Tag Archives: music

De la palabra escrita a la palabra hablada

Una primera aproximación a la poesía dominicana reciente

Adalber Salas Hernández, PhD Candidate at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, NYU

Proviniendo de un contexto hispanoparlante, el deseo de estudiar la poesía escrita en español en el Caribe no siempre implica una tarea sencilla. Especialmente si uno ha decidido estudiar el trabajo de poetas jóvenes, que han publicado un libro o quizás dos, y cuya difusión suele ser impar –salvo en contados, interesantísimos casos. El asunto se complica un poco más cuando se trata de la poesía dominicana: los espacios de circulación de sus autores no consagrados no siempre son fáciles de hallar. No obstante, en cuestión de días uno se encuentra con un trabajo poético vivo, múltiple, que crece devorando horizontes.

Tratándose de mi investigación, la poesía dominicana reciente es la practicada por autores nacidos a partir de 1970. Un límite arbitrario, sin duda, pero sumamente útil. En este sentido, mi primer contacto en República Dominicana fue Frank Báez. Poeta, cronista, narrador, traductor y editor, junto a Giselle Rodríguez Cid, de la revista Ping Pong, Frank es además miembro del colectivo multidisciplinario El Hombrecito –donde también se encuentra el excelente poeta Homero Pumarol–, el cual fusiona de modo muy interesante poesía y música (en su canal de YouTube pueden escucharse canciones individuales, discos enteros y hasta alguna grabación en vivo). Su quehacer lo coloca en una suerte de encrucijada: es uno de los nervios principales de la nueva poesía del país –no solamente como uno de sus practicantes más reconocidos, sino también como difusor. Gracias a su inestimable ayuda, he podido conocer dos de los principales trabajos antológicos realizados en este campo: el número especial dedicado por la revista Punto de Partida, de la UNAM, a la poesía dominicana actual (No. 171, enero-febrero de 2012) y la muestra Presencias reales, publicada en la propia revista Ping Pong, en el 2011. A través de estos trabajos antológicos, he podido conocer la obra de poetas como Ariadna Vásquez Germán, Alejandro González Luna, Rossalinna Benjamín o Luis Reynaldo Pérez: escrituras ágiles, con brío, muy diferentes entre sí, que sumé de inmediato a las que ya formaban parte de mi investigación.

En la poesía dominicana reciente, la palabra escrita mantiene un vínculo singular con la palabra hablada: siempre una está a punto de convertirse en la otra. La letra vive al borde de la voz. Cabe recordar aquí el trabajo de la poeta y performer dominicana Josefina Báez, el cual, si bien no cae en los límites de mi investigación, es necesario leer –y escuchar, y ver–, pues resulta fascinante. Y cabe también recordar que, aparte de El Hombrecito, la figura de Rita Indiana: mejor conocida por su música (Rita Indiana y Los Misterios) y por su producción narrativa, también encontré en ella una poeta de singular potencia. En esta primera aproximación, un hecho se destaca de buenas a primeras: en la poesía reciente de República Dominicana, la palabra tiene un pasaje permanente de ida y vuelta para viajar de la escritura al habla.

CLACS Hosts Series on the Legacy of Brazilian Slavery

João Reis, Where Slaves Were Slaveholders, Poster

João Reis, Where Slaves Were Slaveholders, Poster

Written by CLACS MA Candidate Constanza Smita Ontaneda Rehman-Khedker

Tomorrow, Thursday April 30th, CLACS will be proud to host a series of events on Brazilian Quilombos, with a live performance by Rio de Janeiro’s Maga Bo and BNegão. These two consecutive events are part of a larger series that focuses on the history, culture, and current affairs of the African Diaspora in the Americas.

Starting at 5pm, distinguished historian João José Reis (Universidade Federal da Bahia), will discuss the history of slave-owning slaves in Brazil in a presentation titled “Where Slaves were Slave Owners, the Case of 19th Century Bahia.”  

