Arts In Context Shorts: Flow

This week, Arts In Context Shorts presents the art of thinking fast. Founded as a platform for hip-hop artists, the Austin Mic Exchange works tirelessly to create a community of aspiring and independent emcees. Their weekly open mic nights are a haven for artists seeking stage time,  a forum for the city’s best emcees to connect with their peers, and an invaluable opportunity to hone their craft. Freestylers electrify the crowd as they perform their highwire act – improvising frenetically and letting the flow take over them. Part showcase, part community event, and all love, these open mics cultivate the small but fiercely active hip-hop community in Austin.

Arts In Context Shorts: Roots & Rhythms

Arts In Context Shorts introduces us to a group working to change lives. Teaching students to embrace their own cultures, Roots & Rhythms is an after-school drumming program founded in 2008 by Sevylla del Mazo. With drums created from recycled buckets, the bilingual students of Roots & Rhythms collaborate, create, and have some fun while learning the basics of percussion.  Thanks to a grant from the City of Austin’s Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services Office/Cultural Arts Division, this program continues to foster ties in surrounding communities and inspires hope for local children.

Arts In Context Shorts: Light Night

This week Arts In Context Shorts explores the beauty of Waller Creek. On November 13, 2014, a small stretch of Waller Creek in downtown Austin, Texas was lit up with modern light installations created by five local architects and landscape designers.  These light pieces were designed to showcase the space’s potential, since soon a series of parks and connected trails will be developed in the location. Organized by the Waller Creek Conservancy and featuring live local music, the event drew strolling crowds to the walkways and various creekside businesses.

Arts In Context Shorts Lost: Flamenco Sephardit

AIC Lost: Flamenco SepharditCombining the rich traditions of Ladino music with the rhythms of Flamenco, Flamenco Sephardit brings together Judaeo-Spanish culture and Spanish folk music in a musical experience that captivates and entrances audiences. Produced by Maestro Jeffrey Eckstein, musicians from varying disciplines collaborate to fuse Ladino pieces with Flamenco music in a bold display of skill, grace, and passion. The language of Ladino has changed considerably since its exodus from Spain during the Spanish Inquisition, changing and evolving over centuries as Sephardic Jews who fled the country spoke it in secret. With opera singers, guitarists, and string instruments, Maestro Eckstein marries the music of Ladino with Flamenco in a showcase of rich Spanish cultures and harmonies. Drawing audiences with its intensity, Flamenco Sephardit puts a dramatic twist on an art form so historical that some consider it to be lost.

Arts In Context Shorts I Am Who I Am

This month, Arts In Context Shorts profiles a musician who is creating her own style. Gina Chavez is exactly who she is supposed to be.  This award-winning Austin musician uses her multi-ethnic roots to create her own sound. Influenced by the music she heard and the people she met while traveling through Central and South America, Chavez delves into cumbia, bossa nova, vintage pop, reggaeton and folk. Singing in both English and Spanish, her contagious love of life shines through in her unique fusion of musical styles.