December 21, 2007

Radio Bilingüe ‘Raíces II’ series depicts California’s diverse grassroots artists

“Raíces II: Art Moments on Radio,” a new Radio Bilingüe series, will help Latinos and especially immigrants learn more about the cultural traditions of diverse Latino groups and non-Latino communities.

“Raíces II” will begin airing in December on Radio Bil-ingüe’s weekday talk show Linea Abierta, which airs from noon to 1 p.m. PST on the community-based radio network’s satellite system of 100 affiliates throughout the U.S., Mexico and Puerto Rico as well as on its own six stations in California. Radio Bilingüe will also make the series available online live and in digital audio archives at www.radiobilingue.org

This second series builds on the original “Raíces,” which aired in 2006.

Funded by The James Irvine Foundation and produced in collaboration with Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA), Radio Bilingüe’s new series will air monthly for the next three years with one Linea Abierta talk show and one feature report per month.

Hugo Morales, executive director of Radio Bilingüe, said “Raíces II” will promote the connection of Latinos with the rich heritage of California, noting that traditional art and craft practices are being challenged by modern fashions and manufactured, commercialist art forms.

“Still, folk artists all over California make an effort to keep alive the traditions of diverse communities, enriching in the process the life and the soul of the increasingly diverse state,” Morales said.

Samuel Orozco, Radio Bilingüe executive producer, said the new series will advance those efforts with a comprehensive approach utilizing on-air and field interviews with traditional artists, including musicians, dancers, writers, poets, and crafts people.

Among the story ideas that are being considered for this special series are: 

• Elder Laotian Mien farmers who use traditional gardening practices (and cooking traditions) from Southeast Asia to grow vegetables in an urban plot in Oakland;

• An accomplished Ohlone Indian basket weaver in Monterey who cultivates the craft skills of her ancestors;

• A Filipino-American kulintang musician from the Bay Area who has gained national recognition;

• An annual charreada, a festive event where charros display their equestrian skills, in the northern California town of Ukiah.

The Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA), which supports, promotes, preserves and documents traditional artists in California and their work, will play an editorial advisory role. ACTA will provide story ideas, contacts for relevant artists or art events, background information about the stories or featured artists and information about sources or contacts that may provide technical support for the series.

The mission of The James Irvine Foundation is to expand opportunity for the people of California to participate in a vibrant, successful and inclusive society.

The original 2006 series profiled emerging and veteran folk artists from the California heartlands, including the Mexican string band Arpex from the Central Valley, Hawaiian ukulele performers in Salinas and a master of papel picado from the San Francisco Bay Area.

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