Award-win­ning mu­si­cal group brings Latin sounds to Wal­dorf

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - Twit­ter: @Tif­fIndyNews By TIF­FANY WAT­SON twat­son@somd­news.com

Lo­cal chil­dren went on a tour of Latin Amer­ica through song and dance with award-win­ning group Can­taré, a duo that per­formed an en­ter­tain­ing blend of songs in Span­ish and Por­tuguese — while also shar­ing Latin Amer­i­can cul­ture and his­tor­i­cal back­ground.

On July 13, Can­taré brought Latin rhythms and ex­otic in­stru­ments — a don­key jaw, a goat toe­nail rat­tle and ar­madillo shell gui­tar — for chil­dren to ex­pe­ri­ence at the P.D. Brown Memo­rial Li­brary in Wal­dorf. The mu­si­cal pro­gram was lead by vo­cal­ist Ce­cilia Esquivel and gui­tarist Dani Cor­taza from Ar­gentina. Esquivel is a 2004, 2007 and 2008 WAMMIE (Wash­ing­ton Area Mu­sic As­so­ci­a­tion) award-win­ning Latin vo­cal­ist.

“The type of mu­sic we have is fun for the kids and the adults, which is not that com­mon for most chil­dren’s mu­sic,” Esquivel said. “Some of the chil­dren’s fa­vorite parts of the pro­gram were danc­ing to the merengue and the Cho­co­laté song while I played the box drum and bombo drum. But I al­ways say the ones that we can­not do with­out are the jaw­bone and ar­madillo string in­stru­ment. Those are my per­sonal fa­vorites.”

Can­taré is a Latin Amer­i­can mu­sic pro­gram based in the Wash­ing­ton, D.C., met­ro­pol­i­tan area, of­fer­ing per­for­mances that draw from the mu­si­cal her­itage of the Caribbean, Cen­tral and South Amer­ica re­gions. The group is the 2006 win­ner of a Par­ents’ Choice Award for its Al Agua Pato CD and has re­leased three record­ings since 2002. In 2006, Can­taré recorded the com­pan­ion CD for the award-win­ning book “Ar­rorró mi niño: Latino Lul­la­bies and Gen­tle Games” by chil­dren’s author and il­lus­tra­tor Lulu Delacre.

“We are tr ying to main­tain the cul­ture and the orig­i­nal in­stru­ments from the Latin Amer­i­can cul­ture, which is very im­por­tant to us,” said Dani Cor­taza, Can­taré gui­tarist. “The chil­dren have a fun and joy­ous time ev­ery con­cert pro­gram and it’s a good feel­ing for me to see them happy. They love the in­stru­ments, es­pe­cially the bombo drum, be­cause the sound of the bombo is boom­ing.”

Cor­taza has been a pro­fes­sional gui­tar player for 35 years and trav­eled around the world play­ing per­cus­sion. He be­gan play­ing with Esquivel 10 years ago and en­joys play­ing for the kids, leav­ing them with smiles on their faces.

“I think it was great,” said Janai Smith, 8, a stu­dent at Mary Mat­ula Ele­men­tary School. “I like how the in­stru­ments are made out of an­i­mals and my fa­vorite in­stru­ment was the one made from an ar­madillo. They shave the shell and put it to­gether. I also like the danc­ing and how they did dif­fer­ent places of the world.”

Her mother, Rachel Smith-Don­ald of Wal­dorf, said she en­joyed the pro­gram as well and has a per­sonal love of Latin Amer­i­can mu­sic. The mu­sic pro­gram’s in­ter­ac­tive per­for­mance in­cluded a Latin Amer­i­can tour ex­plor­ing how in­dige­nous, Euro­pean and African cul­tures shaped Latin mu­sic. Smith-Don­ald loved how Esquivel tied the in­for­ma­tion into African-Amer­i­can her­itage and said it was re­cently learned that Brazil is mostly of African de­scent.

“I think it’s im­por­tant be­cause it builds the chil­dren up cul­tur­ally and they are not just bound to their own four walls,” Smith-Don­ald said. “They need to un­der­stand what’s go­ing on out­side in the world. It also gives them cu­rios­ity to want to go out and ex­plore. That’s what I hope for my daugh­ter, that she wants to go out, ex­plore the world and take chances.”

Esquivel hopes the chil­dren and their fam­i­lies re­al­ize how much di­ver­sity there is in Latin Amer­ica be­cause it’s ver y rich in cul­ture.

“Latin Amer­i­can cul­ture is such a big part of Amer­i­can cul­ture, with Lati­nos be­ing one of the largest mi­nori­ties now,” Esquivel said. “I think it’s im­por­tant that we don’t fall into stereo­types, so we present them with dif­fer­ent rhythms, in­stru­ments and lan­guages, to bet­ter con­nect them to the Latin Amer­i­can cul­ture.”

On July 13, Can­taré, lead by award win­ning vo­cal­ist Ce­cilia Esquivel and gui­tarist Dani Cor­taza per­formed Latin Amer­i­can sounds for chil­dren and fam­i­lies at P.D. Brown Memo­rial Li­brary in Wal­dorf. STAFF PHO­TOS BY TIF­FANY WAT­SON

Can­taré lead vo­cal­ist Ce­cilia Esquivel and a 2004, 2007 and 2008 WAMMIE (Wash­ing­ton Area Mu­sic As­so­ci­a­tion) award win­ner, plays the bombo drum at the P.D. Brown Memo­rial li­brary in Wal­dorf.

Janai Smith, 8, a stu­dent at Mary Mat­ula Ele­men­tary School, dances the merengue dur­ing the Can­taré mu­si­cal pro­gram at P.D. Brown Memo­rial Li­brary in Wal­dorf.

Can­taré lead singer Ce­cilia Esquivel shows fam­i­lies in­stru­ments such as a don­key jaw, a goat toe­nail rat­tle and ar­madillo shell gui­tar dur­ing a mu­si­cal pro­gram at P.D. Brown Memo­rial Li­brary in Wal­dorf.

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