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Media Release

Published: 04/16/2012
CONTACT(s):
Eric Werner 505-768-3556 ewerner@cabq.gov

Hispanic Heritage to be Celebrated at June 16th Centennial Summerfest

Pavilion and Stage at Central and Third Street to Feature Music, Traditional Arts
ALBUQUERQUE, NM-Centuries of Hispanic influence in New Mexico will be celebrated during Centennial Summerfest on Saturday, June 16th from Noon - 5:30 p.m. at the largest New Mexico Centennial celebration in the state.Onstage entertaining the anticipated large crowd will be a variety of entertainers that range from traditional Aztec dancers to an energetic performance by Al Hurricane and Al Hurricane, Jr.

From Noon - 12:30 p.m. the Hispanic Heritage Stage will be filled with the colorful costumes and the ceremonial Aztec dance of Kalpulli Ehecatl, a warrior-style dance and musical group that performs worldwide. They have performed at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, The Smithsonian Institute, The Heard Museum, and in numerous other locales throughout the U.S. International performances have taken them to Europe, the Philippines, Canada and Mexico.

From 12:30 - 1 p.m. Mariachi San Jose's young musicians will take the stage to amaze the audience with their talent and poise as they perform traditional mariachi music. Formed in 2001, this semi-professional co-ed ensemble is composed of high school, college, and graduate students between the ages of 16 and 23. All members have had some formal music training and have participated in school music programs. All have had Mariachi experience from a very early age-some as young as six years old.

Bringing an ancient tradition into today's world is the Matachines de Bernalillo, a group that performs the set drama based on the history of Montezuma. Members of the Matachines tend to be deeply religious, venerating either Mother Mary or a saint that pertains to their church. The opportunity to observe this traditional performance happens to few people in their lifetimes, and their appearance at an event like Centennial Summerfest is almost unprecedented. Dressed in traditional ceremonial costumes, the Matachines will perform from 1 - 1:30 p.m.

At 2 p.m. the mood changes to the pulsingflamenco beat and swirling skirts of Yjastros, The American Flamenco Repertory Company, as presented by the National Institute of Flamenco, a unique non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the art, culture and history of flamenco. Out of his woven culture, Joaquin Encinias created Yjastros: The American Flamenco Repertory Company, a revolutionary flamenco performance entity that is a unique blend of two very different dance performance formats. With Yjastros, Encinias joins the structured improvisation of traditional flamenco and the mosaic quality of the American style repertory company. The company's given name "Yjastros" or stepchildren, describes the true nature of this repertory company-that of a new culture of flamenco, a distinctive breed of this performance art that is both American and deeply rooted in the flamenco heritage

Native New Mexican Robert Gonzalez, "Gonzalo" to his many fans, has earned his place in New Mexico music with a number of hit CDs and New Mexico Hispano Music Awards that include: Male Vocalist of the Year, CD of the Year and Producer of the Year in 2001; CD of the Year, Song of the Year, Vocal Duo of the Year, and Band of the Year in 2003; and CD of the Year, Producer of the Year, Cumbia of the Year, and Duet of the Year in 2011. He continues to entertain large crowds at prestigious venues throughout the Southwest and is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at the Centennial Summerfest. Gonzalo will perform on the Hispanic Heritage Stage from 3 - 4 p.m.

From 4 - 4:30 p.m. dancers from Baila! Baila! Dance Academy will perform a variety of traditional and contemporary dances that range from Ballet Folklorico to hot Salsa. The group is active in the community, granting many performances as benefits for a variety of non-profits. Baila! Baila! shares their knowledge of cultural diversity with all audiences, resulting in increased understanding of the value of all cultures and traditions.

All bets are off when one of New Mexico's best-loved performers takes the stage from 4:30 - 5:30 p.m. to perform with his son and namesake. Al Hurricane and Al Hurricane, Jr. bring high energy to every performance, and the crowd goes wild! Al, who acquired his nickname "Hurricane" from his mother because as a child he "demolished" everything in his path, began singing at age three and playing guitar when he was five years old. By the age of 12 he was playing for tips at the wishing well in Old Town Albuquerque, and the rest is legend. In earlier days he and his band played backup for legendary artists such as Fats Domino, Marvin Gaye, Chuck Berry, Jimmy Clanton and Chubby Checker. Awards and honors too numerous to count have made Al Hurricane a legend in his own time, and a musical force that brings "hurricane energy" to every performance.
Al, Jr. has followed in his father's footsteps, beginning with his first public performance at the Civic Auditorium when he was just five years old. Singing "Love Potion #9," the little guy created quite a sensation. Learning to play drums, guitar and trumpet while still in elementary school, he began piano lessons at age 12, and recorded his first song at age 14.

Over the years Al and Al, Jr. have toured the Southwestern United States extensively, and have performed in major cities like Chicago and Miami. International performances in Paraguay, Buenos Aires and Malaga, Spain have increased their fan base and added to what is today a celebrity that reaches across oceans and borders.

The Hispanic Heritage Pavilion will feature demonstrations by traditional artists who will interact with attendees as they ply their various crafts. The crowd will also have the opportunity to enjoy spicy foods available for purchase from local vendors.
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