Teatro de la Tierra is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit arts organization dedicated to the preservation and advancement of art and culture. We offer Generaciones Project – Ukulele & Guitar Instruction, Teatro Inmigrante chicano theater and we house musical group ALMA – Agustín Lira, Patricia Wells and Ravi Knyp
Teatro Inmigrante, (Immigrant Theater), composed mostly of women, was formed in 2001 by Lira and Wells in response to the immigrant bashing which had begun in such dead earnest nationwide. Inmigrante dramatizes the life and death issues confronting undocumented immigrants through its original plays, highlighting the contributions and accomplishments of Latino women demonstrating that immigrant energy builds and nourishes this nation.…
Musical group Alma was formed in 1979 by Lira and Wells to bring to life the Chicano-Latino experience through musical performances. Alma features original compositions by Lira and is known for its mesmerizing duets, inspirational lead guitar playing by Wells, and incomparable, rhythmic bass by Ravi Knypstra. Alma blends Mexican, Latin American, American Folk and Afro-Cuban styles creating a hybrid: Chicano music.
César Chávez was at the front lines of the March to Sacramento in 1966, calling for higher wages for grape pickers in Delano, but he had a legion of support. Among them was Agustín Lira, the musical heart of the United Farm Workers. Here, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings artist Lira describes his first glimpse of the UFW leader and Chávez’s request to write a song for the march: “La peregrinación“ (“The Pilgrimage“). Lira would sing his new song to 10,000 people from the steps of the California State Capitol.
Posted by Smithsonian Folklife on Friday, March 29, 2019
In the springtime of 2010, Teatro de la Tierra presented “Regeneración, Ricardo Flores Magón and the Mexican Revolution of 1910” a show made up of songs, musical interludes, vignettes, and narrative, written and directed by Agustin Lira and Patricia Wells Solórzano. Lira, Wells, and Merlinda Espinosa played and sang throughout the show, bringing to life the history and passion of the revolution through corridos, ballads, and huapangos, as well as Nuevo canto songs about the struggle for freedom. The show was very well received and with each performance, more children and their parents approached the directors to ask for music lessons. Weeks after the last show we were still receiving phone calls asking for guitar and singing lessons.
Agustín Lira & Patricia Wells teach community youth; Advanced and intermediate level youngsters between the ages of 11 and 14, in the city of Fresno. From corridos to Nuevo Canto to Woodie Guthrie, we like ’em all! A project of Teatro de la Tierra, thank you Local Impact program of the California Arts Council, and the Alliance for California Traditional Arts ACTA, the Centro Bi-nacional para el Desarrollo Oaxaqueño CBDIO, and the Alfonso Hernandez Youth Center.
The Valley State Prison Arts in Corrections pilot project ended with student performance of drama and music. We found an abundance of talent in both the drama and guitar classes. Footage will be available at actaonline.org. We were invited back to teach for a second session and have begun classes at VSP again. Our new students are eager to learn and are off to a great start. This project is made possible through a collaboration between the Arts in Corrections program, the William James Association, the Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA), and the Fresno Arts Council. We’re pleased to be able to continue working with this group of students.
Artists/instructors Agustin Lira and Patricia Wells from Teatro de la Tierra worked with the following students to help them present their poetry through dramatizations: Troy N, Anthony M, Mike T, Jackie H, Robert H, Tony S, Luis V.
Please watch the following video: