Pablo Batista will premiere his epic El Viaje at the Temple Performing Arts Center

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Pablo Batista | Photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN | hellerhound.com
Pablo Batista | Photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN | hellerhound.com

Master percussionist Pablo Batista might be based in Philadelphia, but he is a world-class musician who has toured with Grover Washington, Jr, Alicia Keys and Gladys Knight. His latest project, El Viaje (The Journey), is a direct result of his international and personal experiences, combining the musical traditions of Afro-Caribbean and European cultures in an operatic narrative. He’ll bring the production, which was co-created by Dennis Guevara and Victor Pablo, to the Temple Performing Arts Center on June 25th and June 26th.

Supported by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, El Viaje is an eight-part story of “forced emigration from Africa to the Americas, and how spiritual and cultural resilience ultimately enabled slaves to adapt and re-establish themselves with dignity in diaspora.” Almost two dozen musicians and dancers are involved in the show. From Batista:

“This is an epic story that could really be applicable to almost everyone. You can apply it to the exodus of the Jews out of Egypt. You can apply it to the slaves from Africa who were brought to the Americas, or the waves of Irish, Italian, Latino and other immigrant and refugee groups who migrated under difficult circumstances then, and even now. But you can also understand it from a personal perspective — as one who’s on a constant journey and struggle through life.”

Batista gave a preview performance of El Viaje at the Barnes Foundation recently, an excerpt of which you can watch below. Tickets and information for the June presentations can be found here. Read Batista’s recent High Key Portait Series feature here.

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