Born in Brazil, João José Reis received his PhD in History from the University of Minnesota.  He has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), Princeton University, Brandeis University, the University of Texas (Austin), and École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris).  Reis has also been a Research Fellow at the University of London, Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences (Stanford), and the National Humanities Center.  Currently he is a Professor of History at the Universidade Federal da Bahia.  Reis’ books include Slave Rebellion in Brazil: the 1835 Muslim Revolt in Bahia (The Johns Hopkins University Press) and Death is a Festival: Funeral Rites and Rebellion in Nineteenth-Century Brazil (North Carolina Press), among others.  This lecture is co-sponsored by the Africa Diaspora Forum at NYU and Fordham University.

Quilombo do Presente e do Futuro, Poster

Quilombo do Presente e do Futuro, Poster

Later at 7pm, Maga Bo and BNegão will present “Quilombo do Futuro: The Contemporary Social and Cultural Resonance of Brazil’s Maroon Communities.”  Their performance will use the notion of runaway slave communities as an onset for the interaction of traditional and contemporary music in the country.  Runaway slave communities known as quilombos, were a fixture in Brazil during the colonial and early imperial eras.  Even after emancipation in 1888, quilombos remained part of the Brazilian social and cultural landscape.  Following the 1988 Constitution, which granted quilombo descendants land rights, they also became formally acknowledged communities with their own self-managed territories, a public recognition of a centuries-old settlement pattern.  Today’s comunidades quilombolas serve as gathering points for current practitioners of Afro-Brazilian culture as well as reminders of Brazilian historical development.   Maga Bo and BNegão will be joined by Professor Mariléa de Andrade (Universidade Estadual de Campinas) who will situate the artists’ work in a social context by addressing some of the contemporary challenges and successes of the quilombo movement in present-day Brazil.

The globetrotting U.S.-born, Brazil-based Maga Bo cranks out music that’s often described as transnational bass.  It’s just as heavy on the low-end as it is melodic in its use of traditional acoustic instrumentation and street recordings.  With well over a decade of production experience from his mobile studio that he has set up all across Africa, South America, India, and Southeast Asia, Maga Bo has released genre-bending, mind-blowing albums on venerable labels like Tru Thoughts, Post World Industries, and Soot.  He has worked and performed in over 40 countries including performances at WOMEX, Mundial and Transmediale.  His latest project, record label and compilation series Kafundó, is bringing to light Brazilian bass music essentially unknown to outside its home country – an effort that earned praise from Vice Media.

BNegão is a versatile vocalist and songwriter who was instrumental in Planet Hemp, one of Brazil’s pioneering hip-hop ensembles.  He later struck out on his own to form BNegão & Os Seletores de Frequencia, something like a Brazilian Bad Brains — their albums jump from punk to dub to hip-hop to soul just like the DC band did back in the day.  BNegão won the Orilaxé Prize for best black music singer in Brazil back in 2004.  His band’s 2012 album, Sintoniza Lá, won the MTV Video Music Brasil award for best album.  Later in 2012, he was part of the official Rio de Janeiro cultural delegation to the London Summer Olympic Games, where he performed in the closing ceremony in homage to the Afro-Brazilian musician Chico Science.  He and his band are currently recording their third album.

Maga Bo Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/magabo

BNegão & Seletores de Frequência: http://bnegaoseletores.com.br/

A Visual Journey Through Afro-Latin Soundscapes

During the Fall 2013 semester, Professor Dylon Robbins taught the interdisciplinary seminar Afro-Latin Soundscapes. In the accompanying colloquium series, CLACS hosted a series of musicians and scholars that spoke of the way music crosses cultural boundaries.

Without mixers and soundboards the songs have taken on a organic sound that has helped shape hip-hop’s role as a legitimate expression of Cuban culture. Hailing from the industrial suburbs of Havana, the husband and wife team Alexey and Magia formed Obsesión in 1996. Alexey has become a nexus for various forms of artistic expression, promoting the convergence of painting, sculpture, dance, and poetry within the hip-hop scene. Magia is known as an eloquent advocate of women’s rights.

