SGI-Uruguay Celebrates Diversity and Peace Through Music and Culture
In October and November, SGI-Uruguay held two events promoting friendship and peace through cultural exchange and music at its culture center in the capital Montevideo.
The first was a choral festival for peace held on October 20. SGI-Uruguay General Director Hiroyuki Kaetsu opened the festival, which has been held every year since 2009.The festival featured choral groups from a diverse array of Uruguayan cultural traditions. The groups performed songs ranging from well-loved classics to those of freedom and resistance.
Representing the Afro-Uruguayan community and the musical tradition of Candombe was Afrogama, who performed a series of powerful tunes including the Pan-African liberation anthem "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika." Candombe, now an integral part of Uruguay's musical identity, originated in Africa and was brought to Uruguay through the Atlantic slave trade. Two choral groups then performed, whose names--Somos Voces (in Spanish, "we are voices"), and Ej-Imau ("mouth" and "ear" in the language of the indigenous Charrúa)--allude to the power of the voice to unite both performers and listeners. SGI-Uruguay's Voces de Victoria chorus also performed.
On November 25, the second event, a culture festival, drew some 600 SGI-Uruguay members from throughout the nation, inspired by SGI President Ikeda's views on the power of art and culture to bridge cultural differences and bring people together. Festival participants brought an array of diverse performances to the stage, including Afro-Cuban dance, Greek theater and Candombe rhythms.
[Adapted from an article in the December 15, 2012, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan, and a report from SGI-Uruguay; photos courtesy of SGI-Uruguay and Seikyo Shimbun]