Center for the Arts Presents Perú Negro with Eva Ayllón

Posted: January 20, 2011 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: January 19, 2011 at 9:54 pm

Perú Negro was formed more than 40 years ago to celebrate, preserve and renew the music and dance traditions of the blacks that first came to Peru in the 18th century, and to bring these unique Afro-Peruvian traditions to audiences across the globe.

This group of more than 30 dancers and musicians returns to Mason’s Center for the Arts on Saturday, Jan. 22 at 8 p.m., bringing “Festejo,” a joyful celebration of festive dances and live music that celebrates the ensemble’s folkloric ancestry.

Sultry songstress Eva Ayllón, known as Peru’s Tina Turner, joins the ensemble for this performance.

Founded by Ronaldo Campos de la Colina in 1969, Perú Negro is now led by Campos’ son Ronny Campos, who has made Perú Negro a presence on the international stage.

Because drums were banned by Spanish colonizers, the percussionists play the unique instruments used by African slaves — a cajón (wooden crate), tithe box and donkey jaw — to create its distinctive sound.

Melodic guitar and voices serve as accompaniment for the rhythmic and passionate dancing in perfect syncopation with the percussion.

The Lima-based ensemble has performed all over the world and also runs its own school and a junior troupe called Perú Negrito.

Perú Negro has released several albums, including “Sangre de un Don” (Heritage of a Gentleman), dedicated to founder Campos, who passed away in 2001; and the Latin Grammy Award-nominated “Jolgorio” (Revelry).

Born María Angélica Ayllón Urbina, Ayllón was named for her grandmother, who introduced her to singing at age 3. After singing in competitions throughout school and later in nightclubs, Ayllón established herself as the leading interpreter of música criolla, the Afro-Peruvian music.

For the past 40 years, Ayllón has toured the world, performing to audiences from Carnegie Hall in New York City to the Sydney Opera House in Australia. Ayllón has recorded more than 20 albums and earned four platinum records, 10 gold records and four Latin Grammy nominations, the latest for her album “Canta a Chabuca Granda,” which is a tribute to Peruvian singer Chabuca Granda. She recently celebrated her illustrious career with a 40th anniversary celebration concert at the Town Hall in New York City.

A discussion, free to ticket holders, begins 45 minutes prior to the performance on the Center’s Grand Tier. Pre-performance discussions are sponsored by the Friends of the Center for the Arts.

Tickets are $23, $38 and $46. Tickets are half-price for youth through grade 12 when the child is accompanied by an adult. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit cfa.gmu.edu.

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