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Afro-Latin Soundscapes: Cyro Baptista

On Monday, December 9th, CLACS hosted its last lecture of the Fall 2013 research colloquium series, “Afro-Latin Soundscapes.” The lively performance and subsequent talk was led by Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista, an award-winning recording artist who has worked with various musicians within different genres, including Yo-Yo Ma, John Zorn, and Carlos Santana – just to name a few.

Guzman-US-Baptista

Cyro Baptista

After an introduction by Professor Dylon Robbins, Batista began his talk mentioning the Brazilian avant-garde predisposition for cannibalistic consumption of the West. Baptista’s remarks were a perfect precursor for the rest of the dazzling, performative lecture, where he expressed that Antropofagia is, in fact, what his music is about. He emphasized that in some ways, his musical stylings are about “the colonial impulse of wanting everything that does not belong to him.” Referring back to his first experience in U.S. musical education in Woodstock, NY, he proudly explained that through his music, he continually “eats Celine Dion, George Bush and John F. Kennedy.” The conversation surrounding his musical practice continued in a jovial, humorous way, despite the fact that Antropofagia primarily deals with the seriousness of confronting and re-interpreting Western cultural imperialism.

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Manuelcha Prado Runasimi Estudiantekunawan Tinkunakunku

Manuelcha Prado Peru Andean Andes Music Quechua Huayno Ayacucho NYU South America RimasunManuelcha Prado, NYU Intermediate Quechua classta watukuran. Chaypi, pay chit’i estudiantekunaq tapunankunata kutichiran. Paykuna Quechuamanta, Manuelchaq kawsanmanta, takinkunamanta ima payman tapuranku.

Manuelcha Prado, visitó la clase de Quechua del nivel intermedio de NYU donde respondió las preguntas de los estudiantes curiosos sobre la lengua Quechua y su uso, sobre su vida artística y personal.

Manuelcha Prado visited the Intermediate Quechua class at NYU, where curious Quechua language students asked questions about the language, its use, and Manuelcha’s artistic and personal life.


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Manuelcha Prado Runasimi Rimaqkunawan Huñunakun

Manuelcha Prado, music, Andean music, musica andina, ayacucho, peru, quechuaOctubrepi, iskay waranqa chunka iskayniyoq watapi, Manuelcha Prado New Yorkta hamuran. Manuelcha Prado hatun musico kan, pay allin reqsisqa “saqra guitarra” hina. Pay Ayacuchomanta. Kay audiopi, Manuelcha watukushan Odi Gonzalespa runasimi clasenta, New York Universitypi. Pay wakin runasimi rimaqkunata reqsin. Paykunaq sutinku Cara, Hope, Lorena, Steven, Doris, Lucía, Michael, Alexis, David, Michael ima. Paykuna rimashanku, tapushanku ima Manuelchata; chaymanta llapanku takinku paywan. Continue reading

Manuelcha Prado Delights NYU & New York

Manuelcha Prado

Manuelcha Prado

During the week of October 21-26 the students and faculty of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) at NYU, as well as the broader NYU community had the privilege to meet renowned Andean musician, Manuelcha Prado.

Born in Puquio in the department of Ayacucho, Peru, Manuelcha Prado is widely heralded as one of the foremost singers, songwriters, and composers of Andean music. His repertoire comes from a vast Andean cultural heritage preserved by a traditional of oral memory, Quechua agricultural rituals, dances, celebratory ceremonies, funeral songs, carnivals and amusement waynos that express the feeling of a living culture that resists. It was an honor to have him with us.

Manuelcha made a special effort to spend time with NYU students currently studying Quechua. He visited both the Basic and Intermediate Quechua classes taught by CLACS Professor Odi Gonzales. Continue reading