NEW VIDEO SERIES: The Backyard Sessions

We are proud to present the Backyard Sessions, a new video series featuring performances by Los Cenzontles Academy students. It follows our popular Front Porch Sessions series of videos released in the Spring.

This Summer our teachers recognized that the pandemic would not soon dissipate. So they began teaching our singers to accompany themselves on guitar. These videos demonstrate their progress. And they capture the emotion of these most unusual times of loss and social isolation.

The first video presents sisters Isabel,16, and Selena, 12, singing “Paloma Azul” (Blue
Dove) dedicated to their grandparents.

The Backyard Sessions, like the previous Front Porch Sessions, are directed by James Hall. They occupy a place in our larger effort to address the impacts of the global pandemic, both economic and emotional, on our community.

Once again, Eugene Rodriguez, along with Academy’s teachers and the film crew were welcomed into the homes of our students—with everyone donning face masks and observing social distancing—to capture these special moments.

Los Cenzontles in the News: Billboard Magazine, NBC Bay Area, and More…

Our recent socially-distant collaboration with David Hidalgo (El Colas music video) caught the attention of Billboard Magazine, who interviewed Eugene and some of our students! You can read the article here.

And, in case you missed it, our Founder and Director, Eugene, appeared on two local stations last week discussing El Colas and the work of Los Cenzontles. You can watch Eugene on our local Fox affiliate KTVU by clicking here (forward to 37:00).

Eugene also appeared on the NBC Bay Area English-language version of the long-running Communidad Del Valle, as well as Telemundo’s Spanish language version. Here is the full interview with Eugene on NBC.

Bay Area News Group Publishes Article on The Front Porch Sessions

Our Front Porch Sessions are the subject of a great article that appears in print and online in the Bay Area News Groups’ papers The East Bay Times and The Mercury News. Click on the following link to read it!

Los Cenzontles shines virtual spotlight on young performers

NEW VIDEO SERIES: The Front Porch Sessions

A central part of Los Cenzontles Academy’s mission over the past 30-years has been to expand the range of possibilities and expectations—historically kept stagnant by most public institutions—for youth and families living in a largely Mexican-American community. Cultivating inner strength and resilience in young students has always been a chief aim of the methods employed by our teachers.  Weeks ago, we moved our Academy classes online, and provided virtual instruction at no cost to students and their families and avoiding discontinuity in our instruction has provided critical reassurance and stability to youth and parents alike.

The Front Porch Sessions occupy a place in this larger effort to address the impacts of the current public health threat and restrictions on social gathering on a community that is particularly vulnerable to the health and economic impacts of Covid-19. Los Cenzontles has long worked hand in hand with families to support youth, and along with the move to virtual instruction, Los Cenzontles shifted its teaching focus toward building and training family bands.

With the aim of demonstrating how sharing culture and art can strengthen connections within families, even during this time of great anxiety and disorientation, Los Cenzontles Founder and Executive Director Eugene Rodriguez, along with several of the Academy’s teachers, ventured out with the film crew—donning face masks and observing social distancing—and filmed the families singing, playing, and dancing together in front of their homes. The Front Porch Sessions turned that sacred place between their private and public lives into a performance arena to demonstrate their skills, cultural expression, joy and resilience.

You can watch a trailer for the Front Porch Series by clicking here. And to watch each of the seven videos, visit Los Cenzontles Academy’s Facebook page.

From the Mercury News: “Los Cenzontles drops new video on iconic California history chapter”

Andrew Gilbert has written a fantastic article on our recently released “El Corrido de Anza” video. You can read the article here. Here’s an excerpt from the article…

“El Corrido de Anza” is a striking 10-minute music video that details the 1,200-mile journey in song while capturing the succession of gorgeous landscapes encountered by the travelers (the piece was expertly shot and edited by Los Angeles-based Salvadoran-American filmmaker Armando Aparicio).

If you haven’t seen the video, click here to check it out!