Tag Archives: Casa de Cultura

Exploring the round world with Ramon and Jessica

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To paraphrase Gertrude Stein, song is a song is a song is a song. The Oakland-raised writer’s elliptical verse serves as the source of inspiration for the latest project by Ramon and Jessica, the singer/songwriter duo of Dina Maccabee and Jesse Olsen Bay. They present Roses are Blue, a suite for vocal ensemble inspired by Stein’s 1938 children’s book The World is Round, Friday at Berkeley’s Subterranean Arthouse and Saturday at San Francisco’s Red Poppy Art House.

“We don’t conceive it that way, but a lot of friends say their kids love our music,” says Maccabee, who spent a decade as a creative force on the Bay Area music scene before recently completing a masters program in composition at Wesleyan University. … Continue reading »

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Washing the blues away with Lavagem in Berkeley

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Everyone knows about Brazil’s famously exuberant carnival celebrations, which bring millions of people onto the streets for all-night samba-soaked revelry. In Salvador da Bahia, the heart of Afro-Brazilian culture, the Lavagem do Bonfim rivals carnival when it comes to communal celebration, though it’s not nearly as well known. On Sunday, the Casa de Cultura at San Pablo and Hearst is hosting a festival marking Brazilian Independence Day with a Lavagem inspired by the traditional blessing ceremony that culminates on the steps of the Church of Nosso Senhor do Bonfim after a long percussion-powered procession through Salvador. (Watch the video above to get a taste.)

The celebration opens in the morning with free dance classes and features performances on the main stage from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Lavagem procession and blessing takes place at 2 p.m. For Conceição Damasceno, the founder and guiding spirit of the Casa de Cultura, the ritual is more about staying connected to her Bahian heritage than with summoning the orixás, the syncretic deities of Candomblé that combine Yoruban and Catholic mysticism. … Continue reading »

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