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Segunda Quimbamba to perform at NJHS' Annual Halloween Family Festival


Segunda Quimbamba, a Jersey City-based percussion and dance ensemble, will perform at The New Jersey Historical Society’s “It’s a Puerto Rican Halloween: Annual Community Family Festival” on Saturday, October 25, 2003 at 2:30 p.m. at 52 Park Place, Newark, NJ.

The festival is open and free to the public from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, this year’s festival highlights the Historical Society’s new exhibition ¡Que bonita bandera! The Puerto Rican Flag as Folk Art, which explores the ways in which the Puerto Rican flag is used as a form of cultural expression and identity. The exhibition, created by City Lore: the New York Center for Urban Folk Culture, features traditional objects, color photographs, carnival vejigante masks, and samples of murals and urban memorial wall art, all using imagery of the Puerto Rican flag. Festival activities will include mask making, decorating mini-pumpkins, and painting a community mural.

The performance by Segunda Quimbamba will be a highlight of the festival. The ensemble will play authentic plena, the drum music of Puerto Rico reflecting its African heritage. Plena is reported to have originated in the southern part of Puerto Rico during the early 20th century. It is called the “sung newspaper of Puerto Rico” because its songs reflect the everyday life of the working class of its coastal towns. It is played with a hand-held frame drums called panderetas, a güiro, cowbells, and at times, congas. Plena, often danced in pairs, is found in every protest, strike, and demonstration in Puerto Rican communities both on the island and in the U.S.

Segunda Quimbamba, originally called Los Pleneros de la Segunda, was founded by director Juan Cartagena and his wife, Nanette Hernández in 1989 when the two began playing during the Christmas season to preserve another Puerto Rican tradition called “parrandas.” In 1997, the group’s name was changed to Segunda Quimbamba in honor of both Second Street, Jersey City, where most of the members either live or have lived, and “Quimbamba,” the mystical place described in a famous poem by Puerto Rican writer Luis Pales Matos.

Segunda Quimbamba is composed of: Cartagena; his wife Nanette Hernández; Miriam Felix, Roberto Cepeda; Edwardo Torres; Nancy Cepero; Luis Pérez; Rafael Torres; Monica Vega Torres; Lillian Pérez; Iliana Díaz; Jeslyn Garcia; Bridget López; Anibal Alvelo, and Francisco Ortiz.

For more information, please contact Maribel Jusino-Iturralde, Community Programs Coordinator, at (973) 596-8500, ext. 233.

This program was made possible in part by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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The New Jersey Historical Society
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(973) 596-8500 - Fax: (973) 596-6957
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