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Calypso music event launches Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

March 26, 2010

Loyola University New Orleans will host a free lecture and concert, “Everybody Runnin’ to the Carnival: Calypso Music, the Caribbean and its New Orleans Connection,” by renowned Costa Rican musician and ethnographer Manuel Monestel on Wednesday, April 14, at 7:30 p.m. in Nunemaker Auditorium on Loyola’s main campus. Free parking is available in Loyola’s West Road Garage.

Loyola jazz studies students will join Monestel and his band in a performance of traditional and contemporary calypso songs. Calypso music is a cultural expression of the Caribbean with profound roots and connections to West African cultures as well as New Orleans.

Born in San José, Monestel began his musical career in the 1970s and has studied, recorded and performed calypso music and other Caribbean styles, traveling throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia as the leader of his band, Cantoamerica. He completed degrees in sociology and arts at the University of Costa Rica and in popular culture and ethnomusicology at the State University of Bahia, Brazil.

The concert and lecture is the inaugural event for the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, also known as El Centro, created last fall by the College of Humanities and Natural Sciences to support scholarly and academic programs that enhance Loyola’s connection to Latino communities in New Orleans and abroad. The program develops initiatives to promote cultural awareness and understanding through lectures, literary readings and concerts.

One function of the center is the support and management of a visiting scholars program that brings professors and artists from Latin America and the Caribbean to teach Loyola students in a variety of disciplines. Another is collaboration with Loyola’s Center for International Education to increase study abroad opportunities in Latin America and the Caribbean.

According to Director Uriel Quesada, the center opens new doors to service learning and community-based research projects related to the Latino community.

“To make this connection, El Centro strives to connect members of the Loyola community with the Latino community and seeks to enrich our students’ learning experience by creating new alternative coursework in Latin American, Latino and Caribbean studies.”

For more information about El Centro, visit www.loyno.edu/clacs. To schedule an interview, contact Sean Snyder in Loyola’s Office of Public Affairs at smsnyder@loyno.edu or call 504-861-5882.

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