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Cascada de Flores Performs in Marin City Library

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Top from left: Saúl Sierra-Alonso, Arwen Lawrence, Jamine Brook try out dancing with Jorge Liceaga. Bottom from left: Library staff members Amana Kondrashova and Jay Avalos dance, at the left side of photo, to the music of Cascada de Flores. Photo by Godfrey Lee.

By Godfrey Lee

The Marin City Library celebrated National Hispanic Heritage Month with the music of the Latin music group “Cascada de Flores,” which in Spanish means ‘cascade of flowers.’ Cascada de Flores performed on Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Marin City Library at 164 Donahue St.

They will perform again on Sunday, Oct. 15, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Corte Madera Library, 707 Meadowsweet Dr. in Corte Madera.

The Cascada de Flores concerts bring nostalgic songs and traditions of Mexico to the audience and allow them to express themselves. The ensemble also offers special programs such as Radio Flor, a creative concert set in an old-time radio format, as well as storytelling with song and dance for children of all ages, according to cascadadeflores.com

The group members are Saúl Sierra-Alonso on bass, Arwen Lawrence on vocals, guitar, percussion, and dance, and Jorge Liceaga, vocalist and guitarist.

Lawrence toured with the Grammy-winning mariachi group Los Camperos de Nati Cano, which helped her deepen her love for Mexico’s musical language. She recorded and performed with them in venues such as the Teatro Degollado in Guadalajara and the Lincoln Center of New York.

Liceaga grew up in Mexico City and brought his first guitar with the money he’d earned shining shoes. Self-taught, he was later mentored by local legend Leonardo ‘El León’ Salas, who taught Jorge to ‘guasanguearla’ (play with that special Yucatecan swing). Liceaga also founded the Flamencos of Gitanerías (gypsy artists), giving him a raw and complicated education in flamenco, contributing to his special sensitivity as an accompanist.

Lawrence and Liceaga founded Cascada de Flores in San Francisco, CA in 1999. Cascada de Flores has since recorded four albums, collaborated in numerous projects, including theater and cinema, and toured several areas of the United States. In Mexico, they have been delightfully received in Mexico City, La Tasca in Jalapa, and in Oaxaca City. They even traveled to study with the Trovadores of Santiago de Cuba, according to cascadadeflores.com

Saúl Sierra-Alonso, the bass player, was born and raised in Mexico City, where he started playing professionally in 1990. As a San Francisco Bay Area resident since the fall of 1999, Sierra has performed, toured, or recorded with over 50 artists, including Poncho Sanchez and Pete Escovedo.

For the past 20 years, Sierra-Alonso has played with some of the leading bands in the Bay Area, including The John Santos Quintet/Sextet and The Bay Area Afro-Cuban All Stars.

Sierra-Alonso keeps himself busy performing, composing, arranging, and teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area. Two of his newest projects include The Saul Sierra Trio, a contemporary jazz fusion jazz trio, and The Saul Sierra Quintet, a piano-less Latin jazz quintet, according to saulsierra.com.

Sierra-Alonso is also a member of the California State University East Bay music faculty as the Latin Jazz Ensemble director.

Cascada de Flores is now a phenomenon cherished by the Latinos and non-Latino fans. Opening minds and hearts to the real stories of Mexico and Latin America has become this group’s unofficial mission.

Firmly committed to music and cultural education, Cascada de Flores has performed in over 1,000 schools and libraries, reaching over 500,000 children with their educational program.

They present a bilingual music and dance program for children in schools, libraries, and theaters such as Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, Herbst Theater in San Francisco, and the Mexican Heritage Plaza in San Jose.

Members of Cascada de Flores also present ongoing bilingual classes and special workshops for children and families focused on traditional Latin American folk songs and Mexican traditional music and dance, according to cascadadeflores.com.

For more information, go to cascadadeflores.com.

The post Cascada de Flores Performs in Marin City Library first appeared on Post News Group. This article originally appeared in Post News Group.

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