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Miguel Ballumbrosio, Community Artist in Residence, Autumn 2022

Submitted by Joanne De Pue on February 14, 2023 - 8:48am
Performance at the Amistad School with De Cajón Project, led by UW professor Monica Rojas (at right).
Performance at the Amistad School with De Cajón Project, led by Monica Rojas (at right).
Miguel Ballumbrosio, Fall 2022 Ethnomusicology Visiting Artist
Atajo de Negritos dancing and singing at the home of UW professors Shannon Dudley and Marisol Berríos-Miranda (Photo: Shannon Dudley).
Saturday workshop at the Union Cultural Center (Photo: Shannon Dudley).
Saturday workshop at the Union Cultural Center (Photo: Shannon Dudley).

By Shannon Dudley
Chair, UW Ethnomusicology

Percussionist and dancer Miguel Ballumbrosio completed a successful quarter as the Ethnomusicology program’s Community Artist in Residence for Autumn 2022. Miguel came to UW from Chincha, Peru, where he directs the Centro Cultural Amador Ballumbrosio, named for his father, a nationally recognized figure in the preservation and transmission of Afro-Peruvian culture. Students in the School of Music met with Miguel twice a week for a percussion ensemble class, and also had once-a-week individual or small group lessons on the cajón and other percussion instruments. Ballumbrosio’s residency also included a partnership with the UW Dance program, where he taught Afro-Peruvian dance. Dance and music students performed together in Brechemin Auditorium on December 6 as part of Miguel’s Visiting Artist concert, accompanied also by members of the De Cajón Project.

Community Partners
Community partners for Miguel’s residency included the Union Cultural Center and the Amistad School, where he offered free weekend workshops, teaching both cajón and zapateado (foot percussion). He also performed with the Seattle-based Afro-Peruvian ensemble, De Cajón Project, for several community events, including a Latin Heritage event at North Seattle College, a performance at Horizon House retirement home, and a workshop and performance for a Peruvian festival in Salt Lake City, Utah, and a December 18 concert at the Amistad School. Miguel’s community activities were coordinated by Monica Rojas, director of De Cajón Project and Assistant Director of UW’s Latin American and Caribbean Studies and African Studies programs. The culmination of Ballumbrosio’s community engagement were December 10, 11, and 18 performances of the Atajo de Negritos, a Christmas tradition from his home town of Chincha. With singing and zapateado, Miguel and his weekend workshop students went from one site to the next, bringing musical joy and blessings to hundreds of people in churches, community centers and private homes.

 What Students Had to Say About the Residency

What was amazing about these community events was how many different people came together to learn from Miguel, and especially with the Atajo de Negritos event, the convivencia that was experienced by everyone in the room. [Ethnomusicology graduate student Ashley Cook]

One thing I appreciated about Miguel’s teaching was how he explained the traditions and cultural significance of what we were learning. It was easy to tell that he really cared about the knowledge he was giving us, and it felt personal to him, which made it a lot more interesting than if I had read it explained in a textbook or by someone who wasn’t directly a part of the culture we were learning about. [Ethnomusicology BA student Nick Fowler]

I noticed how intergenerational the workshop was. There were participants of all ages. Some of the children danced, and others sat aside and watched. [Music Education graduate student Karisa Longo]

It was really joyous to see people of different abilities be able to learn it all, put the rhythms together and pull off a smashing performance …. It was a fabulous community all around, led by the great maestro but made just as great by the spirit and effort of everyone involved. [Composition student Nick Mendonça]

 Miguel Ballumbrosio and UW students of Music and Dance (Photo: Shannon Dudley).

 Above: Concert in Brechemin Auditorium by Miguel Ballumbrosio and UW students from Music and Dance (Photo: Shannon Dudley).