Celebrando la Cultura is a free, outdoor concert in Watsonville City Plaza that honors the impact of Mexican American music and culture on the Bay Area’s performing arts traditions and celebrates the vibrancy of the Pajaro Valley’s agricultural community. Exploring the connection between live music, history, and community, the concert transforms Watsonville’s weekly farmers’ market into a cultural celebration open to all. Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy, an artist-driven organization committed to amplifying the roots of Mexican culture, performs music inspired by the award-winning documentary Linda and the Mockingbirds (2020) with members of its touring band. A showcase of traditional Tierra Caliente and Arpa Grande music from Los Originarios del Plan and a dance performance by the Watsonville-based Estrellas de Esperanza youth folkloric group rounds out the evening’s lineup of performances.
Organized in honor of Mexican Independence Day, Celebrando la Cultura connects familiar and new listeners to the dignity and beauty of ancestral Mexican music while inviting an evening of respite and joy for Watsonville’s large community of farmworkers and their families in recognition of their essential labor during the coronavirus pandemic. Linda and the Mockingbirds will be screened virtually via the Watsonville Film Festival from September 15–18, 2021.
Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy is a grassroots artist-driven organization committed to amplifying the roots of Mexican culture through classes, events, media, and performances. Founded in San Pablo, CA in 1994 by musician and educator Eugene Rodriguez, Los Cenzontles provides the local community with a family-friendly setting for traditional arts education and cultural events. The Los Cenzontles Academy connects students of all ages with maestros of traditional Mexican genres instilling a sense of cultural pride and participation in living traditions. Our full calendar of events features performances by our students, our own professional touring group, Los Cenzontles, and well-known world musicians and visiting artists. Los Cenzontles documents this journey of continuing the long tradition of authentic Mexican art with CDs and DVDs to share with the world and future generations.
Los Originarios del Plan is a musical group founded in 2016 with the mission to preserve the Arpa Grande musical traditions and culture from La Tierra Caliente of Michoacan, Mexico.
Estrellas de Esperanza is a youth folkloric group that has been performing throughout Santa Cruz County and beyond over the past 13 years. Estrellas members not only learn traditional dance steps, they also learn about the different regions the dances come from and their history, ultimately instilling pride of culture, language, and music in the youth. Founder and maestra, Ruby Vasquez has an extensive background having danced for Esperanza del Valle for 34 years. Because of her deep passion for traditional dance and music, Ruby often brings Maestros from Mexico to teach the youth authentic dances not often seen in the area.
The Watsonville Campesino Appreciation Caravan is a volunteer-run organization providing much-needed and much-deserved supplies, information, food, and appreciation to farmworkers in Watsonville. The group is made up of community members, educators, and students who provide crucial information about health & safety regarding COVID19 and resources that are available to them in the Watsonville community. Every penny of the funds they raise goes directly to local farmworkers and their families.
The City of Watsonville is located ninety-five miles south of San Francisco and has 51,000 residents. It is a rich agricultural community famous for its fresh berries, apples, and cut flowers. Watsonville, located in the lush Pajaro Valley, offers an ideal climate and the small-town charm of a rural community. Watsonville is more importantly recognized for its ethnic and cultural diversity, history of activism, generations of artists, dancers, and filmmakers. More than 80% of its population is Latino, and 31.5% of its population is under nineteen years of age.
The Watsonville Film Festival showcases Latinx filmmakers and stories that illuminate our shared humanity and inspire positive change. Founded in 2012, WFF developed from a grassroots collective into a non-profit arts organization offering year-round programming that celebrates powerful filmmaking and local creativity. WFF strives to make its programs accessible to all, leveraging the power of film to build bridges, spark conversations and imagine new possibilities in the heart of the Monterey Bay.
Celebrando la Cultura is a co-production of Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy and McEvoy Arts, with the Watsonville Film Festival in conjunction with the exhibition Next to You. Additional support is provided by the City of Watsonville and the Watsonville Campesino Appreciation Caravan.