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Family Values: Accordion en Español


By Bethany Powers '11

Published Jul 1, 2010 7:59 AM


Accordion artist Mr. Vallenato mixes Mexican and Colombian influences to create music kids — and everybody — can't help but love. Photo courtesy of the Fowler Museum.

The Fowler Museum is bringing together Mexican spiritual traditions and the unique sounds of Colombian folk accordion music so kids can explore the world in just an afternoon.

On July 25, the Fowler's Kids in the Courtyard family art workshop will be followed by a performance from accordion artist Jorge Villarreal, a Mexican-American interpreter of Colombian folk music, known by his stage name, Mr. Vallenato — and also called the "Jimi Hendrix of the Accordion."

Mr. Vallenato, who grew up in Texas, began listening to traditional Colombian music when he was just 8, and has since developed one of the most original sounds in the music industry. He draws inspiration from time-honored Colombian music, but adds a multicultural flair that's all his own. His fast-moving fingers will create accordion tunes matched in heat only by the summer sun.

Prior to his show, kids can explore the mystery and magic of the nagual, believed in certain cultures to represent the animal spirit counterparts of people. The town of Tonalá, Mexico, is known for its pottery and plates representing the nagual, and in the Fowler's Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives, you can check out a large display of these amazing art pieces.Kids can draw inspiration from the display to decide what kind of animal best represents them, and then make their own animal mask.

Whether it's the music or the art that will encourage you and your kids to try something new, check out the Fowler this summer for a cultural experience for the whole family.

Kids in the Courtyard and Summer Concert Series.Sunday, July 25, Fowler Museum. Workshop, 1-4 p.m.; concert, 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call (310) 825-4361 or visit