F. I. T. A
Festival Internacional de Tradiciones AfroAmericanas
LP endorers Paoli Mejías and Javier Oquendo represented Puerto Rico and Latin Percussion at the second edition of FITA (Festival Internacional de Tradiciones Afroamericanas) held in Maracay, Venezuela June 23-26, 2005.
The first edition welcomed musicians, artists &
dancers from Brazil, Cuba, the US, Nigeria and Venezuela; this year Trinidad &
Tobago, Haiti and Puerto Rico were also invited to participate in this great
celebration of Afro-Caribbean heritage. The festival included percussion master
classes and workshops, dance demonstrations, concerts, and an arts & crafts fair
among other cultural activities.
Paoli Mejías and Javier Oquendo demonstrated their connection both as friends and intuitive mature musicians in their master class on Friday, and Paoli’s Latin Jazz Quintet brought everyone to their feet with applause during his concert on Saturday. Both Javier & Paoli were among the percussion all-stars who performed in the closing “descarga” in honor of Tata Güines.
This year the festival organizers and
founders, Santos López & Chefi Borzacchini, felt particularly blessed to have
offered such an extensive program, and all free to the general public. As
stated by a publicist for FITA:
“Without a doubt, the Venezuelan public – the majority being youth – embraced this opportunity to enjoy the rhythms of the leaders in international music, as is the case of Paoli Mejías from Puerto Rico (a true treasure of the Festival); the presence of Cuban masters Tata Güines, Changuito, Horacio "El Negro" Hernández y Papo Angarica; the knowledge of Nigerian Chief Abiodun Agboola, Falokun Fatunmbi of the US, Shangobunmi from Trinidad, and from Haiti Jean Jacques Dardompre; and representing Venezuela Orlando Poleo, Alfredo Naranjo, Negus Nagast and other distinguished percussionists who participated in the four unforgettable days of the festival of rhythms.”