The 21st Fiesta Boricua (de Bandera a Bandera), the two day festival on Paseo Boricua, closed with the captivating sounds and rhythms of Puerto Rican legendary musical figures Yova Rodríguez, Hermán Olivera, Pirulo and Miguel Zenón. With deep feelings and contagious emotions, they performed and improvised a musical tribute to the Puerto Rican patriot Oscar López Rivera calling for his release. This totally engaging experience moved the thousands of participants to wave their Puerto Rican flags and fans with Oscar’s image in unison. From the screen on the stage, Oscar’s image could be seen for blocks on his beloved “La Division” –all the way to Roberto Clemente Academy, which he helped to open 40 years ago.
It was indeed a powerful ending to two days (Saturday and Sunday August 30-31) filled with Puerto Ricanness, particularly its many musical genres produced and executed by the likes of Chicago’s Bomplenera, AfriCaribe, Bomba con Buya, and the Clemente High School Steel Band; from San Lorenzo, Decimanía and Rafaelito Muñoz y su Trío; also from Puerto Rico, Pirulo y la Tribu, Alambre Dulce, Aromas, and Son D’Yavu; and from the Bronx, Hermán Olivera and Yova Rodríguez, with a very special appearance by the jazz musician and MacArthur Genius Award winner, Miguel Zenón. (See the 9-3-2014 Chicago Tribune Article (registration required) here: “Saxophonist Zenon gives 36th Jazz Festival its Pinnacle”
Among the highlights of the 21st Fiesta Boricua was the press conference held on Friday, August 29 at Clemente Community Academy in front of the mosaic of the great ballplayer. There, Alderman Roberto Maldonado formally welcomed the San Lorenzo delegation –representing this year’s “Lo Mejor de Nuestros Pueblos“– headed by its mayor the Hon. José Román Abreu. Maldonado read Mayor Emanuel’s proclamation declaring August 30 and 31 “San Lorenzo Days” in Chicago . Clemente Principal Marcey Sorensen welcomed all the participants to Clemente and invited them to participate in the 40th anniversary celebration of the opening of the school, which will be held on September 19 and 20, 2014. The 21st Fiesta Boricua was dedicated to this anniversary. Mayor José Román Abreu underscored the coincidence of the 21st anniversary of Fiesta Boricua with the #21 of Roberto Clemente’s jersey as a member of the Pirates.
During Friday evening, Noche Jíbara/Guayabera Gala was held in the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture. This event was attended by nearly 200 people including Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez, State Representative Luis Arroyo, Cook County Commissioner Luis Arroyo Jr., Alderman Roberto Maldonado as well as some of the Fiesta Boricua sponsors. The evening’s high point was the formal recognition of the San Lorenzo delegation. Mayor José Román Abreu delivered a strong, engaging message and presented a motivational video about San Lorenzo’s panorama and achievements.
The musical groups Decimanía and Rafaelito Muñoz y su Trío delighted the public and even sang to celebrate Alderman Maldonado’s birthday and Paul and Ida Roldan’s 43rd wedding anniversary.
Saturday and Sunday became two days of total immersion in Puerto Rican music, artistry and food. It was a family focused celebration, which also included Misa Jíbara. Without a doubt, the 21st Fiesta Boricua was truly a huge success.