All are invited, free of charge, to Fusion Fest at The House of the Seven Gables. This lively celebration on Sunday, August 13, from noon to 5 p.m., is packed with live music and dance, art, food truck offerings, lawn games and more. Fusion Fest — a joyful merging of Salem’s people and its many cultures — sets aside a midsummer afternoon on The Gables’ beautiful lawn to honor The Gables’ adult students who attend ESL and citizenship classes.
Fusion Fest events are meant to engage and entertain, and to shed light on the region’s diverse cultural contributions. Among the day’s festivities:
Noon to 12:30 p.m. Greg Coles, African/Caribbean drumming performance & mini-lesson
12:45 to 1:15 p.m. Boston Casineros with Amanda Rodrigue & Alejandro Castro; Cuban salsa performance & mini-lesson
1:30 to 2 p.m. Singer/songwriter Rosario Rivas, Argentinian Tango; accompanied by G Rockwell, guitar; Noah Harrington, bass
2:15 to 2:45 p.m. Felipe Collazo, acoustic guitar
3 to 3:30 p.m. BOMBA Antillana; Puerto Rican dance with Eli Pabon
3:45 to 4:15 p.m. Capoeira Brasil/New England Capoeira with Breno Martino; performance and mini-lesson
Since the founding of this historic port city, people from around the globe have made their homes in Salem. And since 1910, The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association has supported new residents with a range of programming to ease their transitions. According to
Ellen Berry, The Gables’ settlement and education programs manager, Fusion Fest calls attention to the range of cultures and accomplishments among the students. Of the 350 students from 17 countries who have taken language and citizenship classes just this year, 45 have become U.S. citizens.
Talented singer-songwriter Rosario Rivas, 19, from Argentina and now attending the New England Conservatory, has found her own interpretations of her native country’s Tango music. She will perform her original songs at Fusion Fest.
“While Tango is known, I don’t hear it enough, especially here,” she says. “The music can generate more — more questions, more ideas, more approaches and interests — in the ways I interpret it.” Rivas writes her lyrics in Spanish and avoids explicit meaning in her songs. “I try to be less literal so people can find their own meaning.” Further, she works with musicians who appreciate improvisation and collaboration in the moment.
“I’m excited to bring Tango to people here. I’ve been in this country a year now and I’m very happy to share with people from Latin America, too; among those in attendance will be people who can relate to me and who can understand what I am saying. I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to do this.” Rivas’s performance begins at 1:30 p.m.
During Fusion Fest, the ESL and citizenship students will be able to spend time at The Gables, take house tours in Spanish, enjoy the oceanfront setting with their families and get to know each other and The Gables. Because the classes are held off site at night to accommodate the students’ work schedules, it’s challenging for them to take part in Gables’ onsite events, says Berry. Fusion Fest changes all that.
Fusion Fest is more than a gathering, and more than a festive Sunday on The Gables’ legendary lawn, says Berry. It’s a real merging of cultures, community and arts. Among the countries represented at Fusion Fest are: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Columbia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, Italy, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain and Ukraine. Proceeds from English-language house tour ticket sales during Fusion Fest will be given to a participating Ukrainian humanitarian organization.
About The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association
The mission of The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association is to be a welcoming, thriving, historic site and community resource that engages people of all backgrounds in our inclusive American story. For more information visit www.7gables.org.
Rosario Rivas will perform her own Tango-inspired compositions with G Rockwell and Noah Harrington.