New Mexico is the epicenter of a festival like no other. It’s “Shared Roots,” an initiative of the AfroMundo collective that aims to cultivate a community that embraces both ancient traditions and contemporary ideas.
From April 16-23, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, “Shared Roots” will offer a series of bilingual presentations showcasing the shared histories, cultures, and traditions of the Afro-American peoples of the Americas.
As the AfroMundo website explains, the featured regions are Quisqueya, home to Haiti, where the first successful slave rebellion occurred. It will also feature the Dominican Republic, the first Spanish colony in the Americas from which Hernán Cortés, Francisco Pizarro, Diego Velasquez, and Alonso de Ojeda launched forays into Mexico, Peru, Cuba, and Venezuela. Mexico, which only last year included Afro-Mexicans in the census, Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory since 1898, and Spain, whose African influences are often overlooked, will also be part of the festival.
“Shared Roots” is New Mexico’s first Afro-Latino festival and will include music, dance, films, and panels. Most of the events are free and open to all.
For example, the local Haitian band Racine Kreyol will take the stage with the Afro-Dominican band Kumba Carey to perform traditional rhythms such as nagó, yanvalou, and kongo.
Similarly, one of Puerto Rico’s most influential authors, Mayra Santos Febres, will join authors Eleuterio Santiago-Díaz and Loida Maritza to discuss the British colonial phrase “beyond the pale,” attributed to those who lived beyond real or ideological borders.
Dr. Doris Careaga Coleman of AfroMundo told KRQE she’s hoping to help others find their connection to their Afro-Latin heritage, a journey she too traveled. “I had the consciousness that I was Afromexican. I didn’t know anything about it,” she said.
“We are a small community, the Afro-Latinx people. I think the idea of the AfroMundo festival started in our kitchens, in our living rooms, in conversation,” said Dr. Careaga Coleman. “We thought it was the right time. Right now, this year, to show how many Afro-Latinos live here in Albuquerque and how we contribute to the cultural life here.”