“Tucson World Refugee Fest is held annually to commemorate World Refugee Day, a tribute to the remarkable determination and resilience of tens of millions of refugees uprooted by war and violence.” Go on down to El Presidio Park on Saturday, June 19, from 5 to 9 p.m. and celebrate with these newcomers to Tucson, from all over the world including Cuba, Burma, East and West Africa, Iraq. There will be performers, an international market, games for the children.
Here’s the schedule directly off of their website www.tucsonrefugeefest.com:
“Duo Libre – returns to Refugee Fest, combining the musical talent of guitarist Alejandro Ochoa de Miguel and singer-songwriter Yasel Mendoza Patterson. Formed shortly after arriving in Tucson three years ago, Duo Libre performs their original Cuban music in festivals and stages around Arizona. In 2006 Alejandro and Yasel won the Cuban Disco award for best album.
Karen Music – Roe Paw (voice) and Tu Tu (guitar) return to the stage at RefugeeFest once again to perform traditional Karen music. Roe Paw and Tu Tu are Burmese refugees who came to the United States almost three years ago from camps in Thailand.
African Choir – The Goshen Ministries Choir – Under the direction of Pastor Bigimba Ngabo, the choir will perform Christian songs in Swahili, Kirundi, French and English.
African Drumming – Experience the rhythms of East and West Africa with Martin Klabunde of The Dambe Project
Cameroon Rapper – African artist Rootman Kujah expresses his world view through hip-hop and reggae
The Finding Voices of Refugee Youth – Students from the nationally recognized voices program at Catalina High will perform a selection along with their digitial stories available all evening.
Mohammed Al Saeed – is a Palestinian refugee from Iraq who comes to the stage to perform modern Middle Eastern music on electric keyboard and drums. Music has been a life-long hobby of Mohammed; prior to coming to the United States he performed with his band in festivals and events around Iraq.
Shukuru Kalunga joins Refugee Fest to share his original African songs for guitar and voice. Shukuru came to the United States from the Democratic Republic of the Congo three years ago. In addition to his music, Shukuru also performs poetry and wrote, directed and acted in The Unexpected, a play about refugee life.
Refugee Youth Poetry – Tucson refugees from The Owl & Panther Project share poetry
Congolese Dancers from Rincon High School
Bhutanese Dancers – Refugee women from Bhutan will dance to traditional Nepali/Hindi music.
Martin Klabunde has traveled and studied extensively for the past 18 years with traditional drum masters in East and West Africa. He is a Certified Professor for Mamady Keitas Tam Tam Mandengue International School of the Djembe and is an advanced student of a master healer from Mexico, who has taught Martin the ancient rites of Portal Drumming and Healing Ceremonies. He is the director of The Dambe Project and Kalumba (www.kalumba.org), in which he conducts community workshops and school residencies in Tucson, Arizona. This is his third year performing at Refugee Fest.
Nabil Bazel came to Tucson one year ago from Basra, Iraq. He joins us on the Refugee Fest stage to perform traditional Arabic and English songs, while accompanying himself on the table. He has been performing all of his life.
Adel Kadir, whose stage name is Adil Kalali, was born in Kerkuk, Iraq, where he graduated from a fine arts institute. Beyond poetry, his hobbies include acting and composing. Adel writes poems in five different languages– Arabic, Turkish, Kurdish, Turkmen, and English. Tucson has been his adopted home for one year. This is his second year performing at Refugee Fest.
Purna Adhikari began writing poetry at the age of 11. He became a well-known poet in Nepal and was invited to share his poetry around the country. He was published in magazines and books, and his lyrics were often used by Nepali singers. Come listen to some of his poems.”
I wrote about this event last year after seeing many African refugees at the Pima County Board of Supervisors’ meeting (one of my first blogs for this online Tucsoncitizen.com) — click here.
“Since 1982 Tucson has become home to almost 10,000 refugees. A refugee is any person who is unable to return to his or her own country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Each year thousands of families arrive in the United States from countries all over the world to rebuild their lives and become members of a new community. For many, Tucson has become that community.” (from their website)
Celebrate the new American tapestry. Once again, welcome refugees!