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    Agustín Lira & Alma, Viento Callejero to perform at Ralph Rinzler Memorial Concert, June 28

    On Sunday, June 28, at 5 p.m., Chicano musicians Agustin Lira and Alma, and Cumbia group Viento Callejero will perform at the Ralph Rinzler Memorial Concert at the 2015 Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall, in front of the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) at Third St. SW in Washington, D.C. The rain location is the Rasmussen Auditorium in the NMAI building.

    Agustin Lira played an instrumental role in the Chicano movement, co-founding the theatre group El Teatro Campesino in 1965. Depicting the difficult conditions migrant farmworkers face, Lira’s socially relevant lyrics have helped unite the farmworker community. His music gives voice to the oppressed migrant farmworker population, a cause dear to El Teatro Campesino. After leaving the theater troupe in 1969, Lira has been teaching drama, music, and creative writing at various schools and organizations throughout California. He performs with his group Alma (“soul”), which has toured the United States, Cuba, and Mexico.

    Lira appears on three Smithsonian Folkways albums, and will be releasing his first full-length album on the non-profit record label in late 2015 or early 2016. His music showcases the blend of Mexican, Latin American, American Folk, and Afro-Cuban styles that form Chicano music. Watch Lira’s most recent interview with Smithsonian Folkways here.

    Also performing on June 28 will be Viento Callejero (Street Breeze), a Cumbia trio based in Los Angeles.  Since forming in 2013, the group has brought together the basic elements of urban tropical music, stripping Cumbia down to its most basic form. Viento Callejero embodies the latest Cumbia movement in the Los Angeles area, combining rhythmic and melodic features from a variety of Latin American musical styles.  These include Cumbia Colombiana, Son Montuno, Merengue, Reggae, and more. The group also takes a distinctive approach to their shows, inviting a new guest vocalist to sing with them for every performance.

    This year’s Rinzler Memorial concert is offered as a preview for a future Folklife Festival program on California, a state currently and historically home to many of America’s immigrants. The concert is presented as part of the Folklife Festival, an annual event hosted by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. All performances are free to the public. The 10-day Festival will be held in 2015 from Wednesday, June 24, through Sunday, June 28, and Wednesday, July 1, through Sunday, July 5, outdoors on the National Mall between Third and Fourth Streets. Festival hours are from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day, with special evening events such as concerts and dance parties beginning at 5:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. The Festival is co-sponsored by the National Park Service. For more information, visit

    Agustín Lira & Alma, Viento Callejero to perform at Ralph Rinzler Memorial Concert, June 28 | Smithsonian Folkways Recordings