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Springfield Sister Cities Promotes Appearances By Musicians From Mexico

(Poster design courtesy Springfield Sister Cities Assocation)

Springfield Sister Cities Association invites you to the C-Street City Market, 321 E. Commercial Street at Jefferson, on Saturday June 8 at 10:00am (weather permitting) for a free concert by Grupo Musical Canela, a four-piece band from Springfield’s sister city of Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico. Canela will be joined by special guest Enrique Ortiz. It's free and open to the public. You can get a taste both of Mexican culture and locally grown food.  

“It’s the usual Farmer’s Market day (at the C-Street City Market), so it’s always a lovely time to visit anyway,” according to Cindy Jobe, Executive Director of Springfield Sister Cities Association. “The guys are here, actually, for several different events.” They were part of a private event Thursday evening at the Botanical Gardens.  While not a public performances, Jobe noted that “it lets us get to a new audience.” Tonight (Friday June 7) at Shuffle on South Campbell Avenue, there will be a showcase not just for Señor Ortiz and Grupo Canela, but all the area bands that will travel to Mexico for a music festival in July—it’s a fundraiser for their trip.  And after the band’s performance on Commercial Street Saturday morning, Jobe said they “will hustle from there and go to the southwest Missouri region Scout picnic. So we’re trying to show off their talents here as much as we can.”

Enrique Ortiz acted as spokesperson for the musicians. In addition to being a musician himself, Ortiz is a professor in the school of marketing at the University of Guadalajara.  “We are very glad to be here, and we are honored to be invited by Sister Cities in Springfield. This is not the first time that we are here, and we are so glad to be received with a warm attitude from all of the people involved with the Sister Cities program.” Referring to Grupo Canela, Ortiz called them “a group of young men that is the next generation that is replacing us,” meaning musicians of Ortiz’s generation. (Well, not yet; Ortiz is obviously still very much active!) “We are proud of them, because they had the opportunity to study formal music, and they are very well prepared. So they are now transforming the Mexican music into a more global sound, and also with the roots of the music in our Latin countries.” It’s part of a trend in the past few decades, with what Ortiz called a “fusion, (which) is the way the music is in evolution now. But we think that we can preserve the basic sound of Mexican music or Latin music, by transforming it in a contemporary sound.

“I can say,” Ortiz went on, “globalization is good for the interchange, the exchange, of knowledge and music and art in general. And I think we are enjoying now a new age of music in Latin America. Of course, we are also playing our music in English, because our objective is to get, as Sister Cities says, ‘Peace Through People.’  The contact from people to people is the seed for change.”

And to emphasize the point about the evolution of Latino music, Enrique Ortiz and Grupo Canela performed one of Ortiz’s compositions, “Degar más allá,” which he describes as “an inspirational song about people who need to achieve a goal. ‘Degar más allá' means something like ‘going farther and beyond,’ or ‘going forward.’  The style is Brazilian samba.”

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Randy Stewart joined the full-time KSMU staff in June 1978 after working part-time as a student announcer/producer for two years. His job has evolved from Music Director in the early days to encompassing production of a wide range of arts-related programming and features for KSMU, including the online and Friday morning "Arts News." Stewart assists volunteer producers John Darkhorse (Route 66 Blues Express), Lee Worman (The Gold Ring), and Emily Higgins (The Mulberry Tree) with the production of their programs. He's also become the de facto "Voice of KSMU" in recent years due to the many hours per day he’s heard doing local station breaks. Stewart’s record of service on behalf of the Springfield arts community earned him the Springfield Regional Arts Council's "Ozzie Award" in 2006.