Nichols College News

Music Festival Proves Enriching, Refreshing, and Lively

By Colleen Coleman ‘15

On the last Saturday in September, the Nichols campus became the venue for an international music festival.

The cultural event—held on the Copper Beach Quad and produced by the Nichols College Fischer Institute—featured Latin, Cuban, African, and Reggae bands. The music was exotic and beautiful and could be heard all over campus.

Photo by: Janine Coleman, Class of 2015

It was a big change from the rap, metal and country music usually heard on campus over the weekends. Due to rain, the festival took place under a tent. Food such as hot dogs, wings, and french fries were available for purchase. Even an ice cream truck made an appearance.

The Latin band performed first. Its members wore dashing, colorful outfits mostly consisting of bright red, orange and yellow. One performer wore a winter hat with eight colorful balls hanging below the ears, another wore rainbow shoes, and another a huge, festive red poncho.

Photo by: Janine Coleman, Class of 2015

The Latino songs were upbeat. The audience came to life and clapped and danced together next to the stage. Two professional middle-aged dancers, a man and a woman, performed together and were quite comical. In one dance the woman pretended to kiss a male audience member and danced with him, causing her partner to angrily chase her out of the tent.

The African band performed after the Cubans. Their songs were a bit slower, buy by the end of its performance, however, they became more upbeat, and little children from the Dudley community energetically danced in circles near the stage.

The Reggae band closed out the night and set a very relaxed tone. It played some familiar Bob Marley songs.

Those who came said that the event was highly entertaining and provided a learning experience. “Tonight was awesome!” remarked freshman Anne Laughlin. “I loved how friendly and energized the performers were. My favorite part was when they taught us dances from their respective cultures. What a refreshing experience!”

Photo by: Janine Coleman, Class of 2015

The experience was less fulfilling for the ice cream vendor standing by. “I’ve only had one customer in the past two hours. I’ve made one dollar,” he complained. “This is very frustrating and I’ll leave in the next hour if I don’t get another customer.” The man was so aggravated that he departed just 30 minutes later.

Later, the male dancer taught the audience a lively Latino dance. His name was Ricardo, and he had been dancing since he was a young boy. He began performing on stage when he was 15 years old and said he couldn’t be happier with his career.

The second band was Cuban and consisted of electric guitars, bongos, tambourines, maracas, a keyboard, a drum set, a saxophone, a flute, and a cowbell. This music was also lively and got the audience dancing. One band member jumped off the stage and taught Nichols students an African dance. He proceeded to wow them with incredible dance moves involving handstands and cartwheels.

Some band members wore artistic shirts that had collages or shapes on them, and others wore baggy Aladdin-like pants or fuzzy dark-colored jackets. One band member with dreadlocks even wore neon sneakers.

From Cuba to Africa

The Cuban songs were actually sung in several different languages. The singer noted that he could speak 14 languages, including French, Spanish, English, and various African dialects.

When the band finished its set an electric guitarist, named Mbie, was asked if he ever gets stage fright. He responded, “I never get nervous. From my mindset, I don’t see the stage as a scary place. I see it as an opportunity to share my talents and culture with the audience.”