The El Sueño Existe Festival 2009 took place on 14th, 15th, 16th August.
The Festival in Pictures
The Festival in Words
Once again we celebrated the life and work of Victor Jara, the beautiful voice of Popular Unity in Chile nearly forty years ago. He sang about the dream of a world in which the exploited and underprivileged would achieve power and dignity. His cruel murder by reactionary forces could not silence his voice which has been joined by many others in Latin America who share his vision. In particular the indigenous populations of the region have created a movement for change that embodies the dream in the social and political development of a number of countries, most notably Bolivia.
This year the El Sueño Existe Festival celebrated the vitality of indigenous cultures as they challenge centuries of oppression and marginalization and offer the world an opportunity to keep alive the amazing diversity of human expression and creativity.
Such a festival in Wales can provide a global context for the Welsh movement that seeks to protect and maintain an indigenous British culture. Alongside music and performances there was an opportunity to compare the historical experience of indigenous communities in Latin America and in Britain.
The third festival was an exuberant 3 day Latino-Welsh party rooted in issues of social justice and human rights.
Sofia Buchuck from Peru performed with her band Killa Raymi. Sofia sings in Quechua, an indigenous Peruvian language and her band present a fusion of carnival and Andean music with contemporary rhythms creating a heady danceable mix. Sofia was awarded a Best Latin American singer award for 2005. For more info, visit www.sofiabuchuck.co.uk. Sofia will also be presenting an indigenous ceremony in which people may participate during the festival, “The Adoration Of The Moon”.
Welsh folk-rock band Bob Delyn A’r Ebillion performed their highly original and haunting style of Welsh folk music. Fronted by Celtic bard Twm Morus, they sing in Welsh and Breton. The band played a major part in the Welsh fol revival of the 1990s.
Chilean musician and poet, Carlos Arredondo, played as a duet with Galo Ceron. Carlos lives in Edinburgh and performs wonderful versions of the songs of Victor Jara and Violeta Parra. His poetry and original songs address themes of identity and belonging, issues that chime well with the general theme of this year’s festival.
Galo Ceron will also presented a recital of Latin American classical music by Augustine Barrios, Julio Sagreras and Leo Brouwer.
Welsh harpist and story teller, Sian James, played the evocative melodies of Wales and present a children’s workshop of Welsh lullabies.
Welcome return to the festival was be that of Italian songstress, Silvia Balducci. She again presented songs from her wonderful album “Homenaje A Una Sonrisa” [Homage To A Smile] as well as singing the stirring songs of the great Violeta Parra.
Also a welcome return of Grupo Amigo Artista who are a Chilean and Bolivian ensemble based in London and present great versions of Latin American anthems as well as the songs of Victor Jara.
Wandering troubadour and accordion wizard, Flakito, drifted back into town for the festival. Flakito is from New Zealand and plays the music of Columbia, where he once lived whilst working with Peace Brigades International.
The Quechua Scissor dancers were a highlight of the last festival and we are over the moon to have them back to perform their spectacular indigenous dance.
Welsh music legend, Dafydd Iwan, was also back. He is well known for his lifelong campaigning for the Welsh language and for the anthemic song, “Yma O Hyd”. He also wrote the moving song “Can Victor Jara” which raised awareness of Victor Jara’s story in Wales.
Cristian Leiva represented the Victor Jara festival that takes place in Chillan, the birthplace of Victor. He is a young virtuoso charango player and presents magical versions of Andean melodies. He is currently studying charango in Bolivia.
Revolutionary troubadour, Paul Baker Hernandez, returned to the festival from his home in Nicaragua. He regaled us with tales of his adventures and play mystic and earthy versions of Victor’s songs as well as pithy protest songs of his own on his homemade green guitar.
The Killa Raymi/Adoration to the Moon is a show of Andean fusion lead by Sofia Buchuck and the Andean band based in London.
Killa Raymi represents the mixed roots reflecting the transculturalization of Latin america. Killa Raymi brings the most happy carnivals mixed with contemporary rhythms as well as a ritualistic poem paying respect to Mother Earth “Pachama/Viracocha” and other Pre-Colombian deities such as Apus Mamas and Apu Taitas, sacred mountains. These contemporary rhythms allow us to celebrate London’s diversity and contrast – Homenaje a los migrantes at “La Despedida” involves dancers of scissors and colourful costumes lead by the evocative voice of Sofia Buchuck, awarded Best Latin American Artist 2005/6.
A highlight of the political and social discussions during the festival was the presence of two Bolivian Ambassadors, Beatriz Souviron, Ambassador to the UK, and Luzmila Carpio, Ambassador to France. Luzmila Carpio, one of the Quechua leaders of Bolivia’s powerful indigenous movements and world famous Andean musician, joined Dafydd Iwan, Welsh leader and musician, Menna Machreth and others to explore a Welsh perspective on Bolivia’s democratic revolution.
There was a fascinating discussion in three languages about the significance of Bolivia having elected President Evo Morales as Latin America’s first indigenous head of state. Luzmila Carpio spoke movingly about the contribution that Andean attitudes to nature, Pachamama, can make to world environment policy. The thinking which led to the new Constitution of the Bolivian Plurinational State was seen as an inspiration to other nations, like Wales, that seek to affirm a rightful place for their indigenous traditions.