Thursday, March 22, 2012

Omni-Zona Franca at New York's Nuyorican Poets Cafe

Members of Omni-Zona Franca, David D'Omni, Amaury Pacheco, and Luis Eligio D'Omni on the roof terrace of my co-op "In The Heights" (Washington Heights) with the Hudson River and the George Washington Bridge in the background.

So, yesterday at long last I finally met the three members of Omni-Zona Franca, David, Amaury, and Luis Eligio, who are touring the U.S. this spring and who will take Baruch College by storm tomorrow.  The event is free and open to the public and would be a great way to start your weekend with a mind-bending bang! There will be music, poetry, and Q&A.  We will also be serving refreshments (Latin fare) so please go to the event page at Facebook and rsvp so we can get an accurate head count so there is enough food!

Together, Zoya Kocur and I introduced the guys to the finer points of the NYC Subway system, the flowering springtime parks of Northern Manhattan, as well as some of the city's vertical architecture.  They also marveled at the views of the GW Bridge and the Palisades across the Hudson River.

Late in the day, we met up again at the Gandhi Statue in Union Square where we also very appropriately witnessed the "Million Hoodie March" protesting the killing of Trayvon Martin.  To their great pleasure I also introduced Omni to the professor and performance artist Coco Fusco - whose work they know and admire greatly.

However, an incomparable day soon morphed into an unforgettable night as we made our way down to the Lower East Side's Nuyorican Poets Cafe.  Luckily, we got there just early enough to sign David and Luis Eligio up as 2 of the 20 poets that would compete in the evening's poetry slam.  And, as luck would have it, the only spots left were the opening and closing acts - so all comers were treated to a night that began and ended with the magical potion that these multi-disciplinary poets brew back in Alamar and have brought to share with us in Nueva York!

See below for my amateurish Flipcam and iPhone videos of their performances.  As you can see, each of them slowly won over the crowd with their earnest presence and passionate palabras.

Here's David doing a version of "Terapia y Oracion."  (Go here to see a much more professional version recorded by Omni themselves last night and here to see another version done in Cuba.)

And here's Luis Eligio's show-stoping finale: "Clara."  (Go here for a sharper version of this same performance recorded by Luis Eligio himself and here to see him and David perform the same number in Havana at the Centro Wilfredo Lam.)

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