(Graphic Design by Vick Quezada/Photos by Julian Parker-Burns)
Quiero Volver: A Xicanx Ritual Opera is a multimedia performance to honor women, and non-binary, and genderqueer people of color. This performance features original music, poetry, scripts, and documentary video by Diana Alvarez.
Rituals and recitations by a small performance ensemble interweave Alvarez’ original songs with her video documentary portraits of women, non-binary, and genderqueer artists of color. These portraits are part of Alvarez’ PhD dissertation, Bridge Artistx Innovate: Gatherings of Women, and Non-Binary and Genderqueer Artists of Color.
Xicanx curanderismo, Deep Listening Practice (as taught by Pauline Oliveros), and themes of death, motherlessness, political consciousness, and building community/family underpin the rituals embarked on within this piece.
Quiero Volver has been staged at Holyoke Community College (MA), The Academy of Music Theatre (MA), and CollarWorks Gallery (NY). The performance has been described by the press as a "visually and acoustically stunning performance" that honors women, non-binary, and genderqueer artists of color. In 2018, Quiero Volver raised over $10,000 to support immigrant justice.
If you or your institution are interested in hosting a performance of Quiero Volver, contact Diana@Diana-Alvarez.com.
Previously Featured Performers/Artists
Diana Alvarezis the composer, poet, scriptwriter, and documentary videomaker behind Quiero Volver. She will perform as lead vocalist, guitarist, and narrator for the performance.
Diana's poetry chapbook, Consultations with Bruja Juana, was published by Toadlily Press (2009), and two of Diana’s poems appeared in The Best of Toadlily Press (2011).
Born in Corpus Christi, Texas, Diana began performing as a bilingual vocalist with a professional hotel and resort lounge band at an early age with the late Linda Flores, who was Diana’s music mentor for over two decades. With Flores, Diana worked as a studio vocalist and performed in a range of music genres, including traditional Mexican standards, jazz/Latin jazz standards, salsa, merengue, country, and pop. In 2000, Diana released a country music single, “Get Into the Pain,” produced by Linda Flores.
Diana is a first-generation-to-college student who earned her BA from Marist College and her MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. After completing her MFA, Diana worked as a higher education professional for six years as the Coordinator of Diversity Outreach/Multicultural Recruitment for both Hampshire College and Mount Holyoke College, where she recruited and created support mechanisms for students of color and international students at both institutions. Diana continues this educational focus on marginalized communities as a College Humanities instructor with Upward Bound Summer Academy/Greenfield Community College and through her doctoral research.
Currently, is a PhD candidate in Electronic Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and her dissertation, Bridge Artistx: Women, Non-binary, and Genderqueer Artists of Color at the Forefront of Innovative Arts Practice, archives the work of artists Sharon Bridgforth, Magdalena Gomez, Vick Quezada, and Nicole Young through documentary video portraiture. Portraits of these artists, along with original music, poetry, and scripts by Diana will feature into her upcoming multimedia performance, Quiero Volver: A Xicanx Ritual Opera (Holyoke Community College, October 20, 2017).
Senem Pirler is an intermedia-sound artist whose work entails sound engineering & production, sound design, as well as audiovisual performance. Born in Turkey, she studied classical piano at Hacettepe State Conservatory and sound engineering & design at Istanbul Technical University (MIAM). She developed her artistry over ten years working as a composer, performer, and recording engineer in Turkey before moving to the U.S. in 2010 to study Music Technology at NYU with a Fulbright Fellowship. Her areas of interest include: music production, sound design for film, dance & multimedia environments, 3D audio, and video art. Her most recent work focuses on sonically “drawing” motion, storytelling and space, using spatialization techniques. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Electronic Arts department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and cherishing the interdisciplinary nature of her work and her environment.
Senem is the sound designer for Quiero Volver.
Vick Quezada was born on the U.S. Mexico border in El Paso, Texas which has viscerally informed their awareness in the ways social formations impact marginalized people and communities. Through multidisciplinary practices including video, sculpture and photography Vick’s work investigates the effects of western imperialism through the ruptures and residual effects that occur as a result of colonization.
Vick is the graphic designer for Quiero Volver.
Camila, artistically known as La Malcriada, is an award-winning activist & artist whose work has been recruited internationally and has earned accolades from the Human Rights Commission, The Sojourner Truth Committee, and more. In addition to participating in Diana Alvarez' project Quiero Volver, Camila directs a multimedia project that merges Latin jazz, hip hop, body percussion & animation as an artistic dissertation on Latin America and the women who nurture it.
Camila will perform as "Altar Builder" in the Quiero Volver performance ensemble.
María José Giménez is a Venezuelan-Canadian poet and translator. Assistant Translation Editor for Anomaly (fka Drunken Boat), María José is recipient of the 2016 Gabo Prize for Translation and fellowships from the NEA, The Banff International Literary Translation Centre, and the Katherine Bakeless Nason Endowment. Published translations include Edurne Pasaban’s memoir Tilting at Mountains, a forthcoming novel by Alejandro Saravia, Red, Yellow, Green, and a chapbook of poems by Mara Pastor, As Though The Wound Had Heard. María José is co-founder of Mass Collaborative (dba Easthampton Co.Lab) and serves on the board of directors of the Northampton Survival Center and the American Literary Translators’ Organization.
María José will perform as "Agua Fuerte" in the Quiero Volver performance ensemble.
Michelle Marie Falcón is the stage manager and video technician for Quiero Volver.
