistan & abroad they have captured the hearts of thousands.

The intensity of their stage performance with its smooth melodic overtures, fierce leaps of vocal passion ridding on heavy rhythmic grooves & rich vocal choruses have captivated audiences in Pakistan, India, North Africa, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, the USA and beyond.

After another winter of Qawwali events abroad at such prominent places as the Great Pyramids of Egypt, Urs Pak Pattan ( Pakistan’s largest Qawwali event ), New Delhi ( India ) & Australia; the members of Fanna-Fi-Allah reunite in California for their 13th annual American summer tour.

Coming from the initiated lineage of iconic Qawwali great Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, this ensemble continues onward towards promoting Pakistan’s great Sufi tradition in the west.


With an all-star line up of musicians from acclaimed bands Hamsa Lila, Eliyahu & the Qadim Ensemble, Dirtwire, the Dogon Lights, and Trio Paz, BOLO makes songs to transport and inspire. Joining rhythms and instruments from many lands, with a fresh improvisational approach, BOLO’s music spans worlds: entrancing sounds to move your body and uplift the soul.

$20 Adv, $25 Door

Amaranto Revolutionary Film Series: La Noche de los Lápices ( In the Lounge)

Daily we are sedated.                                                                                                                         may 27 film

Daily we are deceived.

Daily we are lulled, titillated, distracted.

It is hard to find the time to study history. Let alone revolutionary history, which might give us some insight into a way out of this habituated nightmare of no job, no money, better not break your arm, better not get another parking ticket, better not piss off your manager, landlord, teacher, or that cop in the BART station.

Better not stick your neck out demanding dignity, pressing forward toward a world where the plenty, the plenty, the plenty is made real, the plenty belongs to the masses, not the masters, and even more than *belonging* to us, it is our gift and miracle to care for, together. A far cry from the chronic insecurity, deadly indifference, or ruthless belligerence of a racist, sexist, capitalist nightmare — the waking terror of hunger, toxic food, mass imprisonment, and jobs either (1) nowhere to be found, or (2) vampirically draining our life-force, so that by day’s end,
our minds are almost too tired to let us look — really look — into the eyes of our partner, child, parent, friend, and really listen to them.

Daily we are sedated by exhaustion, anxiety, media bleeding with sensationalistanecdotes, rarely showing us a larger picture.

We hope that this film series can break our sedation, even a little, by reminding us what revolutionary organizing can look like. Inspiring us to rebuild and strengthen the autonomous, deeply rebellious, working-class organizations our radical ancestors created.

We sit in front of so many screens, uncritically consuming the barrage of images and stories that make up the fabric of this collective nightmare, reinforcing our greatest fears: that we are, in fact, helpless. Unable to prevent what has been set in motion. That we do not have control over the well-being of our own communities, of our world.

Our media, which has the potential to be one of our greatest tools for sharpening and clarifying our understanding of the world around us, has in fact dulled our imagination.                                                                                              may 27 spanish

That’s why it’s time for a different kind of movie night!


1) El Violin (1.5 hours)
- a 2005 Mexican film exploring peasant revolts of the 1970′s

2) La Noche de los Lápices (1.5 hours)
- true story of youth agitating for reduced bus fares under 2 regimes in Argentina

3) The Other Side of Immigration (1 hour)
- a documentary exploring social and economic coercion behind Mexican emigration to U.S.

Films will be either in spanish with english subtitles or english with spanish subtitles.

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