Date: June 18, 2013
By Minerva Mendoza
The Tamejavi Culture and Art Series concluded with the Grand Finale on May 18, 2013. It was through a collaborative process that the event was successful at many levels. The Grand Finale event was an effort of not just a few people, but an entire community that included the coordinating group, the fellows, their working teams, and an artistic team. Planning the Grand Finale involved various meetings where ideas and visions were exchanged about what the event would look like. These meetings generated new ideas that were incorporated into the final creation.
The day finally arrived, and the event started on a high note as the Zapoteco folkloric group made its entrance into the Tower Theatre, dancing to the rhythm of traditional banda music. Adam Bowser made everyone feel as if he was live on stage through his video, with his powerful presence and voice as he recited “People of the Earth.” The audience was also delighted with the beautiful santur music by Mr. Faez, who is a local Iranian musician. One of the highlights of the night was the performance by the Urban Bush Women dance group. Their interpretation was so strong and full of vitality. The spectators even got to experience what happens back in the state of Michoacán, as the Purépecha women threw traditional homemade bread to them as they danced. The Punjabi community made its presence felt through a performance by a group of young girls from the city of Livingston. These girls made the audience vibrate with enthusiasm as they performed their magnificent dances. Aside from their amazing performances, their clothing was also so colorful, bright, and beautiful. And who could forget the great acting of Brenda, who was in charge of helping the program move along. She was able to connect the performances with a sense of humor that made the audience laugh every time she appeared on stage. Even those who were unable to attend the previous events got a glimpse of them through No Longer Strangers, a video edited by well-known filmmaker Maureen Gosling. This video linked the series together and connected it to the issue of immigration by different communities, and how those communities now see the United States as a place where they are no longer strangers, but instead have found a permanent home.
Everyone who worked hard to make the Grand Finale happen saw their efforts pay off, when we saw how pleased people were with the entire event. As I approached people to thank them for coming, they not only thanked us for the amazing work we have done, but also kept asking when the next event was going to happen. People could not stop talking about how amazing the presentations were, especially the ones from the UBW and the Punjabi group. They shared that there needs to be more events like this in the Valley, because we know we have cultural diversity, but it is rarely appreciated.
Date: March 20, 2013
The meaning behind the word Tamejavi
TAj laj Tshav Puam... (Hmong)
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