Poetry in Music: Hope and Healing in the Latinx Community | Humboldt NOW

In a unique fusion of music and poetry, Cal Poly Humboldt hosts “Sana, Sana: Hope and Healing for Latinx Communities in Times of Precarity.” The free performance on Sunday, April 24 is inspired by a poetry contest on the theme of hope and healing in Latin communities.

The contest and concert are a collaboration between the Cal Poly Humboldt College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, School of Dance, Music, and Theater as well as the English Department and Cal Poly Humboldt’s multilingual literary journal. Toyon.

“‘Sana sana’ is taken from a well-known Latin folk rhyme that is retold in many Spanish-speaking countries,” explains Toyon faculty advisor Marcos Hernandez. “It means ‘cure, heal.’ Many of us have felt a deep sense of uncertainty about our future, the future of our children, that comes with being brown in the U.S. Sana, Sana shares how our communities have found ways to hope, to heal, to grow and even to thrive under the weight of this collectively felt uncertainty.The theme has become particularly resonant during the Covid-19 pandemic, which continues to have a disproportionate impact on black and brown communities .”

Cal Poly Humboldt student Alannah Guevara, a junior studying English, wrote the poem “Fresh Fruit,” which explores complex themes of immigration and loss.

The project was made possible by a $5,000 rapid grant from California Humanities, to commission award-winning Venezuelan-American composer Carlos Cordero to write a choral setting for the poem.

Cordero traveled to Humboldt in March to collaborate with Guevara, the Cal Poly Humboldt University Singers and their bandleader Rachel Samet, a music teacher, on a composition that would elevate Guevara’s lyrics. Cordero also gave a lecture on adapting poetic form to music.

“It’s been such a dream,” Guevara says. “Working with Carlos has been an incredible experience. He really likes to talk about what ‘Fresh Fruit’ means to him. It’s so moving that my words can do this for someone, and it takes my work to new heights that I could never have imagined.

Other award-winning poems, including “Orgullo” by Azarel Garcia and “From the dirt of our skin” by Jo Gibson, have been set to music by faculty composers and will be performed by Cal Poly faculty and students Humboldt.

“It was a pleasant process, especially due to the collaborative nature of this project,” says Samet, who coordinates and performs the concert. “The students are really invested in this project. He felt very alive, like a living, breathing thing.

“Sana, Sana: hope and healing for Latin communities in times of precariousness”
Sunday, April 24, 2022
Pre-concert conference at 2:00 p.m. and concert at 3:00 p.m.

Fulkerson Recital Hall, Cal Poly Humboldt (FREE)
Free live stream link:

For more information, vs
Contact Cal Poly Humboldt’s School of Dance, Music & Theater at (707) 826-3566 or [email protected]

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