Mexican Culture Week Brings Music To The Barnes


Phuong Nguyen, for GPA -- Two beautiful women with bright smiles on their faces twirled their multicolored skirts round and round. A man in a three-piece suit was clicking his boots on the floor, dancing circles around the señoritas. These were the vital colors and the jubilant rhythm of the ballet folklórico, a perfect presentation of Mexican culture at The Barnes Foundation (2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy) on May 3.

The day was the ideal welcome for Mexican Culture Week, presented by the city's Mexican Cultural Center (111 S Independence Mall E.). The sun was shining brightly and the breeze made the air cool and fresh. The weather prepared everyone for a beautiful summer and to be immersed in the effervescence of the Latin American culture. Around 200 visitors were comfortably sitting in the hall of the Barnes. Many were Mexican Americans, wanting to reconnect with home, and others simply wanted a glimpse into a culture well-known for its cheerful dances and unique vihuela and jarana musical instruments.

Once the music started, the whole room embraced the celebration of Mexican culture. The mixture of enlivening music and the clicking of dance steps on the floor created a noticeable energy through the audience. There were joyful, unique cheers coming from the crowd while the artists were performing. Huapango melodies and a fusion of folkloric, jazz and blues music performed by eight multi-talented musicians from the State of Hidalgo set the background for the beautiful dances.

In traditional clothes with colors and decorations featuring Mexican culture, the two young and talented singers brought the audience to moments of classical love and romance. There were times when the whole room was completely silent, giving space for the beautiful melodies to thrive. The emotional and soulful voice of the female singer blended with the deep and warm voice of the male in sweet-sounding melodies, making the foreign language familiar to everyone in attendance.

As the event progressed, the colors, rhythms and movements of Mexico gave way to the rare contralto voice of Ana Caridad Acosta, a renowned Mexican singer, and the celebrated pianist Carlos Alberto Pecero. Acosta brought to the auditorium the soulful, deep and rich vocals of a soloist with the opera at the National Institute of Fine Arts in Mexico. It was not only a privilege to listen to her singing a variety of popular Mexican pieces, but a gift to see her emotions bloom as she performed.

Pereco asserted himself as a permanent soloist for the Classical Orchestra of Mexico, and he brought to life the strong emotions of every song he played with his magical touch and the passion shown in every muscle of his face and body as he played. The performances were a musical feast, allowing the audience to devote all of its senses to Mexican music.

Image courtesy of Phuong Nguyen.