Las Cafeteras at the Old Town School of Folk Music

by Aurora Zamudio-Lopez, Highland Park High School, Class of 2017

On a Wednesday in late October, five Schuler Scholars from Highland Park High School along with fellow Scholars from North Chicago, Cristo Rey, and Warren had the opportunity to attend an eye-opening exposure. We traveled to the Old Town School of Folk Music to attend a workshop and a marvelous concert provided by the very talented musical group, Las Cafeteras. Through their music, the group displays pride in their Hispanic culture while teaching their audience not to be ashamed of being a minority.  

First, we attended a small workshop. The group expressed the term “His-story” to explain how history is often told from one perspective, specifically that of white males. They want not just us Scholars but other people as well to listen to “Her-story” this time, meaning that everyone should be able to write their own story. They want others to look at history through multiple perspectives while considering race and gender. The group talked about the stereotypes that surrounded them growing up in East L.A, and how stereotypes are always negative. Then the group showed us one of their music videos to represent how proud they are of their Hispanic background. Later each Scholar introduced themselves starting with their name and where their parents were born. This way Scholars had a chance to share part of their story. This created a bond between everyone, so that even if we lived in different towns we could all relate. Like me, the majority of Scholars have a Hispanic background, and most of our parents were not born in the United States. Even if our parents weren’t born in the same place, we all had the connection of being first generation college-bound students. This created a close bond between us, even if we still didn’t know each other well.

Later on that night Las Cafeteras performed a concert to a sold out crowd. The Scholars and I were excited to hear their music live. All of the songs were in Spanish, carrying a fast but soothing sound. The group danced a traditional Mexican tap dance. The joy that the group had when performing their music invaded the atmosphere. This was an amazing exposure to attend. Scholars discovered not only a new band to listen to, but learned to look at stories from multiple perspectives and embrace our different backgrounds.


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