The Panamanian group partnered with TU to bring a new cultural experience to students.
As part of the 2019 Spring Fest, TU will host Panamanian drum group Luna Llena de Tambores for an interactive performance. Luna Llena has maintained ties to TU, participating in the Jumpstart TU and Global Scholars program over the past two years. Through these close connections, students are able to engage in and learn about Panamanian culture in a unique and exciting way.
Luna Llena de Tambores was founded by Alfredo Hidrovo, a Panamanian artist whose goal is to bring people together for a collective musical experience. His demonstrations allow performers and the audience alike to make music, bringing drums and sticks for people to participate with. Hidrovo encourages the public to welcome the inspiration of music and to allow themselves to dance and feel the rhythm. Luna Llena performances aim to bring people from assorted backgrounds together and promote inclusivity.
Students who participated in Jumpstart TU were exposed to Luna Llena on their summer trips to Panama. Here, students could participate in this unique experience. Russian studies and English double major Stasha Cole participated in one of Luna Llena’s performances during her Jumpstart trip in the summer of 2018. She described how “we all sat down and were given drums and just started following their instructions.” As she continued to drum, “[she] felt really connected to these two men that [she] didn’t even know, just through the music.”
Luna Llena was first introduced to TU during the summer of 2017 when Jumpstarters attended a performance, but this partnership has grown over the past two years. On last summer’s trip, the Jumpstart itinerary included several days of shadowing the drum corps. Students travelled with Hidrovo and his group to perform for gang members, elderly Panamanians and children to bring this unique experience to a diverse audience.
The Global Scholars Program also brings students to Panama for the spring extension class. During this time, students from each cohort split into groups to focus on specific Panamanian businesses; one of these groups is devoted to Luna Llena. Each group pitches ideas to improve or expand the business they are assigned. The current Luna Llena group is aiming to bring the drummers closer to the Tulsa community and potentially create a model for an arts community center that could be built in Panama and recreated in other areas.
This year’s Spring Fest will further develop the relationship between Luna Llena and TU. Global Scholars helped plan their visit as a way for the drummers to network on campus and across the city. Luna Llena will bring drums and sticks to TU, allowing students to join in the experience. Throughout the rest of the week, Hidrovo and his group will visit locations like Guthrie Green, The Gathering Place and art galleries around Tulsa to find potential future partners. This will especially focus on ways that Luna Llena can connect to Tulsa’s Hispanic community.
During their time in Tulsa, Luna Llena plans to organize several other events that bring TU students and Tulsans together. They plan to organize a drumstick decorating competition open to the public. Anyone wanting to participate will be able to pick up sticks on campus that they can decorate and submit to the competition. Luna Llena will also partner with the Kendall Whittier drum corps kids in another performance.
Partnerships with groups from across the world like Luna Llena benefit both the students and businesses. This relationship not only helps Luna Llena improve and expand their businesses to the United States, but it also enables students to develop skills in cross-cultural thinking. TU emphasizes the importance of this through the Center for Global Education with study abroad opportunities and language requirements. However, direct engagement with people from across the world allows students see firsthand the importance of global connectivity.