Sights & Sounds is your weekly guide to the Bay Area arts scene. Playwright, poet, essayist, and activist Cherríe Moraga told KALW’s Jen Chien about three fantastic arts events happening around the Bay this week.
- Daymé Arocena at Yerba Buena Gardens Festival on 8/19 at 1pm
- Brazil in the Gardens at Yerba Buena Gardens Festival on 8/20 at 1pm
- Ethos de Masquerade at the Strand Theater through 8/27
Daymé Arocena has been singing jazz for most of her career — she's worked with the Jane Bunnett & Maqueque sextet and Gilles Peterson — but her newest album, Cubafonía, is a return to her Cuban roots. Having grown up in Havana, her music reflects the sounds of her childhood where cultural mash-ups are the norm. Daymé will be performing with San Francisco’s Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble at the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival in San Francisco on Saturday, 8/19 at 1 pm.
MORAGA: The field of Afro-Cuban work is still mostly guys. So when he mentioned there was this young female songstress, I got interested, and I thought, 'That's what I want to do is I want to just mention her.' And it's with the Latin Youth Jazz Ensemble. Young people and female voices: that's why I wanted to have her mentioned.
California Brazil Camp is celebrating its 20th anniversary bringing new artists together with veteran musicians and composers in Cazadero. This year’s camp faculty includes Alessandro Penezzi, Celso Alberti, and Pedro Martins. They’ll be joined by camp alumni and other musicians at the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, showcasing the huge breadth of Brazilian music in the Bay Area on Sunday, 8/20 at 1pm.
MORAGA: I really like that these kinds of programs bring in the experienced, the elder artists, the master teachers, and young people get to work with them. I just feel like anytime that's going on, that's what we need to support. We need to keep creating a new generation of musicians, artists, teatristas.
Ethos de Masquerade is based on the tradition of African masquerades: spiritual or religious dance ritual performed in masks. Theater company Campo Santo and Global Street Dance Masquerade, a project of choreographer Rashad Pridgen, have created a distinctly modern version to honor the lives lost in activist movements. Performances are happening Wednesdays through Sundays at the Strand Theater until August 27th.
MORAGA: To see that right now, then, the way to celebrate that 20 years, that they were deciding to look at questions of ancestors and ritual practice, it has great resonance for me, because it is by that kind of return that we are able to build a future.