Leonel Rosario, owner/chef at Mariachi de Oro, will create a large ofrenda at the tent festival site, in the style of his hometown in Oaxaca, Mexico. There will be a community altar available for attendees to decorate and add photos and memories of deceased loved ones.
Before he opened Mariachi de Oro Mexican Grille, Leonel worked in agriculture with his wife, Dolores Alvarado. As a youth he learned traditional/folkloric dances growing up in Oaxaca, Mexico. Here in western NY, Leonel and his extended family present folkloric dance as “Alma Latina,” which performs for community events, schools, civic organizations and celebrations in western New York. Leonel loves to share his culture with the community and has created Día de los Muertos ofrendas (altars) for museums, conferences and community celebrations.
Artist Antonio Cruz Zavaleta will create a sand painting under the tent, another decorative art found in Oaxaca for the holiday. Created out of basic sand and colored pigments, the three-dimensional paintings can often be found in the streets of Oaxaca city alongside public ofrendas. They vary from simple scenes to elaborately shaded and constructed mosaics.
Antonio is a native of Oaxaca, Mexico, studying art at Rufino Tamayo art school in Oaxaca. He is professional artist in multiple media, including visual, painting, drawing, sculpture, and Mexican traditional arts. He further honed his craft in furniture making with Scott Jordan Furniture in New York City. Since 1991, Antonio has lectured, taught and exhibited his works in the several states, including extensive installations on the traditional holiday, Day of the Dead. He created large street puppets, “Juana” and “Felipe,” with the assistance of students attending GO ART!’s Creative Arts Camp in April, 2017. Look for them at the Medina celebration!
Conjunto Clásico is based out of Rochester, NY and consists of both veteran and younger talents in Latino music in our region. Led by percussionist Tony Padilla on congas, the group focuses on traditional rhythms form Africa, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. “Conjunto” literally means “together” and is used to describe a small, intimate musical ensemble, often drawing from traditional folkloric styles and instruments.
Conjunto Clásico features a smaller, relative of the guitar called cuatro, found in Puerto Rico and other islands in the Caribbean, and in related forms in eastern coastal areas of Mexico. Early cuatros had four strings and may have evolved from the Spanish vihuela. Modern cuatros have five pairs of steel strings, tuned in octaves or unisons. While cuatro and its relatives are often featured as a solo instrument in traditional music, it is also used in salon genres, salsa, pop, rock, classical, and jazz—musical styles in which all members of Conjunto Clásico excel.
The group also features a lead singer or sonero. A sonero is not only a skilled singer within Latin music styles, but also possesses the singular ability to improvise on the spot in a very detailed and creative way. Soneros may be given a theme, or sing to the particular occasion of the gathering, often with certain requirements of meter and rhyme, to which the audience pays close attention! Conjunto Clásico is completed with expert musicians on trumpet, bass, and timbales. The group’s versatility has gained recognition at festivals and local restaurants throughout the northeast—the band will have you dancing!