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Intergenerational cultural movement comes to Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Dancers perform in front of an audience at a Cumbiaton event.
(Courtesy of Paolo J. Riveros / Julio Salgado)

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Segerstrom Center for the Arts is hosting Cumbiaton on Sept. 17 for the group’s first Orange County event.

Founded by Dj Sizzle Fantastic and Normz la Oaxaqueña, Cumbiaton is an intergenerational cultural movement that “utilizes music and art to heal and uplift oppressed hood communities.” The duo started the movement in Boyle Heights with an event in 2017. But since then, the Cumbiaton vibes have grown and reached as far as San Francisco, Seattle and New York.

Sizzle Fantastic, also known as Zacil Pech, was born in Costa de Guerre and raised in Boyle Heights. She serves as director and resident DJ of Cumbiaton.

Normz La Oaxaqueña, or Normz Fajardo, is an Oaxaqueña raised in south central Los Angeles and the production manager of Cumbiaton.

The Cumbiaton team with Dj Sizzle, from left, Normz la Oaxaqueña, DJ Funky Caramelo, Paulo Riveros and Julio Salgado.
(Courtesy of Yaquelin Hernandez)

The two friends have backgrounds in social justice organizing and together host parties that center around “womxn, trans and queer people of color” both on the dance floor and in the Dj booth. Their goal is for Cumbiaton to be a safe space where everyone and anyone has the right to dance and take up space.

Cumbiaton takes its name from a music style known for combining Reggaetón with Cumbia to form a new sound. According to the group’s website, the music has created multigenerational connections as people of all ages, colors, genders and identities gather at Cumbiaton celebrations.

During the pandemic, Cumbiaton put in-person events on hold. However the group still found ways to keep its movement going with projects like “OVERSHARING with Normz,” in which Fajardo hosted live Instagram episodes where she conducted interviews with independent music artists and creatives who worked with Cumbiaton.

Friday’s event, taking place in the Julianne and George Argyros Plaza, will feature DJ sets, food trucks and a caricature artist. Tickets are $10 and available at scfta.org.

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