Continuing along with our theme of the merger between women’s rights and poetry in Latin America, we have an amazing video resource to share today. Unlike past examples, however, today’s post will focus on a present day, female, indigenous hip hop artist from southern Mexico and an amazing video that comes with English subtitles so the entire class can appreciate the poetic lyricism of her call for human rights, women’s rights, indigenous rights, and a greater social consciousness. Her name is Mare Advertencia Lirika, and today we will be watching the video for her song entitled “And What Are Your Waiting For?” (Y Tu Que Esperas?). In this song, Mare combines the metrics of rap lyrics with elements of social resistance that have been present in her community for quite some time. At 1:45 of the video, Mare says: “We have been denied our own history/ Our words have been taken by other mouths” (1:45).
It is difficult to talk about Latin American poetry during the 20th century without mentioning this poet. And no, I am not talking about Borges, nor Neruda nor Paz. I’m talking about Rosario Castellanos. Although her name is not quite as famous as the others, and although many scholars would put up a strong argument that it would, in fact, be quite easy to discuss Latin American poetry without mentioning her work, I would argue that her place within the construction of Mexican national identity post-WWII is as important as anyone else. Continue reading
I am incredibly excited to share this week’s resource from the Wide World of the Web, because this resource not only contains the translated work of three phenomenal female modernist poets from South America, but it also helps tell the background story of how these three women came to be bound together in the June 1925 Issue of Poetry Magazine. This historic issue, published in New York during a time when modernists such as Ezra Pound and T.S. Elliot were working out ways to form a new poetic tradition for the 20th century, this June 1925 issue featured an astonishing thirty-one South and Central American poets. Among them were poets Alfonsina Storni, Juana de Ibarbourou, and Gabriela Mistral (featured in Lorraine’s Mira Look post earlier this week). In this amazing resource you will find the poets featured in 1925 organized according to country. You can find Storni’s poem “Running Water” under Argentina, Mistral’s “Ecstasy” under Chile, and Ibarbourou’s “Bond” under Uruguay. All three of these pieces are excellent examples not only of 20th century modernist poetry, but of the perspective of Western educated Latin American women of that time.
In Ibarbourou’s “Bond”, the poet replaces common articles of feminine adornment to symbolize the suffering endured by societal pressures of beauty. Ibarbourou (spelled Ibarbouron in the 1925 edition), who was a lifelong advocate and writer on women’s rights in Uruguay and abroad, replaced diadems with a crown of thorns and earnings with “two burning coals vermilion.” Continue reading
Earlier this week, Lorraine featured Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa on ¡Mira Look! This amazing story for children written by Veronica Chambers and illustrated by Julie Maren is based on the inspiring rise to fame of Celia Cruz, the Cuban-born Cuban-American music icon widely regarded as ‘The Queen of Salsa’.
As the story focuses on her childhood and early rise to fame, I thought it would be a great opportunity to feature the amazing celiacruz.com, where you can find some of Celia’s greatest music videos from recent times, before she passed away in 2003. After all, one of the most incredible characteristics of Celia’s career was her longevity and uncanny ability to remain relevant no matter how much the salsa world was changing from the early days, when she and Tito Puente were carving away a place for salsa within popular culture in Cuba, the U.S. and beyond.
Before focusing on the videos, here are some important biographical facts to help put into context where she came from and how she became named by Smithsonian as the Most Iconic America in 2012: Continue reading
Take an audio-visual tour of music of the African diaspora in the Latin Caribbean on BBC’s Afrocubism. This site offers sixteen incredible tracks from the album of the same title, Afrocubism, a project-album that involves a collaboration between Cuban and Malian musicians, representing the centuries-old connection between Western African and Latin Caribbean culture. Once the Atlantic slave trade began, cultural traditions, languages, social structures and cosmological conceptions from the regions of western Africa were supplanted onto the islands of the Caribbean Sea, which up to that point had been inhabited by a plethora of Amerindian peoples, including the Taino and the Carib.
