Bronze Community Band Project to explore the history and influences on music by Mexican American musicians —
September 27, 2020

Bronze Community Band Project to explore the history and influences on music by Mexican American musicians

By Liz Lopez

Austin Public Library’s Hispanic Heritage Month activities feature The Bronze Community Band Project, which will present “Tribute To La Musica Chicana, The History and Influences on Music by Mexican American Musicians,” Sunday September 22, from 2 to 5 p.m. The second of a series with a music performance art piece, “Tribue To La Musica Chicana” chronicles the influence and history on the Mexican American culture from indigenous culture to that of the 1920s and up to 1960. The Bronze Community Band is a group of seasoned musicians that present a myriad of compositions performed over the years, including Indigenous, Tex-Mex, Chicano rhythm and blues, cumbias, boleros, oldies and more, reflecting the creativity by Mexican American musicians. Robert Rivera Ojeda, musical director, will introduce each song with historical information.

The Bronze Community Band Project musicians are Robert Rivera Ojeda (bass, keyboard, vocals);  Jean Jacques “JJ” Barrera (bajo-sexto, guitar, bass, vocals); Ramiro Pedraza (alto & tenor sax); Frank Rodriguez (drums); and Alex Hernandez (saxaphone). Long term member of the Bronze Band, Ernesto Calderon (Trumpet, Flugelhorn & Project Coordinator), will not be performing after all for personal reasons.

Invited guest performers include singer-songwriter Leti Garza, who was invited to perform at the XXI International Festival de Las Romerías de Mayo in Holguín, Cuba in 2015; Jonas Alvarez, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and award winning songwriter; John Michael, a young emerging guitarist; and the Son Jarocho musical project Güateque Son, which specializes in regional folk music from the state of Veracruz, Mexico with a Tejano edge based in Austin.

Ramon Hernandez, musicologist, Latino music archivist, and photojournalist who recently had his papers and Tejano music artifacts and memorabilia acquired by The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University, will also present historical information on Austin musicians and other data acquired.

The Bronze Community Band Project is an initiative to create a community-based music ensemble. The project creator, Robert Rivera Ojeda, was looking for musicians “who wanted to dig deeper into the cultural roots of Chicano music.” The call for musicians went out in 2018 and then the Sunday afternoon rehearsals began at The Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, which provides the space for rehearsals for the community. The first “Tribute to la Musica Chicana” presentation was held in September 2018.

The program is a vehicle for showcasing traditional and contemporary works of Mexican American music performance art that involves the research, preservation and presentation of the music. The collaboration with the ESB-MACC allows for archiving the works as part of the artistic growth and participation of the Mexican American community in Austin. The project provides organized rehearsals detailing protocols for music performance opportunities to musicians of all ages in the city. There is also community-based research and dialogues addressing the needs for promoting Austin’s Mexican American music performance and history.

The event will be held at the Austin Central Library, 710 W. Cesar Chavez St.  Admission is free and the event is family friendly and open to the public. For more information, visit this page.

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