“Electrifying,” – says The Kennedy Center
Flushing Town Hall invites audiences to celebrate Colombian Independence on Saturday, July 23 with a live concert from Kombilesa Mí, a one-of-a-kind ensemble from Palenque, Colombia.
“I am overjoyed to start bringing international artists back to our stage this summer, and Kombilesa Mí is a must-see for the energy they bring, the traditions they preserve, and the styles they blend,” says Ellen Kodadek, Flushing Town Hall Executive & Artistic Director.
Beloved by global music enthusiasts, Kombilesa Mí’s NPR Tiny Desk concert has racked up nearly 40,000 views.
Born from the rich musical and historical heritage of San Basilio de Palenque, Colombia (the first free Black town in all of the Americas) Kombilesa Mí was founded in 2011 and fuses traditional sounds with urban pop. Flushing Town Hall audiences will discover what the group refers to as “RFP,” or Rap Folklórico Palenquero, a combination of cumbia, son de negro, mapalé, and son palenquero.
Over traditional percussion, which they play on marímbula and handmade drums of their own design, the band’s members rhyme and rap in both Spanish and Palenquero—a language evolved from the fusion of African Bantu, Portuguese, French, and English.
As the BBC notes, Kombilesa Mí’s unique take on hip hop is helping to preserve an old language at risk of extinction, and the band is further preserving its town’s founding spirit through its use of modern-day hip hop as an artistic tool of resistance and protest.
San Basilio de Palenque was founded in the 17th Century by escaped African slaves who were later granted their official freedom in the 18th Century after decades fighting Spanish colonialists.
Every detail of the group’s presentation is meaningful, down to their hairstyles. As reported by culture trip, Kombilesa Mí braids their hair in patterns and styles similar to those worn by their ancestors, “who used hair-braiding to create maps to help guide them and their fellow slaves to freedom.”
The band is comprised of Andris Padilla Julio on vocals, Keila Regina Miranda Pérez (KR MP) on vocals, Alí Fernando Navarro (MCPM) on vocals and tambor alegre, Martín Elias Maza on tambor llamador, Kendri Cassiani on tamboras, Orlys Reyes on marímbula, and Edwin Valdes on maracas.
Flushing Town Hall is New York City’s go-to presenter of global music and serves a regional audience of diverse immigrant communities. Before its pause during the pandemic, it last celebrated Colombian Independence Day in person back in 2019 with a bullerengue concert featuring band Bulla en el Barrio.
“New York City is home to a thriving Colombian community, along with New Yorkers of other backgrounds who are eager to learn about and enjoy the traditions of their neighbors. All ages are welcome at our upcoming celebration. It’s going to be a fantastic show,” says Kodadek.
The show begins at 2:00 PM and is preceded by a free dance lesson at 1:00 PM. For those unable to attend the concert, the event will also be live streamed online. Tickets are $15/$12 for members and $8 for children under 12. The dance workshop is FREE with ticket purchase. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit: https://www.flushingtownhall.org/kombilesa-mi-colombian-independence-day
For the venue’s full schedule of 2022 Summer events, visit: https://www.flushingtownhall.org/events
Although as of March 7, 2022, New York City has relaxed its COVID policies for indoor arts and entertainment events, Flushing Town Hall will maintain its prior policy for the safety of its audiences, artists, and staff. This policy will remain in effect until further notice: Flushing Town Hall requires all visitors, performers, and staff to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 with matching identification. Additionally, masks will be required at all times. For more details on Flushing Town Hall’s Covid-safety measures and vaccine requirements, please visit: https://www.flushingtownhall.org/covid-safety.
Support Global Arts with a Gift Today!
All gifts of $50 or more give you exclusive Flushing Town Hall Circle of Friends membership benefits including a Smithsonian membership, ticket discounts, and more! Donations in any amount are appreciated to support the artists and the nonprofit cultural organization as they continue to provide programming and entertainment across New York and the world.
Flushing Town Hall is a not for profit organization and receives major support in its 2021-2022 Fiscal Year from the National Endowment for the Arts; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature; New York State Assembly Member Ron Kim; The City of New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio (2021) and Mayor Eric Adams (2022); New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Commissioner Gonzalo Casals; Queens Borough President Donovan Richards; The New York City Council, Speaker Corey Johnson; Council Members Costa Constantinides, Daniel Dromm, Barry Grodenchik, Peter Koo, Karen Koslowitz, Paul A. Vallone, Jimmy Van Bramer; Howard Gilman Foundation, Booth Ferris Foundation, Guru Krupa Foundation, Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation.
To view current donor lists, please visit www.flushingtownhall.org/donor-listings
About Flushing Town Hall
Flushing Town Hall (FTH), a Smithsonian affiliate, presents multi-disciplinary global arts that engage and educate the global communities of Queens and New York City in order to foster mutual appreciation. As advocates of arts equity since 1979, we support local, immigrant, national, and international artists, developing partnerships and collaborations that enhance our efforts. As a member of New York City’s Cultural Institutions Group (CIG), we serve to restore, manage and program the historic 1862 landmark on behalf of the City of New York. FTH celebrates the history of Queens as the home of Jazz, by presenting the finest in Jazz performance. We are committed to arts education and hands-on learning, for the arts-curious, arts enthusiasts, and professional artists. We serve one of the most diverse communities in the world and strive to uphold the legacy of inclusiveness that has defined our community since the Flushing Remonstrance of 1657.
Flushing Town Hall is a proud member of the Cultural Institutions Group (CIG), a collective of 34 nonprofit museums, performing arts centers, historical societies, zoos, and botanical gardens across all five boroughs with a distinct private-public partnership with the City of New York and a commitment to serving all New Yorkers.
Flushing Town Hall acknowledges that we are on the traditional land of the Matinecock People, one of the original tribes of New York, and the first people of Flushing, Queens. The Matinecock continue to live and work on this land to this day. Flushing Town Hall honors their elders who have stewarded this land throughout generations.