Miami, July 14, 2021 – From music to language to exotic spices for cooking, our daily lives are often influenced by other cultures. In Point of Convergence – A Musical and Dance Voyage developed by Cuban guitarist and sitar player Arsenio Diaz, we see the intersections where cultures connect. Catch the performance at Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Koubek Center on Saturday, July 31, at 8 p.m.
Point of Convergence is a celebration of the beauty of multiculturalism by showcasing the convergence of two seemingly different cultures: Afro-Cuban and Indian. The show will feature a diverse and experienced ensemble, including fellow Cuban multi-instrumentalist Michael Gil and multi-instrumentalist Manuel Clua (also a former member of DJ Ma Non Troppo), dancers and choreographers Marisol Blanco and Aparna Matange, and percussionists Sudhir Limaye and Eduardo Rodriguez. The program will explore unusual instrumental combinations and a variety of music and dance, from ragas to rumba and from religious dances addressing Shiva and the Yoruba deity Changó to a popular conga.
“The two cultures manifest their spirituality and their reverence to their gods perhaps not with the same melody or the same rhythm, but with the same art form,” Diaz said. “I see Point of Convergence as a journey from heaven to earth. We’re going to start with very spiritual things and end with a street party.”
His improbable story with the sitar and Indian classical music is a tale of art transcending cultural borders. Diaz discovered the sitar in Havana, while listening to The Beatles (forbidden music in Cuba at the time). A classical guitarist by training, he was fascinated by the sound of the sitar, an ancient string instrument from the Indian subcontinent used in Hindustani classical music, and how it worked in modern, non-Indian music. But there were no sitars or teachers in Havana. In 2006, a year after settling in Miami, he finally found both, becoming a student of Bharti D. Chokshi, the executive president of the Association of Performing Arts of India (APAI). He later worked with the Luyano Band and DJ Ma Non Troppo, adventurous, cross-cultural ensembles using both ancient and modern instruments led by Gil.
“These traditions have so moved me, and yet, during this time of the pandemic, I’ve seen so much hate. It seems like instead of looking for unity, we are looking for differences,” Diaz said. “This is a way to counteract that. We have so much in common — even as we are different. The idea is unity through art, which is my means of expression.”
WHAT: Point of Convergence – A Musical and Dance Voyage by Arsenio Diaz
WHEN: Saturday, July 31, at 8 p.m.
WHERE: Miami Dade College’s Koubek Center
2705 S.W. 3rd St.
TICKETS: $15 / https://koubekcenter.brownpapertickets.com/
About the Koubek Center
A South Florida landmark with a long and rich history as a cultural hub, The Koubek Center is dedicated to building community through the arts. Over the past several decades, the Center has offered various activities, including workshops, art exhibitions, theater performances, literary readings, and concerts. It is a place for artists and local arts organizations to explore and experiment, engage in collaborations and share their work with the community. The Koubek Center includes a 200-seat theater, an expansive garden, classrooms, rehearsal, and multi-use spaces. Built-in 1929 by Austrian trader John J. Koubek as a gift to his wife, it was later donated to the University of Miami and acquired by Miami Dade College in 2011. For more information, visit www.koubekcenter.org.