*LEAF International LEAF is teaming up with Music Video Asheville to help spread the word about powerful work being done through LEAF International Costa Rica. At Music Video Asheville's Rolling out the Red Carpet event on April 16, the LEAF team will announce our videographer pick for a unique project happening in Costa Rica!!
Music Video Asheville, now coming into its 7th year, is an annual event that showcases the collaborations between filmmakers and local musicians. Area bands submit their music videos and the best 90 minutes of videos are selected for a viewing and awards ceremony at Diana Wortham Theater in Downtown Asheville on April 16, 2014. The red carpet event is a celebration of the creative, unique and diverse music community we have here in the heart of Western North Carolina. Tickets are on sale now at www.musicvideoasheville.com.
Get your tickets today to be sure to join the LEAF Team for a fun evening!
Founded in August 2013 • Located in Talamanca and La Casona
Over 30 Youth served ages 8 to 22
Project Talamanca- the Bribri First Nation
Community Center in Kachabri • 2 groups of 3 youth
“Human diversity brings new answers to old problems, and there is no doubt that ancient traditions carry wisdom and answers to our lives today.”- Luis Porras, founder of Proyecto Jirondai, LI Costa Rica Partner
"These communities embody a simplicity and kindness that is so rich and often lost in modernity." -Jennifer Pickering, LEAF Executive Director
LEAF International has partnered with Proyecto Jirondai to support the preservation of ancient Bribri traditions, language, music and art in the mountainous region of Talamanca in southern Costa Rica. The Bribri are a very motivated, organized, and resourceful people.
The culture and language of the First Nations in Costa Rica has been marginalized: 2+ generations haven't been learning their native traditions and ways of being. Currently, 90% of all linguistics diversity in the Americas have disappeared or are in the process of disappearing. UNESCO predicts that all native languages will disappear in this century.
LEAF International Costa Rica will support and empower the Bribri First Nation to preserve their culture. The Bribri connect to their gods, their elders, and each other through singing. By singing, they express a variety of stories and actions.
Youth in the Bribri First Nation will learn ancient Bribri traditions of drum making and singing. The community also has a very progressive radio station and recording studio that has been in existence for many years. With use of the radio, the Bribri share their music and recordings of ancient songs with the rest of the country. This ability is empowering to them.
Through the project students gain:
• Musical skills in learning song from their elders
• Mentoring from teachers in the communtiy
• Drum-making skills
• Performance opportunites in the community
• Increased self esteem and pride in knowing their traditions
• Awareness of cultural traditions
Meet the Teaching Artist
Jairo (pronounced hi-doh) is president of the Bribri village. He learned to make drums from his grandfather, and is married to Dgna, the daughter of a shaman. The shaman is a very important member in Bribri society representing both law and medicine. Jairo and his wife have one son, Manual, who is 13 yrs. He is the only instrument maker in the area, and will make traditional drums for the program. It is believed by the Bribri that the spirit of the Woodpecker was the original maker of the drum. Jairo depicts this sacred maker of the drum, the woodpecker, on his drums.
"A drumming program, combined with traditional songs (song being the way culture, learning and living is communicated among the Bribri people) will complement the music program that is currently new songs sung in contemporary styles in the Bribri language.” -Coryn Harris, LEAF Development Director
“I am Bribri. We should tell our history. We should have pride. We are Bribri. I should not be embarrassed by my own language." -Teen student of the Bribri
Project La Casona- the Ngäbe First Nation
Ngäbe Cultural Center • 30 youth ages 8-22
“I love the way the little children talk. Their main language is Ngäbe, and they learn Spanish. They talk musically." -Luis Porras
In La Casona,The people of the Ngäbe First Nation live on a comarca, roughly translated to “reservation,” where indigenous groups have exclusive land rights and some autonomy.The Ngäbe people have lost much of their culture due to colonization and globalization.
They have lost so much of their culture; no one knows how to make their traditional instruments any more and many indigenous languages have disappeared. Here, LEAF International Costa Rica is supporting the Centro de Cultura Ngäbe, founded by community member and musician, Alexis Rodriguez.
The partnership with Alexis will provide much needed support to a man who was already working to preserve and link kids to local culture. Alexis is translating three languages: the ancient language of Bukle, the more traditional language of Ngäbe (or Ngäbere), and Spanish. Alexis is also teaching ancient stories, and painting exceptional illustrations to go with the stories for the kids.
Through the project students gain:
• Traditional music classes
• Lessons in ancient stories and culture of elders in the community
• Indigenous language skills
• Performance opportunites in the community as well as the chance to tour
• Awareness and preservation of cultural traditions
• Regaining control over life that has been lost for decades
Meet the Teaching Artist
Alexis Rodriguez learned music and Ngäbe traditions from his mother who lived near the frontier. While he speaks Spanish, he thinks in Ngäbe. He is a band member of Proyecto Jirondai, with Luis.The band uses world music fusion to combine ancient traditions and the voices of the elders with contemporary music. The band also uses visuals to explain the songs for those who don't speak their languages.
It is obvious that Alexis is a respected leader in the community. His compound is extensive and self sufficient.
"Alexis is a perfect example of a teaching artist even though this term is unfamiliar to him. He has dedicated his life teaching Ngäbe youth music-culture-language" -Luis Porras
LI Costa Rica Visual Video Story
We encourage you to embark on this journey yourself! For easy viewing and grasp of this beautiful story, please watch: