The Veracruz Institute of Cultures (IVEC) has organized the International Afrocaribbean Festival for the last 8 years "with the idea of promoting and spreading, through the artistic and academic richness of the Caribbean, the diverse cultural manifestations that have come as a result of the mixing of mestizo (Native American-European) and African races. From this mixture has been born the Afrocaribbean culture."

The festival is comprised of academic, artistic and musical presentations. In past years the themes for the academic conferences have been subjects such as tobacco and sugar cane. In 2001 the theme was coffee. Academic investigators, writers, coffee growers and NGO organizations came together to discuss aspects of this theme.

Musically the festival brings together musicians from all over the Caribbean and beyond for 11 evenings of excellent concerts and presentations. The concert mainstage is on the malecon, or harbor boulevard of Veracruz. The bay and ancient Spanish fortress of San Juan backs the stage. Each evening from about 7:30 to 12:30 band after band gives its best to the audience. There is ample room to dance for those who are moved to their feet. There are additional concerts presented in neighborhood parks around the city. In 2001 a block in old town was closed off and the Estrellas Cubanas played classic Cuban dance tunes until 3AM and there were two concerts presented on Iguanas Beach. In past years IVEC has also offered short workshops with dancers and percussionists from the festival. They promise to do it again this year, probably featuring Colombian percussion.

At the moment, IVEC has not put up information about this year's upcoming festival. But check into their webpage periodically, as sooner or later they'll post the festival info. Last year it was later, about 5 days before the festival. We are working with them this year to get the info up sooner.

Take a look at these newspaper articles for a bit on last year's festival. From Cuba, in English, Granma Internacional, and from Mexico, in Spanish, La Jornada. See below for last years performance schedule.


Schedule: Afrocaribbean Festival
July 2001

Wednesday 11
Festival Inauguration
Paseo del Malecon 8pm
Participants: Ruben Blades (Panama), William Cepeda (Puerto Rico)

Friday 13
Africa, America program
Paseo del Malecon, 8pm
Participants: Chuchumbe (Mexico), Vieux Diop (Senegal) and Sista Monica (USA)

Saturday 14
Neighborhood Festival Program
Las Brisas Recreation Center 6pm
Particpants: Tamborileros de Nacajuca (Tabasco-Mex), Big Band Jazz and Sol Mestizo (Xalapa-Mex)

Bugambilia Park, 6pm
Participants: Quetzal (USA), Son como Son (Veracruz-Mex)

Afrocuban Night program
Paseo del Malecon, 8pm Participants: Obini Ana (Xalapa-Mex), Yoruba Andaba (Cuba), Estrellas Cubanas and Juana Bacallo (Cuba).

Block Party and Dance Ataranzas Street, 10:30
Participants: Estrellas Cubanas (Cuba) and Hjalmar y su Orquestra (Colombia-Mexico)

Sunday 15

Neighborhood Festival Program
Las Brisas Recreation Center 6pm Particpants: Quetzal (USA)

Bugambilia Park, 6pm
Participants: Tamborileros de Nacajuca (Tabasco-Méx) Chuchumbé (Veracruz-Méx) and Vieux Diop (Senegal)

All Roads Program
Paseo del Malecon, 8pm Participants: Big Band Jazz (Xalapa-Méx), Sol Mestizo (Xalapa-Méx), Quetzal (USA) y Rodolfo 'Popo' Sánchez (Méx)

Drumers Program
Playa Iguanas, 10:30
Gathering of drums Particpants: Tamborileros de Nacajuca (Tabasco- Méx), Tambores Barloventeños (Venezuela), Yoruba Andabo (Cuba) and Olodum (Brasil)

Tuesday 17
City Square, 8pm Capoeíra Longe do Mar (Brasil)

Wednesday 18
Theatre Teatro de la Reforma, 8pm
Teatro Negro de Barlovento (Venezuela)

Thursday 19
Theatre Teatro de la Reforma, 8pm
Teatro Negro de Barlovento (Venezuela)

A night in Macondo Program
Paseo del Malecón, 8pm
Participants: Estampas Colombianas, Así es el Llano (Colombia), William Cepeda and Afro-Rican jazz (Puerto Rico), David Haro, Armando Chacha (México)

Friday 20
Africa Here! Program
Paseo del Malecón, 8pm
Participants: SEC percussion ensable (Xalapa-Mex), Sol Mestizo y Grupo Folklorico (Veracruz-Mex) and Tania Libertad (Perú) Paseo del Malecón 20:00 hora

Saturday 21
Neighborhood Festival Program
Las Brisas Recreation Center 6pm Particpants: Yoruba Andabo (Cuba), Karachi y Piel Morena (Cuba)

Bugambilia Park, 6pm
Participants: La Negra Graciana (Ver-Mex) and Estrellas Cubanas (Cuba)

Cuban stars in Mexico program
Paseo del Malecon, 8pm
Participans: Victor Lay and Son de Luna (Cuba-Mex), Osmany Paredes (Cuba), Ricardo Benitez (Cuba) and El Gran Fellove (Cuba)

Sunday 22
Neighborhood Festival Program
Las Brisas Recreation Center 6pm Particpants: Yoruba Andabo (Cuba)

Bugambilia Park, 6pm
Participants: Juana Bacallo (Cuba)

The Mexican Sound Program
Paseo del Malecon, 8pm Participants: Pregoneros del Recuerdo (Veracruz-Mex), Son de la Loma (Veracruz-Mex), La Mata del Son (Mexico City-Mex)

Beach Bash
Iguanas Beach, 10:30
Participants: La Tremenda Korte (Mex), Merenglass (Dom Rep.), Senor Bikini (Mex)


Performers: Afrocaribbean Festival
July 2001

Ruben Blades. Panama. Helped bring salsa to the world. Has played with other greats such a Ray Barreto and Willie Colon. Composed Pedro Navajas, won a grammy with his group, Sies del Solar.

