Andean music, Argentine tango and el Mariachi Flores to enliven Independence Mall event
On Tuesday the World Meeting of Families announced The Philly POPS Festival Brass will perform “Fanfare for the Common Man,” as Pope Francis arrives on stage at Independence Hall for his highly anticipated address on immigration and religious liberty on Saturday, Sept. 26.
WMOF also announced eight performance groups that will be part of pre-programming at Independence Hall in advance of Pope Francis’ remarks to an expected crowd of 30,000. According to the organization, they were chosen to reflect the immigrant heritage and cultural diversity of Philadelphia.
El Mariachi Flores
A regionally-based mariachi band with roots in Mexico City, the group has entertained audiences throughout this region for more than a quarter century, including audiences in which Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter and Archbishop Charles J. Chaput have been present. A sextet, complete with vihuela and guitarron, Mariachi Flores performs varied musical styles, from bolero to son jaliscense.
Kùlú Mèlé African Dance and Drum Ensemble
Inspired by the voices of its ancestors, Kùlú Mèlé African Dance and Drum Ensemble preserves, presents and builds upon the dance and music of Africa and the African Diaspora. As a roster artist for the Pennsylvania Performing Artists on Tour (PennPAT), Kùlú Mèlé tours regionally and nationally, and has performed at the Folk Life Festival in the Virgin Islands and the XXII Caribbean Festival in Cuba.
Celebrating Andean music, which has its deep roots in South America and is often seen as part of the defining cultural legacy of the Incan empire, Mystic Warriors powerfully brings to life the well-known flutes and panpipes while also integrating more contemporary instruments. In performances, audiences often cite its global appeal but also remark that aspects of this peaceful music are reminiscent of Latin music, jazz and even mainstream music.
Pablo Batista and the Mambo Syndicate
The 2015 recipient of the PEW Center for Arts and Heritage Award, Pablo Batista is a Philadelphia native who has contributed to three Grammy-award winning albums during his 31-year career as a percussionist. Batista — who has worked with jazz legend Grover Washington Jr., Jeffrey Osborne, Diane Reeves, Teddy Pendergrass and Alicia Keys— with his Mambo Syndicate (an 11-piece band) will perform rhythmic upbeat salsa music sure to electrify the crowd.
Philadelphia Argentine Tango School
Founded by Andres Amarilla & Meredith Klein, the Philadelphia Argentine Tango School will celebrate Pope Francis’ favorite dance with an energetic performance prior to his arrival on the Mall. In October 2009, the Philadelphia Argentine Tango School established a permanent studio in the resurgent Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia. Since then, Amarilla and Keith have been enthusiastically collaborating with other local arts and development organizations to help build a robust Frankford Avenue Arts Corridor in which “The Tango” plays a special role.
Polish American Cultural Center
Polish heritage is quite strong in Philadelphia but perhaps nowhere is that heritage more proudly thriving than within the Port Richmond neighborhood and St. Adalbert’s Catholic Church at which two Sunday Masses are still celebrated in the Polish language. A group of 20 students, ages 10 to 16, who attend St. Adalbert's Polish Language School will represent the Polish American Cultural Center by performing traditional Polish dances in advance of the Holy Father’s arrival at Independence Hall.
Tibetan Association of Philadelphia
In advance of the Dalai Lama’s visit to Philadelphia in October 2015, the Tibetan Association of Philadelphia will participate in pre-programming Independence Hall to highlight its commitment to love, compassion and kindness. Performing authentic Tibetan dances, the Association will represent its important and universal mission of promoting the principle of non-violence through its culture, tradition and language.
Vietnamese Fan Dancers of Rowan University
Representing the growing Vietnamese population across the region, Rowan University’s acclaimed Department of Theatre & Dance will perform a traditional Vietnamese Fan Dance, also known as vũ phiến. This beautifully choreographed dance, featuring vibrantly colorful fans, has been long been a hallmark of Vietnamese celebrations, including religious ones.