Monday, September 19, 2011

Cobden hosts Mexican cultural festival

COBDEN, IL (KRCU) - The smell of pozole, tamales and mole filled the air in downtown Cobden while Mexican musicians performed traditional music called pirecuas on stage.

The Purepecha Cultural Festival celebrates the culture and heritage of the Purepecha indigenous people that live in Michoacan, Mexico. Many Purepecha have settled in Cobden over the last thirty years.

Josue Corral is the guitarist and singer for Pinde Kuechua, a traditional band from Michoacan who made a trip to the United States to play at Cobden.

"We’re very happy to be here," Corral says in Spanish. "Especially because the music we play is not commercial. It’s music that has been with us for many generation. Traditional music. It’s a genre from our culture, and we take great pleasure in sharing it in other places."

Gang violence has erupted in and around Michoacan. Organizer Pedro Tomas says the festival is way for Purepecha to connect to traditions at a time when travel Mexico is virtually cut off.

"People stopped travelling," Tomas says. "Nobody is going back. It’s almost like, we want to go, but we don’t know. We don’t know. We’re here. We have videos. We have articles all that, but we don’t know because we haven’t been there. And what they are saying, don’t put yourself at risk until things go back to normal … when is that going to be? We don’t know."

Vendors from St. Louis and Breese, Illinois sold food and artisanry. Purepecha from St. Louis, Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana all attended the festival.

It is the second year Cobden has hosted a Purepecha festival.

Jacob McCleland, KRCU


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