As part of its annual agenda for the Caribbean Summer program, on Thursday, June 30th InteRDom will present a HOT Summer Seminar workshop on Caribbean culture, music and identity for students of both the Caribbean Summer and City College Service Learning Programs. The workshop features the participation of Dominican anthropologist and folklorist, Xiomara Fortuna, one of the leading experts in Afro-Caribbean fusion.
In the seminar, students will explore issues surrounding indigenous culture and the influence of European and African cultures and religion on Caribbean music, which in turn helps define modern Caribbean identity. This conversation will help students to generate a more critical view of social and religious phenomena occurring amongst the habitants of the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba. The final part of the workshop will focus on modern dances– like the salsa, son and merengue—and the musical fusions that have occurred in and around them.
The workshop’s roundtable discussion format will be very interactive: music, stories and dance are the tools that the experts will use to develop the content, and Fortuna will demonstrate many of the rhythms through the use of drums and dance.
Xiomara Fortuna is a Dominican author, composer and researcher on Afro-Caribbean traditions, best known in the realm of World Music, for which she has received a number of major international awards. In 1995 Maurice Cullaz, considered the father of French Jazz, appropriated her with an award for presenting one of the most innovative works on gender. This work was included in the movie Smoothie by Jean Henri Meunier, which tells the story of jazz in Paris since the arrival of Louis Armstrong. In 2008 UNESCO awarded Fortuna the Gandhi Medal for her work for peace. More recently the National University of Colombia gave her an award for her work on gender. Additionally, in her native Dominican Republic she has received numerous national awards, including the Cassandra, in addition to being declared a national treasure in el Festival Internacional Arte Vivo (Live Arts Festival).
Fortuna’s continued contribution to Caribbean art and culture is actively manifested through the Campeche Ecological Ranch in San Cristobal in the southwest Dominican Republic, where she teaches visitors about the wildlife and natural resources of the region. You can learn more about Xiomara Fortuna and her programs with InteRDom students at the Campeche Ecological Ranch by watching this video.
Following the workshop and complementary to its content, on Friday, July 1st, all students will have the opportunity to participate in a get-together lead by a local dance professional wherein they will learn to dance merengue, bachata, salsa and other dances with indigenous and African roots.
The internship program, InteRDom, an initiative of Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE), is the premier internship, research and academic study program in the Dominican Republic. It offers international students the opportunity to research important topics at the forefront of the United Nations agenda, obtain professional experience by interning with Dominican organizations and businesses related to their fields of study and/or earn academic credits by taking courses and seminars at a local university.