By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
In one way, it’s unfortunate that the third annual Northumberland Hispanic Heritage Month Festival in October had to go all-virtual.
On the other hand, event director Emilio Ojeda said, “because of that, we had a wider and broader audience beyond the members of the club.”
For example, their on-line workshop on HUICHOL-style yarn method (a traditional paint method used by the Huichol natives of Sierra Madre in Mexico), local participants were joined by those from Venezuela, Chile, Mexico, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Ojeda recently shared some highlights of the festival, which covers the gamut from art to movies and music.
Organized in partnership with Trent University (with a grant from the Spanish Film Club PRAGDA), the festival opened with the film Primas (“Cousins”) from Canadian-Argentine filmmaker Laura Bari. Emilio described it as a heartfelt story of two cousins growing up together and overcoming heinous acts of violence that marked their childhood.
Other internationally acclaimed and award-winning films that rounded out the bill included Guie’dani’s Navel, The Awakening of the Ants and The Infiltrators (which showed the reality of woman empowerment and immigration from a US perspective).
Ojeda also singled out Perfect Strangers (“an electrifying Mexican comedy about a seemingly simple dinner party) and the documentary Miguelito. This one tells the story of an 11-year-old Puerto Rican boy who went from fame – recording an album with the finest salsa musicians of his time, performing with Eddie Palmieri at Madison Square Garden in front of 20,000 fans – to a complete disappearance from public life.
Then there was the Noche Latina virtual party, a live interactive event – “two hours of music, dance and learning with our Carla Gonzalez and her LatinTrain and DJ Alexis Barria,” Ojeda said.
Carla Gonzalez and her LatinTrain were also part of the virtual concert Melodias del Corazon (Melodies from the Heart), which showcased both local talent and beautiful Northumberland sites, with the great voices of Rosa Orteta and Fabian Arciniegas also making up part of the program.
The heritage-and-art exhibition this year was Our Voyage: Family Bonds and Belonging, with artifacts, art and stories shared by members of the local community that show a strong link to their cultures, family and friends that were part of their journey to Canada.
“It was different, it was challenging, but I am really happy with the results,” Ojeda declared.
While all forecasts seem to point to a less-dangerous October 2021 on the COVID-19 front for the fourth annual festival, the opportunity to reach people around the world was such a wonderful surprise that he is foreseeing a mix of virtual and in-person events for the fourth annual festival next year.
The big party that is one focus of the festival, for example, can be an event that is at the same time in-person and on-line.
“While we have an in-person party, we can also offer a virtual party for the rest of the world,” he said.
This year’s festival sponsors were Northumberland County, Cameco, the Town of Cobourg and the Government of Canada with, as previously noted, Trent University working in partnership.
Emilio also noted an important addition to the board of directors this year, as Ixchel Suarez assumed the position of secretary. A renowned textile artist who recently moved to Trent Hills, she has opened the Oak Heights Art Gallery to present the work of great Canadian artists in addition to her own. The Oak Heights gallery is located at 341 Covert Hill Rd. in Warkworth, next to the Villa Conti Italian Restaurant and Vinery.
The Northumberland Hispanic Heritage Month Festival is always accompanied by an awareness-raising presentation to Northumberland County council, who obligingly declare October Hispanic Heritage Month – and did so for 2020.
Credit for the organizing goes to the Northumberland Hispanic Culture Club – which Ojeda pointed out is always open to new members.
It’s a Wrap for the Northumberland Hispanic Heritage Month Festival
This was the Northumberland Hispanic Heritage Month Festival 3rd successful year,” said Emilio Ojeda, the events coordinator.
“Due to Covid-19 all events were help virtually, and because of that, we had a wider and broader audience beyond the members of the club,” he added.
Ojeda went on to say, “Our 3rd Northumberland Hispanic Film Festival, in partnership with Trent University and a grant by the Spanish Film Club from PRAGDA , opened with the film “PRIMAS” (cousins) from the Canadian Argentinian Laura Bari.
“This is a heartfelt story of two cousins that come of age together, overcoming the heinous acts of violence that disrupted their childhood.”
Other world acclaimed and award winning films GUIE’DANI’S NAVEL, THE AWAKENING OF THE ANTS and THE INFILTRATORS showed the reality of woman, woman empowerment and the reality of immigration from the US perspective. “This year we screened PERFECT STRANGERS an electrifying Mexican comedy about a seemingly simple dinner party and MIGUELITO a documentary of a 1973, an 11-year-old Puerto Rican boy that went from famous to missing. Within a year Miguelito went on to record an album with the finest salsa musicians of the time, to finally performing with Eddie Palmieri at Madison Square Garden in front of 20,000 people. A year later, he had disappeared from public life.
“The Noche Latina Virtual Party interacted with participants live. There was two hours of music, dance and dance learning with our Carla Gonzalez and her LatinTrain and DJ Alexis Barria.
“The virtual Concert “Melodías del Corazón” (Melodies from the Heart) showed local talent and how beautiful our Northumberland sites are with the great voices of Rosa Ortega, Fabian Arciniegas, and Carla Gonzalez and her LatinTrain
“The Heritage and Art Exhibition was the final event and it premiered Mon., Nov. 23 on the Youtube Channel at https://youtu.be/F3o3GYKODLk and can still be viewed.
It was called “Our Voyage: Family Bonds & Belongings” and showcased artifacts, art and stories of the local community and that strong link to local cultures, family and friends in their journey to Canada.
Sponsors of this year’s festival included Northumberland County, Cameco, Town of Cobourg and Government of Canada. Partner with us was Trent University.
“This year we had an important addition to the board of Director. Ixchel Suarez joined us in the position of secretary. Ixchel, a renowned textile artist recently moved to Trent Hills and opened the Oak Heights Art Gallery bringing her own art, workshops and presenting great Canadian artists,” said Ojeda.
The Oak Heights Gallery is located at 341 Covert Hill Road, Warkworth, next to Villa Conti Italian Restaurant and Vinery.
What’s next for the club?
They will be holding its virtual Christmas party on Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. Party is with live music with Carla and her LatinTrain and Dj and it is open to everybody, and again, will be transmitted through our Youtube Channel.
Editor’s Note: Emilio Ojeda is also the Settlement Service Coordinator for Northumberland County