3rd Annual Día de la Raza Celebration

Maneja Beto Opens for East L.A. Band Quetzal at 3rd Annual Día de la Raza Celebration Sponsored by CMAS

Wednesday, October 11, 2006 7:00 to 10:30 p.m.

Where: The Pavilion at Fiesta Gardens 2101 Bergman

Sponsor: UT Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS)

Free and open to the public

Contact: Dolores García, 512-475-6973, doloresg@mail.utexas.edu

On Wednesday, October 11th, East Los Angeles band Quetzal will headline a celebration of El Día de la Raza called Cultura sin Fronteras/Culture without Borders. Sponsored by the UT Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS), the event will be held at the Pavilion at Fiesta Gardens from 7:00 – 10:30 p.m. Austin band Maneja Beto, poetry readings, a Latino community group fair, and refreshments will also be featured. The event is free and open to the public.

In the U.S., commemoration of October 12th as a national holiday called Columbus Day began during the Presidency of Franklin Roosevelt. The date of Christopher Columbus’ first landfall in what became known as America is also recognized as a holiday in Latin America under the name El Día de la Raza (the day of the people). The first celebrations of El Día de la Raza occurred in Argentina in 1917 and in Mexico in 1928. Chicano political activism since the 1960s and 1970s has reclaimed Columbus Day in this country as a time to acknowledge and honor the contributions of the indigenous and mestizo people of the Americas.

Cultura sin Fronteras will commemorate the Mexican American and Chicana/o cultural and artistic legacy by creating a space to celebrate together, incorporating the broader UT and Austin Latino communities. This event continues the custom of floricanto, gatherings of musicians, artists, and writers in the spirit of the mexica. According to Dr. José E. Limón, director of CMAS, “An integral connection exists between the purpose of the Center for Mexican American Studies and the impetus which led to reclaiming Columbus Day as El Día de la Raza in this country. CMAS promotes the richness and diversity of Mexican-American cultural heritage in Texas and the nation, just as Cultura sin Fronteras features performers whose work intertwines multiple traditional and contemporary influences.”

In 1993, Quetzal Flores formed Quetzal, with the goal of pushing the boundaries of Chicano music. Proclaimed by iconic East L.A. band Los Lobos as ready to carry the torch for Los Angeles’s Chicano community, Quetzal embodies the soul and the struggle at the heart of the Mexican-American legacy. Quetzal has just released their fourth album, Die Cowboy Die. Their music melds the sensibility of archival heritage recordings with the contemporary fusion of such creative compadres as Ozomatli and Manu Chao. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Quetzal is living proof that drawing on cultural roots can be a powerful source of creativity. They play with conviction, a quality missing from many mainstream Latino acts.” The Tucson Weekly described Quetzal’s sound as melding “traditional Mexican folk music with infectious Afro-Cuban rhythms, alternative rock and pop and Chicano-oriented social consciousness.”

The New York Times described Maneja Beto’s SXSW showcase as “Latin alternative rock that confidently separated itself from models like Café Tacuba or Santana. The music was grounded in rhythms like the Mexican cumbia, but topped with cool keyboard tones that tilted the songs toward 1980s electro or jazz.” Three of the five members of Maneja Beto are graduates of the Mexican American Studies undergraduate program at UT Austin.

Dr. Renato Rosaldo, professor of Anthropology and director of Latino Studies at New York University, and CMAS Academic Advisor Elvira Prieto will read their poetry to begin the evening. CMAS director Limón refers to poets like Rosaldo and his former student Prieto as “night dreamers,” or individuals with traditional day jobs who nevertheless express their creative side through cultural arts.

A Plática led by distinguished cultural anthropologist Rosaldo will begin the celebration of El Día de la Raza. His scholarly presentation will be held at 12 noon in the Texas Union Sinclair Suite 3.128 at The University of Texas at Austin.

The Center for Mexican American Studies was founded in 1970 by the esteemed late scholar Don Américo Paredes and others at the University of Texas at Austin. CMAS was one of the first academic centers focusing scholarship on Mexican American culture to be established in the United States and the first in Texas. The mission of the Center is to serve Texas and the nation as a leader in teaching, research, and publications. CMAS is a unit within the College of Liberal Arts with 38 affiliated faculty members from many colleges and departments. For more information about CMAS, visit www.utexas.edu/depts/cmas or call 512-471-4557.

Latino organizations interested in participating in the Cultura sin Fronteras community group fair should contact Dolores García at 512-475-6973 or email doloresg@mail.utexas.edu.