By Sandra Martinez-Cortes
Residents in Madera, and throughout the Central Valley, are looking forward to a night of dance, delicious traditional Oaxacan cuisine, and rich culture as the Festival de la Chilena draws ever nearer. Organized by La Mesa Directiva (Executive Committee) de Santa María Tindú, a local grassroots group made up of natives of Santa María Tindú, Oaxaca, México, the 10th Festival de la Chilena promises an evening of fun for all on Sept. 18.
Chilenas are folk songs with mixed musical influences that were brought to Oaxaca by sailors and other South American immigrants passing through the area on their way north to California during the Gold Rush era—mid-19th century. Over time, the chilenas, which are usually played by brass bands, have evolved to be played with acoustic electronic instruments.
Chilenas during the festival will be played by both brass bands and electronic instruments as five groups are set to perform. There will also be dancing troupes.
“We continue to organize this event because it provides a unique opportunity for families to teach their children about our music and our culture,” said Mucio Cortés Herrera, president of La Mesa Directiva de Santa Maria Tindú.
“It is also an opportunity for all to learn about and celebrate our rich culture and traditions with us.”
The festival will begin at 6 p.m. on Sept. 18 at Charros Unidos (23647 Avenue 17, Madera). Tickets cost $25 before the event and $30 at the door. Children 14 years of age and younger are admitted free of charge. To reserve a table, or for more information, call 559-514-2284 or 559-232-5082.
Sandra Martinez-Cortes is a professor in the Foreign Languages Department at Fresno City College, a Madera resident, and secretary for La Mesa Directiva de Santa María Tindú.