Agustin Lira and Alma to speak, perform Chicano songs at URI

Posted on
KINGSTON, R.I. — October 2, 2006 — Celebrated activist and musician Agustin Lira and the all-acoustic ensemble Alma will speak and perform at the University of Rhode Island on Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 7:30 p.m. in Edwards Auditorium.

Their presentation, Chicano Songs: From United Farm Workers to Contemporary Immigration Issues, is part of a semester-long series of the URI Honors Colloquium, Songs of Social Justice: The Rhetoric of Music. The series explores the use of music as a means of expression, persuasion, and mobilization. All events are free and open to the public.

Lira brings a rich firsthand historical perspective to his music, having worked with Cesar Chavez in the California nonviolence movements, in the grape workers strikes, and on behalf of improving the conditions of migrant farm workers. Lira was instrumental in co-founding the Teatro Campesino, a people’s theatre troupe that performed in the fields and streets to portray the difficult conditions migrant farm workers faced. Lira leads the acoustic trio Alma in performing mostly original music that brings to life the Chicano/ Latino experiences and the struggles of farm workers and immigrant laborers then and now.

With songs that combine the cultures of many Latin American countries Alma creates a mixture of Latino rhythms, powerful lyrics, and haunting images, that music transcends borders and speaks powerful messages of universal truth for human rights. Based in California, the group, including Lira, Patricia Wells, and Ravi Knypstra, has performed throughout the country since forming in the 1980s.

Visit for the colloquium schedule and directions. For more information, contact the URI Honors Center at 401-874-2303 or

Major sponsors for the series are The Providence Journal, the URI Division of University Advancement, the URI Honors Program, the URI Office of the President and the URI Office of the Provost.

Pictured above

Patricia Wells Solorzano, Agustin Lira and Ravi Knypstra