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Sones de México to bring ensemble to UNC's campus this Friday


Sones de México Ensemble, pictured, will be hosting the Sones de México Ensemble Concert & Workshop at the Stone Center on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022.

Photo Courtesy of Juan Dies and Photo by Henry Fajardo.

From performances in Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, Grammy nominations and its members' collective ability to play over 80 traditional instruments, the Sones de México Ensemble is no amateur musical group. And soon, they will be bringing their talent to Chapel Hill.

Sones de México will be coming to UNC on Sept. 9 to host a workshop and concert in the SonjaHaynes Stone Center. 

The mission of Sones de México, founded in 1994, is to show the Latinx community that they don’t have to sacrifice their culture in the United States, but instead can share it with pride and contribute to the diversity of the country, Sones co-founder and ensemble member Juan Díes said. 

“It goes beyond the musical mission,” Díes said. “It is a cultural mission for us. And our method for delivering this is through promoting folk and traditional music from small rural communities in Mexico.”

Sones’ morning workshop at the University will consist of a program that highlights the diversity of Mexican music. They will project a map of Mexico on a screen and then lead a “musical tour” that showcases Mexican regions with African, Central European and Indigenous influence, among others.

The evening concert will begin at 6:30 p.m.

“The music that we perform, even though it is composed and practiced by people who don't have a formal music education, who may not be able to write this music, or haven’t gone to schools or conservatories to create it, it has a great artistic value,” Díes said.

The Sones de México Ensemble specializes in Son music, which is the combination of regional music styles that are hundreds of years old and continue to be played in rural areas.

There are six musicians in the ensemble, one executive director and a few part-time contractors in charge of publicity.

Kevin Ortiz, President of the Latin American Business Association at the Kenan-Flagler Business School and a full-time MBA student, helped orchestrate the event.

Ortiz is also president of the board for the Hispanic League, a nonprofit organization in Winston-Salem that will host its annual Fiesta on Sept. 10 — with Sones de México set to perform. 

The ensemble sought to make the start of Latinx Heritage Month a bigger event, so they partnered with the Hispanic League, Wake Forest University and UNC to do a three-concert series.

“For us at the Latin American Business Association, we aspire to inspire and elevate the Hispanic and Latin-American student experience on campus,” Ortiz said. “And any chance that we get to bring groups like this, or we get to partner with a Latinx center or with other organizations on campus to do just that — it's a yes for us.”

During Latinx Heritage Month, which begins on Sept. 15 and ends Oct. 15, the Carolina Latinx Center and the Latin American Business Association plan to have a series of events that celebrate Latinx students and educate the UNC community about Latinx culture.

“We’re finalizing our calendar of events that are coming up, but this, we’re considering it the pre-kickoff event,” Josmell Pérez, CLC director, said.

Though Sones de México and the CLC are separate, the organizations have similar goals in promoting Latinx visibility.

“Part of its mission is to educate, celebrate, empower the Latinx community, not only here on campus, but in the broader sense," Pérez said. "And so this event works toward just that by highlighting music as another element of diversity.”

Both Díes and Ortiz echoed the same sentiment regarding the mission of their respective organizations.

“We hope that this concert sends the signal that the Latinx student is here present at UNC,” Ortiz said. “That the Latinx student is present, is bringing amazing value to the university and student experience. And in a way for me, it’s about sharing or sending the message that Latinos are not invisible and that we are here in the United States, we are here on campus, we are here at Chapel Hill. And we are a critical piece of the overall experience of what it means to be a Tar Heel.”

@adelepmorris17 | 

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