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Sounds of California

April 29, 2018 @ 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

ACTA performance

Celebrate the Sounds of California in Bayview on Sunday April 29th

The Bayview Opera House alongside The Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA) invite you to a lively afternoon of music and conversations from the Bay Area’s African-American, Vietnamese, Kurdish, and Chicano communities. The event begins at 2pm on Sunday, April 29th at the historic Ruth Williams Memorial Theatre. The musicians’ song and stories reflect their histories of displacement, migration, and creating a new sense of home.

The program is hosted by San Francisco’s own Rhodessa Jones, co-artistic directior of the acclaimed San Francisco theater company Cultural Odyssey and recipient of the prestigious U.S Artist Fellowship.

The musical groups include:

Au Co Vietnamese Cultural Center is a youth ensemble that plays traditional music on the Đàn Tranh, or Vietnamese zither. Originally established as a language training center for refugees settling in San Franscisco’s Tenderloin area after the Vietnam War, the Center now attracts youth for Vietnamese music classes. The ensemble’s director Vân Ánh Võ is an Emmy Award-winning Vietnamese zither player.

Omnira Institute creates connections between the African-American experience and African spirituality through their sacred drumming and chants. The group’s Awon Omnira Choir preserves West African musical traditions that have carried on for generations. They also bring their music to sites of police violence to support grieving communities who have lost young men of color.

Özden Öztoprak and Isik Berfin are a mother-daughter duo from Turkey’s ethnic minority Kurdish-Alevi community, which has historically suffered persecution. Their distinct Kurdish repertoire of songs stem from a Sufi spiritual tradition that has passed down behind closed doors, from Özden’s grandparents to 21-year-old Berfin. They exemplify how immigration to California allowed for their voices to openly be heard.

La Familia Peña-Govea is a family of musicians who perform traditional Mexican songs with an activist Chicano perspective. Parents Miguel Govea and Susan Peña raised their two daughters Cecilia and Rene in a household of music and activism in San Francisco’s Mission District, historically a hub of Latino culture. Their music reflects evolving Latino identities and the changing cultural landscape of California.

The Sounds of California initiative is an ongoing partnership between the Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA), Radio Bilingüe, and the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage to explore how experiences of immigration are embedded and archived within music, sound, and social practice throughout our state.

We are grateful to the support of the San Francisco Arts Commission, Grants for the Arts and the San Francisco Foundation.


April 29, 2018
2:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Bayview Opera House Ruth Williams Memorial Theatre
4705 3rd Street
San Francisco, CA 94124 United States