Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Power of Five Challenge #3: Roberto Ferreyra @ Colbri Gallery

OK, I cheated, sort of. Colibri Gallery is the same place twice, but for a different reason each time. And that's a key part of what placemaking is all about. As Placemaking Chicago puts it, "What makes some places succeed while others fail? In part, it is having a variety of things to do in one spot." Colibri Gallery has taken that idea to heart.

On the fourth Saturday of each month, the gallery becomes dance hall and jam session in one. Ferreyra and at least half a dozen musical friends play drums, violin and a variety of guitars, including small ones popular in the Mexican states of Jalisco and Veracruz. It's the monthly fandango, featuring traditional Mexican music but not limited to that style. For example, Colombian folk music and Cuban Jose Marti's "Guantanamera," made famous by Pete Seeger here in the U.S. were on the ticket both times I've stopped by. UPDATE: This month the fandango will be taking a break for the holidays.

After midnight, people carried out a wooden stand to dance on. The dance involved lots of complex rhythmic footwork. To me it looked a little like tap. A beginner got out there with her friend and they did a simple pattern I tried to keep up with from my seat. For another take on the fandango, click here.

Unfortunately, I don't have any audio of this fandango to share, but I can highly recommend Sones de Mexico as Pilsen and Chicago's finest traditional Mexican folk ensemble. About this time last year, they were featured on NPR when their album Es Tierra Es Tuya (This Land Is Your Land) was nominated for Best Folk Album. On their own web site, you can listen to a clip of "Huapango Club Remix," which gives you a bit of the flavor of what you might hear on a Saturday night at Colibri.

Colibri Gallery's fandango will resume on the fourth Saturday of January, 2009. Suggested donation is $8. Sometimes there's a raffle of nice art, too. Hope to see you there sometime!

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