La Pena Community Chorus & Vukani Mawethu
The La Peña Community Chorus has been singing songs of peace, justice, and hope since it began in 1978. Started by the Chilean exile community who founded La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley in 1975, the original mission of the Chorus was one of solidarity with the resistance against the dictatorship in Chile. But over the years our focus has expanded to other countries, including the struggles of people in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Mexico, Cuba, and to various labor, community, and women's struggles closer to home. Our music includes not only the Nueva Canción (or "New Song Movement") of Chile, but styles based in the folk and social justice movements of all of Latin America. We sing in nursing homes, elders' residences, hospitals, migrant labor camps, juvenile halls, rehabilitation centers, and schools, in addition to our public concerts and performances. In 1995, we were the first North American chorus to take part in the International Choral Festival in Santiago, Cuba. We followed up that tour by visiting Chile in 1999, Mexico in 2002, and Peru in 2006.
Vukani Mawethu is a nonprofit multiracial choir which sings the freedom songs of Southern Africa, primarily of South Africa in Zulu, Xhosa, Sethu, and English, and also gospel, spirituals, labor and civil rights songs linking peoples in the U.S., South Africa, and around the world. Formed in 1986 by the late great James Madhlope Phillips, an ANC union and cultural organizer, for a major concert at UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall, we are united by our strong opposition to racism and apartheid and by our love of the rhythms and melodies which have grown out of century-long struggles for freedom. Vukani Mawethu has continued to sing out against racism and injustice whenever and wherever possible-from small AIDS rallies, homeless shelters or prisons, to performing directly behind Nelson Mandela before 78,000 at the Oakland Coliseum in June 1990, and throughout the cities and townships of South Africa on a dynamic cultural tour in July-August 1997. Vukani Mawethu is proud to have contributed to the international effort to bring about democratic elections for all the people of South Africa, and to have often been called "the spirit of the movement" and "cultural ambassadors of good will.
La Pena Cultural Center
3105 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94705
|Kid Friendly: Yes!|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|