El Mariachi Flores
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A generation of musicians – the Flores brothers from oldest to youngest: Salvador, Hector, Porfirio, Jose Maria, Sergio and Ernesto Flores – arrived in the United States in the same order, bringing their culture and authentic music running through their veins, to share and show a real taste of their native country, Mexico. In 1987 they unified their musical talents and became Mariachi Flores, wearing traditional suits (trajes de charro), playing typical instruments such as guitarron, vihuela, guitar and trumpets, and adding a nice meld of voices.
At the age of seven, each brother began studying the art of mariachi and began playing professionally at fifteen. Mariachi Flores has enjoyed a big transcendency in the music industry thanks to their father, Porfirio Flores Bernal (1925-1993), a man with an incredible musical talent, who was highly regarded by some of the most famous mariachi bands including Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan, Mariachi Los Mensajeros, and Mariachi Mexico de Pepe Villa, among others. Having grown up among the sounds and rhythms of Sones-Huapangos y Boleros, the Flores Brothers now follow in their father’s footsteps.
El Mariachi Flores had the honor of playing for Pope Francis during his visit to Philadelphia.
Steel Pan Jam
A native of Trinidad, Ron Emrit learned to play the steelpan music at the age of 15 after receiving a tenor pan for Christmas. He went on to play with a few steelbands before leaving Trinidad for Howard University in August 1965 to study mechanical engineering. At Howard, he played with the Trinidad Steelband until his graduation. While living and working in Boston, Massachusetts, he played with a local steelband whenever he could. After a 35-year hiatus from playing to concentrate on his engineering career, Ron began playing again solo in March 2010. During his musical career, Ron has had the opportunity to perform in concert on the same program with calypsonians Mighty Sparrow and Lord Kitchener, as well as for Senior White House personnel, a Presidential inaugural parade, and the US Attorney General. He now plays throughout the northeast and Florida
The Opa Band of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania currently performs both as an instrumental duo and as a full ensemble featuring Philadelphia's own John Koutsouros on Guitar and his son Bill on Bouzouki, Outi and Toubeleki! Their repertoire includes Traditional Greek Rembetika, Laika, Nissiotika, Demotika, Éntekhno and Eastern Mediterranean Music. The Opa Band is perfect for small and large celebrations, weddings, christenings, festivals, charity, corporate and educational events. The Opa Band brings the “kefi” with their unique blend of traditional Greek music to every performance, Opa!
UNIVERSAL African Dance & Drum Ensemble
The UNIVERSAL African Dance & Drum Ensemble, founded and directed by Robert and wife Wanda Dickerson in 1984 and co-directed by their oldest son Jamal and wife Ronsha Dickerson, son Nasir Dickerson, daughters Atiya Johnson-Dickerson and Ayanna Dickerson has grown to be one of the largest professional African Dance & Drum Ensembles in the United States of America. The Universal African Dance & Drum Ensemble headquartered in Camden, New Jersey which includes members from Camden, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Africa. is a group made up of talented African-Americans and Africans who have been taught by some of the best teachers in America and of course by some of the best African teachers since 1984. They have made great accomplishments with their traditional, sensational, electrifying and amazing performances of Stilt Walkers, Dancers, Drummers, Ground Masquerades, Drama and a very exciting Acrobatic Show. The Universal African Dance & Drum Ensemble has performed at many prominent and prestigious events, including performing for and honoring leaders of countries, celebrities, politicians, religious, business and community leaders all over America and abroad in the Caribbean of Trinidad & Tobago and Africa. They have also represented the beauty of African culture by performing and being viewed by millions on cable, local, national and international television.
Blessed and sanctioned to be one of the BEST and the most exciting African Dance and Drum ensembles in the USA. In addition the Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble were chosen and endorsed by world renowned historians, scholars and artists in America and Africa to represent the USA at the World Festival of Black Arts and Culture (FESMAN) in Dakar, Senegal, Africa in December 2010, where over 80 nations presented their best. At this historical event Universal performed in Saint-Louis, Goree Island and Dakar, Senegal, AFRICA on the main stages.
All 72 active members of the Dance & Drum Ensemble are advanced Martial Artists (Karate) practitioners, and many are local, national and world Karate champions. Most members are also musicians as students, teachers, scholars and performers who can read and write music. They can play musical instruments, such as trumpets, saxophones, pianos, trombones, violins, bass, tubas and other wonderful instruments. Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble has been blessed with five outstanding stilt walkers along with the famous stilt walker, Pasha the Stilt walker who is also considered by scholars as one of the best stilt walkers in America.