By Wilfredo J. Burgos Matos
The Multicultural Music Group (MMG), through their Multicultural Music Encounters, opened their series for the year with a celebration of the Dominican community in New York City. On March 22nd, the event Voicing Quisqueya on the Hudson was celebrated at the Aaron Davis Hall.
The event counted with Dr. Edward Pualino, from John Jay College-CUNY and speciliasit of Dominican studies, as the main speaker. Paulino highlighted amongst many ideas on Dominican history, the disastrous situation in which the relations between Haiti and the Dominican Republic have been affected. One of the main historical events of this relations is what is known as the Parsley Massacre in 1937 in which thousands of Dominicans were killed.
At first, the students of Mott Hall Middle School performed two pieces: “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and El Motín”, aguinaldo by Martín Torres, a musical piece influenced by the Battle of Palo Hincado in the DR in which brigades from Puerto Rico supported the Hispanic resistance in the Hispaniola.
The event had its peak, when the Multicultural Music Orchestra performed The Parsley Massacre, piece divided in three movements composed by Mr. Juan Colón, who has contributed in many occasions with the MMG. As its recurrent in the Multicultural Music Encounters, while the orchestra was playing a set of historical photographs illustrated the music that was being listened to. This chronological pathway took us through three different moments: the foundational history of the country, the affected relations with Haiti, and how is the situation evolving in current times.
At that point, in the third and final movement, there was an intriguing yet hopeful shift in the musical vibrancy of the orchestra. With traces of rhythms such as merengue and palo, the piece composed by Mr. Colón showed us the many colors and contribution that each country, Dominican Republic and Haiti, have made to each other. Being this the case, there’s no doubt that the MMG keeps being committed to the history and preservation of the communities that need to be voiced in the city, task that has never stopped since the organization was founded more than 20 years ago.