Saturday, September 15, 2018

EXTRA: El Grito, Pritzker-style

I’m sure there are some people out there who are peeved (to put it mildly) at the very notion of “El Grito” being celebrated Saturday night within Chicago’s Millennium Park.
The ringing of the bell … 

Sure enough, the World Music Festival of Chicago held at the Pritzker Pavilion included an afternoon-into-evening of Mexican-themed musical acts, and ended with a ceremonial ringing-of-the-bell and the cry of El Grito – a recreation of the “Cry of Delores” action taken by Father Miguel Hidalgo on this date back in 1810 that began the fight for independence from Spain.

EL GRITO IS a demand for respect for Mexican people, and a recreation of it is usually a standard part of any celebration of Mexico Independence Day – which is Sunday.

But in this Age of Trump where the nitwits of our society want to use Mexican people as their punching bag, I’m sure it will bother them that such an act – along with a public singing of Mexico’s national anthem – occurred on what otherwise was a beautiful Saturday night in Chicago.

All of which was a part of the program put on by the Mariachi Herencia de Mexico – a mariachi band consisting of students from Benito Juarez High School in Chicago that actually has some talent, has made recordings and has even been nominated for Grammy awards.
… while waving the flag all part of Mexico tribute

Although I’m not about to claim that the Saturday evening program was totally inoffensive.

I’M STILL A little bit freaked out that their program felt the need to include a musical medley of songs en Ingles from that 1978 film “Grease.”

Somehow, the image of John Travolta’s “Danny Zucco” character just doesn’t fit into my notion of paying tribute to Mexico’s traditions through mariachi music.

Although for the xenophobes out there who are throwing tantrums about the notion of Mexican independence being celebrated in this country -- let alone in Chicago, keep in mind that the youthful mariachis also did a rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” that would have put to shame many a version done by Anglo-oriented musicians.
But Star-Spangled Banner got its moment too. Photos by Gregory Tejeda
And that Gov. Bruce Rauner’s public schedule for the weekend consisted of one lone event – an El Grito celebration Saturday night at Harrison Park in the Pilsen neighborhood. An event that has been an annual one for the man who has hopes Illinois voters will give him another term in office come Nov. 6.


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