Sol y Canto Brings ?Latin AmericanRhythm and Culture

Urging audience members to clap and dance along to the beat of music created by hispanic instruments made of Armadillo’s shell, horse jaw and goats’ nails, Sol Y Canto, a rhythmic Latin American music group, performed on Saturday night in Kemper Auditorium as part of the Latin Arts Weekend celebration. Alianza Latina, the student club responsible for organizing Latin Arts Weekend, invited Sol y Canto to share music from a variety of Latin American countries with the Andover community. “’We love singing [Latin] music and celebrating Latin culture through all types of Latin American music…When we started [performing], we were very motivated to share our ideals and express our hopes for peace in the world and social justice through our music,” said Rosi Amador, a member of Sol y Canto. In a highly interactive performance, the group also invited volunteers to play instruments, including the drums, with them. One of the songs the group performed was “Cuchara, Cuchara,” which translates to “Spoon, Spoon” in English. This song made the audience laugh because the song plays on the repetition of only three words: the Spanish words for spoon, knife and fork. In addition to Rosi, Sol y Canto, which means “Sun and Song” in Spanish, includes members Renato Thoms from Panama and Brian Amador, Rosi’s husband, from Albuquerque, Nm. Brian often accompanies Rosi’s singing and bongo drum playing with his own voice and guitar, while Thoms, a recent addition to the group, plays the conga drums as well as the cajón, a Peruvian box-shaped instrument. “We love making music and it makes people happy. Tonight was a perfect example of what we are trying to do with the music, which is to liven things up a little bit and help people have a good time. We are trying to communicate about our culture and the positive messages that a lot of our music carries,” said Brian. Sol y Canto wove together many facets of Latin American culture to create an inclusive performance to which many students could relate. “The Sol y Canto performance was an accurate and incredible description and explanation of the Latino culture and its historical sense of diversity. My personal favorite was when they began playing a song [that] my parents would often play at family gatherings and seeing other people besides people from Latino origins at the performance, dancing and diversifying their experiences,” said Chris Amendano ’13, one of the Latin Arts Weekend coordinators. Between performances, Brian, Rosi and Thoms described Latin American instruments, such as the kena and the cajón, and spoke about Latin music history. Their music was largely influenced by Latin American countries, especially Cuba and Puerto Rico, but it also includes African infusions. Melodic tunes were produced by indigenous flutes accompanied by the bongo drums. “[Sol y Canto] brought to the school a taste of Latin America as a whole, performing songs from Peru, Chile, Argentina, the Caribbean and even Mexico. It didn’t matter where people were from because they could still identify some of the rhythms, and in some cases, even the songs…we will never forget those instruments made of an Armadillo’s shell, a horse jaw and goats’ nails,” said Carmen Muñoz-Fernandez, Instructor in Spanish and Co-Faculty Advisor of Alianza Latina. “I walked away with beats playing in my head and a new wealth of knowledge about the roots of Latin American music,” said Alexandra Donovan ’13, Co-President of Alianza Latina. “[Sol y Canto performers] are very passionate about what they do. It’s not just about the music. They have found a great way to blend the music, the language, the culture and the history all-together,” said Josselyn DeLeon ’13, Co-President of Alianza Latina. Sol y Canto was formed in 1994 originally as a sextet, but now the group consists of a trio team. Prior to forming Sol y Canto, Brian and Rosi were leaders of another Latin American band that they formed in 1984, called “Flor de Caña,” meaning “Sugarcane Flower.” “I loved it! I thought it was entertaining, educational and very artistic. It took us around different regions of Latin America with music,” said Diana Vargas, an Andover parent. Designed to represent Latino students on campus, Alianza Latina promotes Latino culture and raises awareness of the diversity of Latino students on campus. Their annual fall term event, Latin Arts Weekend, seeks to accomplish the club’s goals through school-wide events and performances.