When Musco Center for the Arts launched its World CAFE Series in spring 2016 with its first Heartbeat of Mexico Festival, it drew the biggest crowd of the season to Chapman University’s brand-new, critically acclaimed 1,044-seat performing arts center. More than 3,500 people enjoyed the multifaceted festival, which included a free afternoon of live outdoor performances, food and craft booths, events inside the performing arts center and at other venues on the Chapman campus, and a ticketed concert in the evening inside a completely sold-out Musco Center.
Now, back by popular demand, the Heartbeat of Mexico Festival returns to Musco Center on Sunday, May 28, from 1 to 5 p.m., for an afternoon-long free fiesta of music and culture. The festival features a roster of all-new local performers as well as many of last year’s favorites, performing on five outdoor stages. Once again, the festival is presented in association with Chapman University’s Latinx Staff and Faculty Forum.
In addition to performances, the daytime fiesta will include hands-on workshops for all ages (mural painting, papel picado [cut-paper] and paper flower-making, theater and folklorico dance, among other offerings) and face-painting. There will also be food booths selling tasty Mexican cuisine.
Inside Musco Center’s lobby there will be an exhibition of art by influential Mexican and Mexican-American artists, including Frank Romero and Alfredo Ramos Martinez, from the Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University.
The day will conclude with a 6 p.m. ticketed performance by the popular L.A.-based vocal and instrumental group Las Cafeteras and New York City’s first all-women mariachi ensemble, Mariachi Flor de Toloache. Tickets for the evening performance, starting at $20, are available online at www.muscocenter.org, or by calling the box office at 844-OC-MUSCO (844-626-8726).
“Following the enormous success of last year’s Heartbeat of Mexico Festival, and the positive feedback we received from the community, it was an easy decision to bring back a new and even better edition this season,” said Richard Bryant, executive director of Musco Center for the Arts. “We’re honored and delighted to once again be working closely with Chapman’s Latinx Staff and Faculty Forum, chaired by Marisol Arredondo Samson, which contributed so much to the planning and volunteer staffing of this event that showcases our outstanding local performers and arts organizations during the day, with remarkable professional talents onstage in our evening performance. We hope to maintain this creative partnership and present this festival annually for many seasons to come.”
Parking for this event will be free all day in the Lastinger and Barrera Parking Structures.
The complete schedule of events follows.
Heartbeat of Mexico Festival
Bette and Wylie Aitken Arts Plaza Stage (in front of Musco Center)
1 p.m. Opening Ceremony
1:15 p.m. El Sol Academy Folklorico Dance
The kids get things started as students from kindergarten through fifth grade showcase traditional Mexican dances.
2:15 p.m. Calle4Cumbia Electric
This community-based cumbia band from Santa Ana plays songs that highlight the pride and strengths of the Mexican/Latino community.
3:15 p.m. Relámpago del Cielo
This artists-in-school program travels nationally to help tradition thrive by educating students and teachers about Mexican culture through music, folkloric dance and art.
4:45 p.m. La Misa Negra
This ensemble explodes onto the stage with an electrifying blend of cumbia and high-energy Afro-Colombian music of the 1950s and ‘60s.
Wells Fargo Stage (in front of Leatherby Libraries)
1:30 p.m. Los Sanchez Mariachi Quartet
This award-winning youth quartet puts its voices together to perform its own interpretations of mariachi music with a variety of instruments.
2:30 p.m. Felipe Orozco and Mariachi Azteca
This band has delighted all ages across Southern California with popular mariachi songs. Latin pop and Banda hits.
3:30 p.m. MEXIKA (Music and Dance of Ancient Mexico)
A high-powered ensemble of artists whose brightly colored traditional feather garments and ancient instruments reflect the culture they celebrate.
4:45 p.m. Ballet Folklorico El Tapatio & De San Dieguito
Passion and love permeate these traditional dances, performed by students who learn professionalism and life skills as they absorb their culture.
Fish Interfaith Center Terrace (theater performances)
1:45 p.m. Gloria Arjona: Frida: Under Your Skin
Professor Gloria Arjona draws inspiration from famous Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s personal letters, journal, photos, self-portraits and the songs she loved to bring this historic figure to life.
3 p.m. La Caperucita Roja
The classic childhood tale of Little Red Riding Hood is told in the format of comedy and magic.
4:15 p.m. Lighthouse Theater Workshop
Learn and apply basic concepts of theater arts as they illuminate the culture of Mexico.
Milan Panic Amphitheater (east side of Musco Center)
1:30 p.m. Journey Through the Americas
Higgy Vasquez and Martin Espino conduct a musical trip through North, Central and South America, singing in Spanish, Portuguese and indigenous languages. All ages are invited to sing along.
4 p.m. Folklorico Workshop
Featuring dances from the various states of Mexico, including stunning skirts work (faledo), dancing with machetes, and while balancing glasses with candles.
Performers Court (northeast side of Musco Center)
1 and 3 p.m. Randy y Sus Diamantes
Bring the whole family to celebrate the rich variety of Mexican regional music, from classic rancheros and cumbias from 100 years ago to modern-day corridos.
South Lawn Activities (in front of Musco Center)
Mural Painting with Higgy Vasquez
Orange County’s own Higgy Vasquez is a man of many talents, and during this session he will share his gift for the time-honored Mexican art of mural painting.
Paper Flower Workshop – Family Art Therapy
Let your creativity take wing as you explore different techniques to make paper flowers. Design and make hair ornamentations, lapel pins and other works of simple and original beauty.
Papel Picado (Cut Paper) Workshop
Express yourself in the traditional medium of scissor-cut tissue paper as you create your own unique and elaborate works of Mexican folk art.
The outdoor celebrations will also showcase numerous other crafts and activities for the whole family, including face painting.
Musco Center Lobby
11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Hilbert Museum of California Art presents Alfredo Ramos Martinez, Hernando Gonzallo Villa, Frank Romero: A Heritage in Southern California
Chapman’s Hilbert Museum presents an exhibition of artworks by three highly influential Latino figures in the history of California art.
Beckman Hall 104
2:30 p.m. Lecture: Salvador Torres and His Transformative Murals
The artist, muralist and early figure in the Chicano art movement has left his mark on San Diego, celebrating Mexican culture in the city’s public spaces. He discusses and shows his art during this session.
Evening – Ticketed Concert Inside Musco Center
6 p.m. Las Cafeteras and Mariachi Flor de Toloache
Tickets begin at $20 — www.muscocenter.org or 844-OC-MUSCO
Born on the streets of Los Angeles, Las Cafeteras are children of immigrants and are remixing roots music and telling modern-day stories with what the Los Angeles Times has called a “uniquely Angeleno mishmash of beat music, cumbria and rock…Live, they’re magnetic.” The band’s sound is created through their unique instrumentation, which includes jarandas, a requinto, a donkey jawbone, a marimbol (West African bass instrument, and a wooden platform called the tamira, used to dance Zapateado.
New York City’s first all-women mariachi, Mariachi Flor de Toloache, offers a fresh and versatile take on traditional Mexican music. Like the legendary toloache flower still used in Mexico as a love potion, these Latin Grammy nominees cast a spell over their audiences with grace and beauty. They push the boundaries of mariachi while observing Mexican traditions.
Display image at top/Dancers perform at Heartbeat of Mexico Festival 2016. (Photo/Mary Platt)