November 18, 2021
Reception—6 pm, Cayetana Romero Lobby
Introduction to Festival Oralidad—6:30 pm, Wells Fargo Auditorium
Concert, Nacha Mendez Trio—7:30 pm, Bank of America Theatre
Reception and festival introduction free to the public; concert tickets $17 w/ $2 discount for NHCC members, purchase Here
Please note: Both the festival introduction and the concert will require either a proof of vaccination completed at least 14 days prior to the event or a negative COVID test administered by a health care professional within 72 hours of the event. Originals or photos of documents with a matching ID will be accepted. Masks are also required while inside the NHCC.
Instituto Cervantes and the National Hispanic Cultural Center, with the collaboration of AMP Concerts and the support of the New Mexico Humanities Council, present the first Festival Oralidad on November 18, 20, and 22, 2021. The festival combines workshops, lectures, panel discussions, storytelling performances, and musical performances connected to the oral tradition and storytelling. It was created with two essential purposes: the promotion of the oral tradition of storytelling and the establishment of a collaborative relationship among artists from New Mexico, other parts of the United States, Spain, and Latin America to create new works together and contribute to the advancement of the genre.
New Mexico, where Native American cultures, Latin American oral tradition, and cultural traditions such as flamenco converge, is an ideal place for a festival focused on the oral tradition, and Instituto Cervantes is positioned to encourage this union of cultures and promote an exchange between artists of diverse origins. Over three days, Festival Oralidad offers academic and theoretical debate, shares the secrets of storytellers with children, and brings together some of the most significant musicians and storytellers in the U.S. While travel restrictions this year have limited participation to artists residing in-country, future festivals will include colleagues from Latin America and Spain.
A reception with wine and Spanish ham will greet festival participants on the opening evening, followed by an introduction to the three-day event by Nasario García, a folklorist, writer and educator, and one of New Mexico’s foremost experts on oral tradition. He will give a talk on the state’s cultural and linguistic roots in the spoken word, and will discuss the importance of storytelling with Silvia Grijalba, director of the Instituto Cervantes of Albuquerque and El Paso. The evening will conclude with a concert by the Nacha Mendez Trio
Nasario García, professor emeritus of Spanish and Hispanic literatures, holds a B.A. in Spanish, an M.A. in Portuguese, and a Ph.D. in 19th century Spanish literature. He has published more than 30 books educating both adults and children about the richness of New Mexico’s Spanish language and culture, including Memorias de los viejos: Tales of the Rio Puerco; Abuelitos: Stories of the Rio Puerco Valley; Comadres: Hispanic Women of the Rio Puerco Valley; and Más antes: Hispanic Folklore of the Rio Puerco Valley. Dr. García has worked over the years to preserve the language and culture of northern New Mexico, particularly his beloved Rio Puerco Valley, where he grew up in the community of Ojo del Padre (Guadalupe).
Nacha Mendez combines storytelling, music, and song in a journey through her personal experience that speaks to her Latin blood, Native American history, and experience as an artist throughout Europe. Mendez grew up in the small border town of La Union in southern New Mexico, where she began singing and playing guitar at an early age. She learned traditional ranchera singing from her grandmother and performed in border towns near El Paso.
She studied classical voice and electronic music at New Mexico State University before moving to New York, where she studied flamenco guitar with Manuel Granados of the Conservatory of Music in Barcelona, Spain. In the early 1990s, she was a lead singer with Robert Ashley’s opera company, touring Europe and Japan, and has also collaborated with celebrated composer Steve Peters.
She has received an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and has been honored by the New Mexico Committee of the National Museum of Women Artists, voted Best Female Vocalist in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2009 and 2010, and awarded Best Latin Production at the New Mexico Music Awards.
This concert will require either a proof of vaccination completed at least 14 days prior to the event or a negative COVID test administered by a health care professional within 72 hours of the event. Originals or photos of documents with a matching ID will be accepted. Masks are also required while inside the NHCC.