Oscar Chavez. Mexico. Singer, songwriter, folklorist, social activist.

Longe do Mar. Brazil. Performers of capoeira- a form of self defense developed by Brazilian slaves whose defensive elements are hidden in the movements of dance.

Murah Soares. Brazil. The Brazilian religion of candombol is celebrated thought vigorous afro-Brazilian dances. Murah Soares, also trained in ballet and modern dance, is a virtuoso when dancing candombole.

Olodum. Brazil. Natives of Bahia, Olodum has played with Gal Costa, Jimmy Cliff and Paul Simon. Olodum expresses the energy and feelings of the black Bahia community through the rhythms of rap, reggae and sambe-reggae.

Yoruba Andabo, Cuba. From Havana.,16 singers, percussionists and dancers who perform Cuban rumba with Yoruba songs and dances to the Orishas. Mesmerizing rhythms, amazing movement!

Osmany Paredes Gonzalez. Cuba. From a long line of Cuban musicians, Osmany has performed with Orquestra America, Israel "Cachao" Lopez, Celio Gonzalez and Amaury Gutierrez.

Victor Lay. Cuba. Founder of the Orquestra Aragon and composer of Cien Fuegos Tiene su Guaguanco, this singer/songwriter has been an important figure in Cuban music for 60 years.

Son de Luna. Mexico. These young musicians from Sonora bring to us the rhythms of son montuno, rumba, cha-cha-cha, mambo and danzon. They have played in Mexico, Cuba and the USA.

La Mata del Son. Mexico. This group brings together the flavor Cuban son and elements of Mexican traditional music. They are currently producing and album with sons, boleros and rumbas. La Mata del Son has performed in Mexico, Venezuela, Austria and Germany.

Teatro Negro de Barlovento. Venezuela. For 25 years Teatro Negro has brought to the stage through music, dance, poetry and performance the cultural values of the coastal region of Venezuela in Miranda state. Their goal is to conserve and spread the Afro-Venezuelan culture. They also run programs aimed at bettering the quality of life in this region.

William Cepeda. Puerto Rico. This superb trombonist has been inspired by the traditional rhythms of Puerto Rico, the bomba and plena. He has combined this with Jazz to create Afrorican Jazz.

Sista Monica. USA. With roots in Chicago gospel, Sista Monica has been called "The best new blues band", has played the Monterey Blues Festival, and has played in Holland, Belgium and Norway.

Quetzal. USA. Compared with Los Lobos and at the forefront of the LA Chicano Artisitic movement, this band combines son Jarocho, Son Montuno, Cumbia, Jazz, rock and blues to create strong, rich music with a message about community and roots.

Estampas Colombianas. Mexico-Colombia. This folkloric group was created in 1982 in Mexico city to create a voice to express and share Colombian culture through music, dance and poetry.

La Tremenda Korte. Mexico. This group of young musicians creates energetic dance music to the rhythm of ska. Their first disc was called "the best debut of Afrolatin rock" by the magazine Nuestro Rock.

La Negra Graciana. Mexico. A virtuoso harpist from central Veracruz state who plays the lively and fast rhythms of son Jarocho, a musical style born of the combination of African and Spanish musical traditions. Internationally, the best known song from this genre is La Bamba.

Tania Libertad. Peru. Interprets boleros, rumbas, folkloric and popular Latin American songs.

Orquestra de Musica Traditional Moscovita. Mexico. Playing rhythms like danzon, bolero, cha-cha-cha, son, pregon and mambos, this orchestra's focus is Afrocaribbean music and traditional music of Veracruz.

Combo Ninguno. Mexico. From the city of Xalapa, danceable Caribbean rhythms are at the core of this bands lively sound.

Sol Mestizo. Mexico. Born as part of investigations of African customs in a small village in Veracruz state, Coyolillo, this group presents rhythms and dances brought to the Americas by African slaves.

Obini Ana. Mexico. A female percussion trio with a focus on West African and Afrocaribbean rhythms.

Merenglass. Dominican Republic. With musicians from the Dominican Republic and Mexico, Merenglass brings together a fusion D.R. and Mexican sound to their very danceable merengue.

Vieux Diop. Senegal. East African musician and singer who crosses the bridge between traditional and modern with his music.

Chuchumbe. Mexico. Plays the son Jarocho fandango music of southern Veracruz as well as investigating and reviving ancient songs and dances from the region. Together with Vieux Diop they create an enchanting African-Mexican sound.

Hjalmar el Mayor. Colombia-Mexico. The flavor of Colombia with merengue, Vallenato, salsa and son rhythms.