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Mexilachian Son: New Songs For An Emerging Virginia Culture

A sponsored project of Virginia Humanties, we invite you to a weekend of free and open to the public performance presentations featuring Veracruz, Mexico based Son Jarocho master musician and poet Zenen Zeferino in collaboration with roots music ensemble the Lua Project.

MEXILACHIAN SON is a multimedia project featuring extensive interviews with Latino immigrants in Central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. With support from Virginia Humanities, Lua Project artists Estela Diaz Knott and David Berzonsky documented the experiences of immigrants after settling in Virginia. Knott, Berzonsky, and Zeferino have now turned those stories into poetic verses and paired them with the music of traditional son jarocho songs. The resulting arrangements call upon both the Mexican and Appalachian traditions of the collaborating artists.

Lua Project and Zenen Zeferino will be performing these pieces, along with a collection of original Mexilachian songs, at two public presentations in early May in Luray and Charlottesville.

Zenen Zeferino was born in Jáltipan de Morelos, Veracruz, in a family of poets and singers, who for several generations have cultivated this form of musical and poetic expression, which has its natural space within the fandango tradition. This style has been kept alive to this day thanks to the cultural transmission through countless generations over hundreds of years. He is a skilled composer of verses who has cultivated the different poetic forms that the jarocho tradition offers. Besides being a skilled performer of the jarana, the principal accompaniment instrument of son jarocho, he is the possessor of an outstanding voice that has placed him in a privileged place among the singers of son jarocho, and is renowned as a lyrical improviser.

Estela Knott and David Berzonsky, based in Charlottesville, VA are two very experienced and effective performers, teachers and community bridge builders who have a deep love, appreciation and understanding of a multitude of global folk musical traditions. They began their journey together performing with renowned Malian griot and ngoni master Cheick Hamala Diabate, and in their 21 years together have travelled and performed throughout North and South America, and have engaged in extensive study of folk music from Mexico, Peru, and Brazil, performing and recording with artists throughout the Americas. More recently, they run Blue Ridge Music Together, which has worked with hundreds of Charlottesville area families teaching family oriented music classes, perform together in the Lua Project, which is an original music ensemble that blends elements of Latin and Appalachian song traditions. David also plays upright bass with the acclaimed Gypsy jazz ensemble, The Olivarez Trio.