Passion & Protest: Songs of Resistance
Diana Sáez and Friends
Connecting to Dissonance, our exhibition of new work by sculptor Miguel Antonio Horn, Taller presents an intimate performance of passionate songs of protest from Spain and the Americas. Through their political commitment and powerful lyricism, artists such as Rafael Hernández, Violeta Parra, Victor Jara, Caetano Veloso, and Joan Manuel Serrat created songs that are emblematic of struggles for freedom and social justice–both past and present. Performers Diana Sáez and Friends (Pável Urkiza, Suzzette Ortiz, and Christian Noguera) offer stirring contemporary renditions of these timeless classics.
This performance is part of Taller’s Diálogo Series, whose goal is to deepen our understanding of broader social issues of struggle, community, economic upheaval, and identity. Funding for Diálogo has been provided by a generous grant from PNC Arts Alive, a multi-year initiative of the PNC Foundation dedicated to supporting visual and performing arts groups with the goal of increasing arts access and engagement in new and innovative ways.
Diana V. Sáez grew up surrounded by music in her beloved Puerto Rico where family and friends gathered to sing boleros and other traditional music. Diana is a leading specialist in Latin American choral music and an accomplished choral conductor. She is frequently invited as guest conductor, adjudicator and lecturer in the United States and abroad. She was the founder and artistic director of Cantigas, a chamber choir with the mission to increase awareness and appreciation of the many rich styles of Latin America and Spanish choral music. For 25 years Cantigas was a principal performer of Latin American music, with appearances at Kennedy Center, Strathmore Center, museums and embassies, as well as international tours in Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Cuba. As folk singer and chanteuse Diana has performed with several ensembles including Cantaré and Evaluna (Washington DC), Huellas (Boston, MA), and the In Series. Her choral music and arrangements are published by Boosey and Hawkes and by the Roger Dean Publishing Company.
Pavel Urkiza is recognized as a master musician for his contributions to contemporary Cuban music and is considered one of the most skilled and innovative composers and performers from Cuba. Pavel has produced over 10 of his own albums and more than 15 of other musicians. His respect and understanding of Cuba’s rich musicological ancestry, in combination with 22 years of musical experience in the Iberian Peninsula and the Canary Island have resulted in his unique style, offering a vast spectrum of rhythms, melodies and lyrics.
Suzzette Ortiz is a pianist, composer, educator and choral conductor. She is versatile in many musical styles and continues to perform in the tri-state area. She has recorded with many salsa bands including Orquesta La Paz of Philadelphia which were nominated for 4 Grammys in 2010. She recently retired from the Camden, City Schools after 27 years of service. She has won multiple awards both nationally and internationally traveling abroad with her students. Suzzette has opened up for the late Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Compay Segundo, Brenda K Starr, Hilton Ruiz and Nestor Torres.
Suzzette is currently the artistic director at AMLA music school in Philadelphia where she strives to continue to create social change through music.
Christian Gabriel Noguera is a percussionist and teaching artist, focused on folklore and popular music from Latin America.He was born in Misiones, Argentina. At the age of 13, he started playing percussion in Posadas, a city heavily influenced by music from the tri-border region of Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina.
Christian has taught percussion at AMLA (Artístas y Músicos Latino Americanos) for the past seven years. He teaches middle and high school students, as well as adults in the Latin community. He is the co-founder of the group Timbalona along with Venezuelan artist Andrés Cisneros. Timbalona is a percussion collective whose mission is to spread the message of unity through the drums. Christian also currently teaches Afro-Cuban music at the University of Pennsylvania. He performs throughout the city and the surrounding area presenting work at venues such as the Kimmel Center, Suzanne Roberts Theatre, the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts, the Painted Bride Art Center, the Temple Performing Arts Center, Longwood Gardens.