Pamela Means, singer-songwriter and jazz musician, with "mad guitar-and-vocal skills" (Time Out New York) has toured throughout the US, Canada, Europe and Australia, selling tens of thousands of her seven independent releases along the way. Currently, Means is booking PLAINFIELD cd release shows!
A multi-talented performer, singer, songwriter, composer and producer, Pamela Means's multiple honors include being named Falcon Ridge Folk Festival's "# 1 Most Wanted New Artist," "Wisconsin Folk Artist of the Year," "Wisconsin Female Vocalist of the Year," and her politically provocative album, Single Bullet Theory, was voted 2004's "Outmusic Outstanding New Recording." Pamela Means was twice voted "Best Acoustic Act" of the year in her hometown of Milwaukee, WI; and after setting up shop in the bustling 'burbs of Boston, Mass., Pamela was nominated for an "Outstanding Contemporary Folk Artist" Boston Music Award. Means's latest album, Precedent, elegantly addresses a range of themes from the state of the union to the state of the heart. Curve Magazine calls her "one of the fiercest guitar players and politically-rooted singer-songwriters in the music industry today."
Consistently honing her craft, Pamela Means garnered acclaim with her seminal jazz recording, the "insanely brilliant" (Press Herald, Portland ME), Pamela Means Jazz Project, Vol. 1, in which, "Means takes her rightful place among contemporary superstar jazz vocalists such as Cassandra Wilson and Norah Jones" (Curve Magazine). Pamela Means Jazz Project, Vol. 1 was also named a "Top Ten Album of 2007" (Muruch Entertainment Blog).
From recording her first tape in the living room of Violent Femmes bassist Brian Ritchie, Pamela Means has gone on to share stages with artists including Ani DiFranco, Pete Seeger, Indigo Girls, Joan Baez, Howard Zinn, Angela Davis, Eve Ensler, David Strathairn, Neil Young, Shawn Colvin, Richie Havens, Patty Larkin, Melissa Ferrick, Violent Femmes, Television, The Radiators, Adrian Belew, Leo Kottke and Janis Ian. Pamela Means has performed at notable venues such as the Newport, Falcon Ridge and Clearwater Folk Festival(s), SXSW Music Conference and, internationally, at the eminent Woodford Folk Festival (Australia), Stockholm Pride (Sweden) and Jazz Cafe Alto (The Netherlands). Pamela Means has also composed for and licensed music to PBS, independent filmmakers and folkpoet Alix Olson's multi-award-winning film and CD projects.
With virtuosic musicianship, razor wit and a disarming sense of humor, Pamela Means is building a vibrant and remarkable career, delighting audiences from Anchorage to Amsterdam to Sydney to Stockholm to Honolulu and New York. Thrilled audience members often exclaim they've 'never seen anyone play guitar like Pamela Means!' Plus, Ani DiFranco said to Pamela Means, "you groove so deep, so deep I can't get out. And I wouldn't want to." We guarantee you won't want to either.
Pamela will play lead guitar in Quiero Volver.
Leykia J. Nulan currently serves as the Assistant Provost for Diversity in Enrollment Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In this role, Nulan develops and implements the university’s strategic efforts to make the undergraduate student body more diverse. This includes training admissions staff on best practices relating to diversity recruitment and enrollment, and fostering relationships with statewide and district-level leaders in education to provide college access opportunities to their students. Nulan is a Posse Scholar who earned her B.A. at Wheaton College (MA) and her Ms.Ed. in higher education policy at the University of Pennsylvania.
Kia will perform as "La Flor Divina" in the Quiero Volver performance ensemble.
Priscilla Page is a writer and dramaturg as well as a member of the dramaturgy faculty in the Department of Theater at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she also serves as the coordinator for the Multicultural Theater Certificate. Her research agenda includes Latina/o/x Theater and Contemporary Native American Performance. She is currently working on Latina/o/x theater history in Chicago. She is a member of the Latino Theater Commons and Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of America (LMDA). Professor Page worked as the program curator for New WORLD Theater, a professional, non-profit multicultural theater in residence at UMass Amherst, for five years. Her producing/ dramaturgy credits include Collidescope 2.0: Adventures in Pre and Post Racial America, co-written and co-directed by Talvin Wilks and Ping Chong; My Bronx, written and performed by Terry Jenoure; sash & trim, written and performed by Djola Branner and directed by Laurie Carlos; Crossing the Waters, Changing the Air, written and directed by Ingrid Askew; and Lydia on the Top Floor, also written and performed by Terry Jenoure, directed by Linda McInerney. She has also worked closely with playwright Migdalia Cruz and her essay “My World Made Real” is published in Cruz’s anthology El Grito Del Bronx, No PassPort Press, 2010. She is a contributing editor for Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light by Joy Harjo, forthcoming publication by Wesleyan Press. (Photo by John Solem)
Priscilla will perform as "La Llorona" in the Quiero Volver performance ensemble.
Nathalie Vicencio is a civil rights activist working with fair housing organizations to protect the livelihoods of Massachusetts’ most vulnerable people. But Nathalie is more than a fearless protector; following in the footsteps of her father, world musician Mauricio Vicencio, Nathalie has become a consciousness awakener and arts advocate, connecting with her ancestral Andean roots through music, plant medicine, and earth wisdom. She is the proud mother of 3 little ones and would like to express her endless gratitude to her life partner and father of her children, Ruben, who makes it possible for her to work outside of their home and to share her art with the world.
Nathalie will be performing as "La Curandera" in the Quiero Volver performance ensemble.
Holyoke Community College Theater professor Patricia Sandoval is the Artistic Director for Quiero Volver.