The sumptuous Spiegeltent at Bard SummerScape is always a great venue to socialize, eat and drink whilst discovering some slightly offbeat or underappreciated musical talent. On July 9 at 8 p.m., Spiegeltent’s Thursday Night Live series will introduce the trippy free jazz of Argentinian piano phenom Leo Genovese, perhaps best-known in the US for his tours and recordings backing multiculti vocalist Esperanza Spalding. Genovese will be performing with his ensemble, the Legal Aliens.
Considering that this summer the Bard Music Festival is spotlighting a Latin American classical composer for the first time – the Mexican Carlos Chávez – it makes perfect sense that Spiegeltent should be exposing mid-Hudson audiences to a South American keyboard master whose work is not as familiar as it ought to be, outside in-the-know jazz circles. The presentation is happening thanks to the efforts of La Voz (The Voice), a Bard-sponsored monthly magazine written in Spanish by Bard College students and faculty, as well as by individuals and organizations from outside the Bard community, and proceeds from the concert will benefit La Voz.
The magazine was founded in 2004 as a student community-engagement project through Bard’s Trustee Leader Scholar (TLS) Program by Emily Schmall and Mariel Fiori. Fiori is still managing editor of La Voz today. She points out that, of the more than 120,000 Latinos currently living in the counties of Dutchess, Ulster and Orange, about 90,000 prefer to speak Spanish at home, according to the US Census Bureau, and La Voz: Cultura y Noticias Hispanas del Valle de Hudson is the only publication of its kind in the area serving them. The 5,000 copies printed monthly reach an estimated 20,000 readership.
“First-generation Hispanic immigrants who speak Spanish at home, and little or no English outside the home, depend on La Voz not only for its informative aspects but also for its artistic attributes,” Fiori writes. “The focus of La Voz is to empower its Hudson Valley readers through actionable information. It features columns on health and legal affairs, an English learning worksheet, advice on personal finance and a resource guide announcing local events and activities. Inspiring stories are also part of the magazine, with interviews and testimonials from immigrants who are achieving their version of the American dream. Short stories (cuentos), opinion pieces, poetry in translation, math puzzles and word games also contribute to the carefully selected content.”
Earlier this month, the Center for Community and Ethnic Media of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism presented La Voz with its fifth Ippie Award: second place in the Best Small Circulation (under 30,000 copies) Publication category. Named after and originally awarded by the Independent Press Association of New York, the Ippies annually honor excellence in journalism from community and ethnic media outlets in New York and beyond.
La Voz also sponsors a variety of educational and community events targeted to the mid-Hudson’s Hispanic communities. Some examples are the annual La Guelaguetza Oaxacan Festival on the Poughkeepsie waterfront, as well as Resource Fairs, panel discussions and performances of a Spanish-language play on the subject of domestic violence. Add a hot night of cool jazz at the Spiegeltent, Argentine-style, to the growing list. And check out La Voz at www.facebook.com/lavozhudsonvalley.
Tickets for “Leo Genovese and the Legal Aliens: a La Voz Cultural Celebration” cost $25 and can be ordered by calling the Fisher Center box office at (845) 758- 7900 or online at www.tinyurl.com/lavoz2015 or https://fishercenter.bard.edu/calendar/event.php?eid=128812.
The evening’s festivities will also include an auction of artworks by Latin American artists to benefit La Voz; the art can be viewed and bids placed online at www.myminiauction.com/subastalavoz.
Leo Genovese & the Legal Aliens: a La Voz Cultural Celebration, Thursday, July 9, 8 p.m., $25, Bard SummerScape’s Spiegeltent, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson; (845) 758- 7900, https://fishercenter.bard.edu.