African traditions and languages, however, did not arrive alone; the entrance of European culture was equal in magnitude to that of West Africans, however the European influence took on a distinct aspect being that the colonial powers were systematically and institutionally advancing their languages, religions and cultural traditions, while those of the Africans were left alone, at best, and actively squashed by colonial authorizes at worst. Out of this violent confluence of cultures and historical narratives, however, emerged new forms of identity, new forms of art and music that reflected this distinctive mix for the generations of Afrolatino Caribbean communities that followed. On the island of Cuba, this has been exceptionally evident, as Havana and the Cuban hinterlands have been the source of so many world-famous movements in music and dance throughout the 20th century. For a more regionally nuanced view, see this absolutely incredible resource on NPR’s Africa Boogaloo. Continue reading
This week we have an amazing film resource from Venezuela, 2013’s internationally-acclaimed Bad Hair (“Pelo Malo”). Writer/Director Mariana Rondón brings us this incredibly poignant story about a young boy named Junior who is obsessed with straightening his thick, curly hair, an obsession that drives his mother into a panic over her son’s masculinity.
Earlier this week, ¡Mira, Look! featured Laura Lacámara’s phenomenal book, Dalia’s Wondrous Hair (El cabello maravilloso de Dalia), a book that shares so many amazing similarities with today’s film, Bad Hair. Firstly, and most obvious, they both deal with a child’s mix of struggle and enjoyment in learning to deal with their hair. Both of the writers are women who come from Latin American countries with Caribbean coastline and strong Afrolatino cultures. And, in the end, they both deal with love – love of community, love of family and love of self. That being said, let’s dive into some of the most salient points of Bad Hair, a film that will have you laughing and crying, and will surely leave you wanting to know more about life in Caracas, Venezuelan history, but mostly, it will leave you with a particular song stuck in your head.
Enduring Voices is a National Geographic expedition of linguists and photographers whose mission is to document the world’s endangered and/or disappearing languages. As we all know well, regions throughout Latin America are “hotspots” for indigenous languages, spoken since before the time of European arrival, preserved and often modernized throughout the colonial and postcolonial periods, despite intense cultural, political and economic pressures to learn Spanish, Portuguese or English. This is a beautiful site to explore, with a ton of information about each language and a page design that is very easy to navigate.
In the photos and videos section, you can see several photo galleries including a couple of languages on our list. Under ‘talking dictionaries’, there are audio clips for students to hear the languages aloud and see photos related to the words’ meanings. If the students have access to a computer, or the teacher can lead them on one, here is an activity you can have the students do, or pieces of it can be explored as a class group:
For our last post for the holidays, I’d like to turn to a familiar character in Mexican popular culture and history: Frida. But, instead of looking at her art or pondering her tempestuous marriage with Diego Rivera, her wild affairs (including Leon Trotsky and Josephine Baker), and her tragic bus accident, I’d like to look at Frida in a different light – food, fashion and fame.
Until the 1990s, Frida’s artwork was relatively unknown outside of the Mexico City art world; however, her style of entertaining and cooking was renowned to anyone who was a guest at the Casa Azul. Just like her trademark Oaxacan style of dress, her way with food, especially celebratory and holiday dishes, were essential parts of her artistic character, as central to her paintings as the brushes themselves. The vibrant colors of southern Mexico’s textiles, the fragrant stew of Oaxacan mole, and the Spanish copla music were all a part of her world, and the world she inspired for others. Below you’ll find a couple of Frida’s recipes from The Latin Kitchen perfect for the winter holidays.
In the past, we have seen that corporate wealth and a love for the arts and antiquities have come together to establish some of our most preeminent cultural institutions. We can look at the Rockefellers and the Museum of Modern Art, J.P. Morgan and the Museum of Metropolitan Art, the Guggenheims, Carnegie Hall, and the list goes on. But we could also look all the way back to the Babylonian Princess Ennigaldi-Nanna, who in the 6th century B.C. established a museum of artifacts in order to promote the cultural heritage of her wealthy and powerful empire. The rise of wealth and power is often coupled with the desire to collect and promote the cultural artifacts of its past. Therefore, it is no surprise that the internet giant Google has created the Google Cultural Institute, a digital collection of pristine visuals from the interiors of the world’s most celebrated museum galleries and exhibitions. It truly is a world tour through art from the seat of your chair, and part of its Art Project takes us to the incredible Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) in Los Angeles.
Stanford University’s creative learning resource, Expressions of Central America, is a fantastic and organized way for k-12 teachers of all ages and disciplines to find a way of delving into the topic of Central American culture, history and society via art and interactive multimedia. By choosing a country’s link at the top of the home page, you can enter into a collection of teacher’s resources and student activities that specialize in the topics of that country. Here today, we will look at the Expressions of Nicaragua page. Continue reading