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Cuñao and Beth Peterson

D+R Residency 2017

Julio Montero and Cuñao: Music
Beth Peterson: Puppetry
Rocio Veliz: Research Advisor from Central American Resource Center (CARECEN)

The residency brings together Latin folk band Cuñao, puppet artist Beth Peterson and Rocio Veliz, Youth Coordinator/Organizer with Central American Resource Center (CARECEN). Based on research and anecdotal stories, the collaboration focuses on sharing the stories of children who cross the Mexico–U.S. border, alone. Using Bunraku and shadow puppetry, music and narrative, the project seeks to raise awareness and share the experiences, challenges and traumas of children trying to make their way to the United States. The residency will develop both an extended live performance, and a filmed music video.

Cuñao is a Los Angeles-based Latin folk group that uses their South American background and influences to create evocative, poetic songs that transcend time and leave listeners with lush images. A group of multi-ethnic musicians, Cuñao puts a global twist on their Latin sound by exploring African rhythms, Eastern European melodies and American rock aesthetics. The band started as a recording collaboration by founder Julio Montero in 2010. Their self-released debut Trabajo Y Ron (2011) is a fusion of electronic beats and synthesized sounds infused with the spirit of ethnic folk music. Cuñao’s 5-song EP Los Testigos (2013) features nostalgic folk songs inspired by Latin American music of the 1960s and 70s. That same year included a collaboration with Beat Chamber Records and the release of the cumbia EP Llano, Llanero, Lloron, which was awarded The Examiner Magazine’s 2013 L.A.Music Critics Award for Best International Release. The band released Sangre Y Arena (2015), which solidified their current roster of musicians and their mix of Latin folk with a global flair.

Beth Peterson is a puppet and mask artist who creates puppets for processions, pageants and puppet shows. She served for more than a decade as Associate Artistic Director at In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre in Minneapolis. She currently works in Los Angeles organizing LA Commons community art projects in neighborhoods; and creates and performs puppet shows, processions and workshops for venues such as Grand Park, Disney Hall, Skirball Cultural Center, Leimert Park, Arroyo Arts Collective and Inner City Arts. Highlights include: creating giant puppets for the Minnesota Orchestra; serving as Puppet Master for the Center Theater Group – El Teatro Campesino production of Popol Vuh; and opening ceremonies for Grand Park and the Gwatcheon International Festival in South Korea. She teaches puppet and mask arts in schools and community centers through LA Arts, the Music Center of Los Angeles County and Antioch University.

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Collaboratively offered by Los Angeles Performance Practice and Automata, with support from the California Art Council’s Creative California Communities program.

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