The Guild Literary Complex presents:
PALABRA PURA: A Night of Corridos
Hosted by Juan Díes, folklorist and co-founder of the GRAMMY-nominated Sones de México Ensemble.
Palabra Pura promotes literary expression in more than one tongue through a bi-monthly bilingual poetry reading featuring Chicano and Latino artists.
Palabra Pura now comes to Pilsen, the cultural heart of Chicago’s Mexican community, to dig deep into ‘corridos,’ a unique form of Mexican poetry and balladry that emerged in the mid-19th Century and continues to thrive today.
Corridos tell true stories that honor the lives of tragic heroes and outlaws who acted in defiance of forces greater than themselves. They are tales of bravery, self-determination, pride, sacrifice and other qualities celebrated in Mexican culture.
For this Palabra Pura program, Juan Díes will host an evening of corridos with several carefully selected musicians, poets and actors. They will read in sing in Spanish with dramatized English translations.
A $5 donation is requested.
Featured artists will include:
JUAN DIES, host (musician, folklorist)—Co-founder and Director of the two-time GRAMMY Nominated Sones de Mexico Ensemble, Juan grew up in San Luis Potosí, Mexico and is an avid performer and teacher of corrido songwriting. Last year, he completed a 12-state corrido songwriting workshop funded by the National Endowment for the Arts that included a memorable collaboration with U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera in the writing of the “Corrido of Sandra Bland” featured on NPR’s Latino USA. This summer, Juan will teach an intensive 4-week course (in Spanish) on the history and analysis of corridos at UNAM-Chicago starting on July 26.
JESUS ‘CHUY’ NEGRETE (corrido singer, historian, activist)—A nationally recognized entertainer and educator from Chicago who uses corridos to give an authentic perspective on Mexican history. A son of migrant farm workers, he was born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico and spent his childhood in Texas before moving to South Chicago with his family. Studs Terkel dubbed Negrete “the Chicano Woody Guthrie” because of his performance style and his focus on social justice.
GREGORIO GOMEZ (poet, actor)— Emcee of WEEDS, Chicago’s most infamous and longest running underground poetry venue. Gregorio, who emigrated from Veracruz, Mexico, has been a major influence in the development of the spoken word and many venues of Chicago’s poetry community for over two decades. He has been the Managing Director of Latino Chicago Theater Company and has been published in numerous alternative poetry magazines.
LAURO LOPEZ (actor)—Studied acting at UNAM & INBA in México City. He’s acted under de direction of well-known Mexican directors, such as Héctor Mendoza, Luis de Tavira, Germán Castillo, José Caballero, among many others. In Chicago, since 1989, he has worked with Teatro Aguijón, Latino Chicago Theater, Repertorio Latino, El Tecolote, The Opera Factory, among others.
ALBA GUERRA (actor, singer)—Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. An outstanding singer of Latin American music has earned renown for her passionate Tango interpretations. In Chicago, she started her acting career with the Opera Factory and is currently an ensemble member with Aguijon Theater with credits in over a dozen plays.
JJ ROMERO (actor)—Born in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, JJ Romero studied at Northeastern Illinois University. As an actor, he has appeared in several plays including the Urban Theater Company’s production of Julia de Burgos: Child of Water by Carmen Rivera and Colectivo El Pozo’s production of El Campanario (The Bell Tower).
ALFONSO SEIVA (actor, activist)—Originally from Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, Alfonso is a talented actor who has participated in several productions by local playwrights at times portraying characters from the 1910 Mexican Revolution. He is also an active defender of immigration, civil rights and political reform with MORENA and Justicia en Ayotzinapa Comité Chicago, among others.
RUDY PIÑON (musician)—A multi-instrumentalist and member of Sones de Mexico Ensemble, Rudy has been a professional Mariachi musician with a half dozen local bands for the past 15 years. He is also a youth music instructor with the Chicago Mariachi Project.