Please stay connected to us through social media (Facebook/Instagram) to see our latest information, including online classes and concerts supporting independent music projects lead by artists of color. Thank you for your support during this critical time. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help us get through the COVID-19 crisis, retaining and supporting our artists and our youth, and preserving our programs.
All SRBCC programs receive partial funding from Arts for Illinois, Illinois Arts Council, Arts Midwest, Driehaus – MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture, Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Chicago Community Trust, National Endowment for the Arts, Landmarks Illinois, and Field Foundation of Illinois.
The public health emergency created by the COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected the arts. Musicians who depend on playing to earn a living have no venues to perform in or audiences to play for as Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced this week the cancelation and re-imagination of most outdoor city festivals. In keeping with their commitment to preserve and promote the culture and arts of Puerto Rico, with a special emphasis on its African heritage, the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center (SRBCC) announced the launch of Abrazo Virtual, a new series of live shows produced and streamed from their home in Hermosa, Chicago (4048 W. Armitage) beginning Sunday June 14th at 7 pm. The concerts stream through the Center’s Facebook (Facebook.com/SRBCC) and YouTube accounts (@SRBCC). VIEW ALL EPISODES HERE.
Featuring Tito Matos y la Máquina Insular and Kily Vializ — two of the most representative artists of the island’s bomba and plena scene — this special edition of the Center’s Abrazo Virtual series will be recorded live at the Taller Comunidad La Goyco in Santurce
Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center (SRBCC) brings the music to your holiday celebration with a special edition of their Abrazo Virtual series of online concerts. Streaming from the community cultural center Taller Comunidad La Goyco located on Loíza Street in the heart of Santurce, Puerto Rico on Wednesday, December 23 at 7 p.m. CST through SRBCC’s Facebook (Facebook.com/SRBCC), Instagram platform (@segundoruizbelvis) and YouTube Channel (@SRBCC), the concert will feature two of the most representative groups of the island’s bomba y plena scene: Tito Matos y la Máquina Insular and Kily Vializ who will be performing songs from his first album Boricua y de Mayagüez, including the single “Bendita Maraca” in the soulful voice of artesana and maraquera Bárbara Pérez, making the rounds online with a brand new video and the popular #benditamaracachallenge.
“As with so many of our events affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to replace our annual Puerto Rican parranda that included a food tasting in several of our community restaurants and live music and entertainment featuring our youth and professional artist programs, with this virtual holiday special,” said Omar Torres-Kortright, Executive Director of SRBCC. “This “virtual parranda” will bring the joy and spirit of the traditional Puerto Rican Holiday Season to households everywhere. And given the year we’ve all had, these Navidades have acquired greater meaning with its promise of better days ahead.
Located inside the old Pedro G. Goyco School, the Taller Comunidad La Goyco is a community cultural center dedicated to the creation of programs, initiatives and opportunities for area residents while celebrating the street’s and the city’s rich history and culture. The center holds such programs as “Jazz Sundays,” “Movie Sundays,” health fairs and music workshops. The organization has also hosted COVID-19 testing and the distribution of masks during the pandemic as well as conversations with all the candidates for Mayor of San Juan, virtual music workshops and concerts (featuring the likes of award-winning saxophonist Miguel Zenón and drummer Henry Cole), and literary chats. The center recently served as the backdrop for Dominican rocker Rita Indiana’s epic music video “Mandinga Times.”
“We are proud to partner with the Taller Comunidad La Goyco for this special event. We share a similar cultural and civic mission and a common interest in empowering our communities through the arts while addressing some of their most urgent needs,” said Torres-Kortright. “Two years ago we invited Tito Matos, one of the Taller’s founders, and his Máquina Insular to perform at SRBCC and at UIC’s 24th Annual Pa’lante Conference in Chicago as part of our efforts to support Puerto Rico’s arts community in the aftermath of Hurricane María. As a musician, as a torchbearer for plena music and as a community activist, Tito is a role model for us.
“Kily will be joined by la creme de la creme of Mayagüez’s bomba tradition, including some of the genre’s top female performers, among them Ángela Vázquez, Bárbara Pérez and Mariela Mendoza. He will also be joined by Leró Martínez, who by now has become a fixture of Chicago’s bomba and plena scene with his performances at the Puerto Rican People’s Parade and Chicago Summerdance, among other local venues and events,” he added.
A plena maestro who has performed alongside Eddie Palmieri, Ricky Martin and Gloria Estefan, Héctor “Tito” Matos is one of the leaders of a movement that, in the last decade, has revitalized this genre in the island through his celebrated group Viento de Agua and now through La Máquina Insular. Featuring the traditional instrumentation of tambourines, güiro, tumbadora and the back-up of a clarinet, La Máquina Insular plays a repertoire of classic and new plenas with the strength and rhythm typical of the best of the genre.
Kily Vializ is a bomba and plena musician and cultural activist from the Western municipality of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, where the Puerto Rican bomba. Vializ writes and performs his own material. Early this year, he released his first record, Boricua y de Mayagüez, thanks to a series of grants from the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, Cultura Plenera and the Flamboyán Foundation.
While this special event is free, for those who wish to continue supporting this type of programming, SRBCC has launched a Patreon account to raise funds for its diverse virtual arts and community initiatives as the city and the country battle COVID-19. SRBCC’s donation-based carefully-curated series of virtual performances, classes, podcasts, and workshops are designed to keep local artists and youth working in visible and meaningful ways while providing artists with resources to bring their projects to fruition. To donate, visit https://www.patreon.com/srbcc.
THE SEGUNDO RUIZ BELVIS CULTURAL CENTER PRESENTS THE FIRST IN A SERIES OF YOUTH LEAD VIDEO PODCASTS FROM ITS HOME BASE
WHAT/WHO: The Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center (SRBCC) premiered the first in a series of youth-lead video podcasts featuring live music, interviews, and public health messages related to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Invited guests include SRBCC Afro-Caribbean Jazz instructor Adrian Ruiz leading a quartet, a Cuban rumba jam lead by Afro-Puerto Rican teacher and percussionist Isabelino Landor, and current and former youth performers from SRBCC’s After School Programs in collaboration with After School Matters. This program receives critical support from the Fund for Safe and Peaceful Communities, Field Foundation of Illinois, DCASE and the Illinois Arts Council.