Inglewood-It was a beautiful day in the City of Champions, with picture perfect clear blue skies and a slight breeze.
The City of Inglewood celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with a huge cultural festival, Saturday, September 17, 2016, on the grounds of Crozier Middle School. National Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15-October 15, Americans recognize the contributions made and the important presence of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States and celebrate their heritage and culture.
Hispanics have had a profound and positive influence on our country through their strong commitment to family, faith, hard work, and service. They have enhanced and shaped our national character with centuries-old traditions that reflect the multiethnic and multicultural customs of their community.
Hispanic Heritage Month, whose roots go back to 1968, begins each year on September 15, the anniversary of Independence of five Latin American Countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their Independence days during this period. (Source: National Hispanic Heritage Month website).
The festival in Inglewood was free and open to the public. Several thousand people enjoyed live bands playing Latin jazz, Mariachi, R&B, Salsa and Corrido’s. Attendees also enjoyed authentic Ballet Folkloric and Aztec Dancers, a classic car show, interactive and carnival style games, with face painting and arts and crafts that engaged the entire family. Various booths featured community resource information and vendor booths, health screenings and mouthwatering Mexican cuisine.
Radio Personality Community Service Director Josefa Salinas (KHHT Hot 92.3 Los Angeles) served as Mistress of Ceremony to introduce each band with a brief bio and made additional relevant announcements from the stage.
The Mariachi Divas made a returned engagement to the festival. This two-time Grammy Award winning band is constantly busy performing all over town, the Nation as well as globally. The group wowed the crowd once again during two sets featuring the tunes “La Bomba,” “Guadalajara,” “Sabor a Mi,” “Mariachi Loco,” “Carnival,” “El Mariachi” and “Volver” as an encore.
It does my hearth good to see young musicians picking up an instrument to keep various genres of music alive. Mariachi Academy of Carson Ernesto Molina, Mariachi director, Rubit Escamilla, Program Manager. La Academia de Mariachi the Associations first program teaches youth the history and the art of traditional Mariachi music. Classes are also offered as an after school program on Wednesday’s at the Carson Community Center from 4:30pm-7:30pm. Mariachi Academy of Carson thrilled the audience on the tunes “Que Colores,” “Relampago” “Se Me Olvido Otra Vez” in honor of the late great music icon Juan Gabriel. The band continued with “El Rey” and the popular “Viva Mexico” which the band members sang jubilantly.
Ballet Folklorico de Macias is a cultural institution in the City of Inglewood. Countless dancers have taken traditional folkloric dance lessons from Mr. Daniel Macias over the years. Ballet Folklorico de Macias returned to showcase their skills, choreography in vibrant, colorful clothing while performing dances representing several regions of Mexico.
City Officials welcomed everyone to the splendid cultural celebration. In attendance were Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts, Councilmember George Dotson, District 1, Councilmember Alex Padilla, District 2, Councilmember Eloy Morales, District 3, Councilmember Ralph L. Franklin, District 4, Police Chief Fronterotta, Former Assemblyman Steven Bradford, Lawndale Mayor Robert Pullen-Miles and other city officials. City Officials presented a Proclamation and Award to the Pride of Inglewood Becky G. Becky G gave an autobiographical speech that was both inspiring and uplifting to her adoring fans who were gathered near the stage. Becky G also signed autographs and posed for selfies with fans.
The surprise highlight of the festival was the high energy, thoroughly entertaining set by El Compa Negro with Los Mas Poderosos. Rhyan Lowery is the leader of the band. He is an African-American singer, straight out of Compton who sings corrido’s with the best of them. He won 3rd Place on Tengo Talento, Mas Talento a popular program on TV similar to American Got Talent. His 3rd Place finish served as recognition and validation that he is the real deal. Consider the fact that he has garnered extensive positive media coverage in the Los Angeles Times, L.A. Weekly, Telemundo, La Opinion and other respective media outlets. You can see him perform popular corrido’s on the various videos posted on YouTube to find out what the buzz is about with this talented young man.
Vocalist Bradio was another surprise hit of the festival. His solo performance was entertaining with plenty of humorous lyrics that captivated the crowd. Award trophies were presented to the participants in the classic car show. It was a joy to the see the vintage cars on display from members of the Los Angeles Times Car Club, Classic Lowriders Car Club, Stylistic Car Club, The Dukes Car Club and Westside Original Car Club.
The Bob DeSena Latin Jazz Band was the headlining act to close out another successful Hispanic Heritage Month Festival. Their set was swinging with picante sounds of classics and Latin jazz standards. Their set featured the tunes “Afro Blue,” “Mambo Inn,” “Stormy,” by the Classic 4, made popular by Carlos Santana. They continued with “Little Sunflower” by Freddie Hubbard and concluded their set with a cookin’ version of “Soul Sauce (wachi wara), by the late great Cal Tjader. The band consisted of Bob DeSena, vibes, bongos, trumpet and flugelhorn, Iliana Rose, keyboards (L.A. based leader in her own right), Dwayne Augustine, bass, Rolando Mendoza, congas and Rafael Feliciano on timbales. Bob DeSena has three highly acclaimed CD’s out After Midnight, All That Latin Jazz and Going on Latin Jazz Street.
A great time was had by all in attendance. Visit www.hispanicheritagemonth.org for more information and to find out about events celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in your community to share in this special annual tribute by learning and celebrating the generations of Hispanic and Latino Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society.