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Décimas: Ancient Form, New Stories

Northeastern Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Décimas: Ancient Form, New Stories
A workshop on composing décimas by Raquel Z. Rivera, Ph.D., and members of the band Ojos de Sofia 

Members of the band Raquel Z. Rivera & Ojos de Sofia provide an in-depth look at the historical roots and contemporary cultural contexts of décimas while providing attendees with the rudimentary knowledge to compose in the tradition of this centuries-old poetic. Taking as a departure point the Puerto Rican and Dominican décimas, this talk and workshop aims to bring in the décimas from the stuck-in-time “folkloric” margins by making this poetic and musical tradition relevant to literary and musical audiences of all ethnicities—including non-Spanish-speaking audiences—and by spreading the knowledge of and interest in décimas composition.

This workshop is in collaboration with Dr. Murray Forman’s “Media, Culture and Society” class and Latino/a Heritage Month.

Partners: Northeastern Center for the ArtsMusic, Media and Screen Studies and Communication StudiesLatino/a Student Cultural Center

Raquel Z. River & Ojos de Sofia

Raquel Z. Rivera, Ph.D. is an author, scholar and singer-songwriter.

She is co-editor of the anthology Reggaeton (2009) and author of New York Ricans from the Hip Hop Zone (2003). Her academic articles on popular culture have been published in various books and journals. (Click on CV for complete listing.) A freelance journalist, her articles have been published in numerous magazines and newspapers, among these: Vibe,One WorldUrban LatinoEl Diario/La PrensaHoyThe San Juan Star,El Nuevo DíaClaridad and Diálogo. She blogs about her creative process at Cascabel de Cobre and about reggaeton and hip-hop

She has a Ph.D. in Sociology and is a Visiting Scholar at the University of New Mexico’s Sociology Department and an Affiliated Scholar at theCenter for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, New York City. Her areas of scholarly interest are popular music and culture, race and ethnicity, nation and diaspora, and the intersections between Latino and Africana studies. She has taught courses in Sociology, Anthropology, Africana and Latino Studies at Columbia University, Hunter College and Tufts University. A sought-after lecturer and panelist, she has done numerous presentations at colleges, conferences, schools and community-based organizations throughout the United States, Cuba and Puerto Rico.

Ojos de Sofia weave together Puerto Rican jibaro music and bomba with Dominican salves and bachata. Their neo-folk approach to world music is highly danceable and filtered through a quirky New York City aesthetic. Their first album Las 7 salves de La Magdalena / 7 Songs of Praise for The Magdalenedebuted in March 2011 on the World Music Charts Europe Top 20. Director and singer/songwriter Raquel Z. Rivera is also an accomplished author with a Ph.D. in Sociology. She writes deceptively simple songs richly layered in imagery and symbolism, which she delivers in a distinct earthy voice that is as tender as it is haunting. Ojos de Sofia is a powerhouse team featuring some of the best veteran and rising Latino musicians in New York City: musical director, guitarist and cuatrista Bryan Vargas; guitarist Yasser Tejeda; pianist Desmar Guevara; bassist Donald Nicks; vocalists Anabellie Rivera, Catarina Dos Santos and Kaila Paulino; and percussionists Camilo Molina-Gaetan, Jonathan Troncoso and Juan Gutierrez.