Keeping Musical Traditions Alive From Generation to Generation

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The!musical!groupLa Familia Peña-Govea is comprised of parents Miguel Govea and Susan Peña and their daughters Cecilia and Rene (Courtesy of La Familia Peña-Govea)

The Alliance for California Traditional Arts preserves cultural history in the state, providing grants to mentors and proteges preserving traditional crafts. The group preserves everything from Pomo basket weaving to Filipino-American storytelling, plus lots of musical traditions.

Özden Öztoprak Passes along Kurdish Alevi musical traditions to her daughter Isik Berfin
Özden Öztoprak
Passes along Kurdish Alevi musical traditions to her daughter Isik Berfin (Kutay D. Kugay)

That's the focus of a concert called The Sounds of California at the Bayview Opera House on Sunday. The show features the duo Isik Berfin and her mother Özden Öztoprak, who sing the most haunting music from the Kurdish Sufi tradition. There's also a dan tranh or Vietnamese zither ensemble from San Francisco's Tenderloin led by Vân Ánh Võ, a genius on the instrument; La Familia Peña-Govea, who are a family of musicians that perform traditional Mexican songs with an activist Chicano perspective; and the Omnira Institute, a drumming ensemble that connects African-American experience with African spirituality.

“We’re going to see examples of the transmission of cultural values," says ACTA Program Manager Lily Kharrazi, who's organizing the concert. "And sometimes that happens in song, and sometimes that happens with the food we eat. Even if you don’t understand what they are saying, the depth of feeling and the intention and intensity of this music really carries through."

The performance is at The Bayview Opera House in San Francisco on Sunday, April 29. Details here.