In honour of En Via Fest, the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca was transformed into the site of a music festival this past Friday evening. It was the best type of festival; one that saw our community gather in the garden, surrounded by friends, great entertainment, food and drink.
Thankfully, the rain gods stayed away, and instead of the forecasted clouds, the sun shone on the green mountains above us, and the city around us. Friends came from all corners to join us. It was a fabulous night to catch up with everyone in our network, be they tour alumni, students, friends, volunteers, and visitors. Our team had the chance to talk about the programs and plans of En Via with newcomers and celebrate in our successes with our supporters.
Three women from our lending program came from Teotitlan to accompany us and provided the crowd with the nourishment they needed to keep dancing. Aquilina’s quesadillas and memelas were a favourite, as were Petra´s delicious tacos, and Reyna´s steaming hot corn elotes and esquites. I was delighted to see many of our guests and friends sharing some stories with the women as they shared their meals.
We were honoured to host Banda Jimenez, a valued and prestigious musical group from Teotitlan, for the event. The crowd was delighted by their performances of traditional banda music and their renditions of classics like New York New York and Somewhere Beyond the Sea. The seventeen-piece marching band has recently collaborated with Beirut’s Zach Condon (of New Mexico) for the March of the Zapotec EP. We were especially delighted to share the evening with them and the timeless sound of brass, wind, and percussion that are traditional to the valley.
When the night fell, so did a new wave of musical treats in the form of Güilli Ska. Also from Teotitlan, the band has been together since June 2011 and for the past year they have been impressing crowds in local music venues in the city of Oaxaca. We were proud to invite them to debut for our En Via event in 2011 and were excited to have their company again this year. In their mother tongue of Zapoteco, “Güilli” means “music”, and it is obvious that they are proud of their progressive sound as well as their heritage. I am sure we tore up the lawn a great deal with our dancing, and we thank the band for the fun times!
The money raised from the event will go towards the continuation of our micro-lending and educational programs that currently benefit more than 230 women and their families in the central valley of Oaxaca.
The event would not have been a success without the help of our En Via volunteers as well as the staff and students from the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca who kindly lent their hands. To these people, we send our sincere thanks!
And on behalf of all of the En Via team, including Carlos, Samantha and Yanet, and all of the volunteers, thank you, our friends and community, for joining us in Oaxaca for this event, and for your continuing support from afar.
You can find more about the bands that played and watch their videos at the following links: