In the Sounds of California Bayview concert on April 29, 2018, our musical artists pondered displacement, migration, and creating a new sense of home.

The musicians hail from the Bay Area’s African-American, Vietnamese, Kurdish, and Chicano communities. The concert took places in the heart of the Bayview-Hunter’s Point neighborhood of San Francisco, once the pristine coastal fishing grounds of the First Peoples: the Muwekma Ohlone tribe. Today, the Bayview is at the nexus of gentrification, with demands for new housing and development due to the Bay Area’s booming tech economy. Transformation is the heart and soul of this neighborhood.

The history of the Bayview-Hunter’s Point neighborhood embodies the very questions we ask ourselves in the Sounds of California program: What does home mean when your lineage is disrupted by migration, war, coercion, economics, or personal choice? What makes us belong to a place? What is the sonic footprint we carry in our hearts and minds to give us a sense of home? For all of the musical artists in this program, there is a long line of memory extending perhaps generations.

Singers and musicians from the Omnira Institute's Awon Omnira Choir create connections between the African-American experience and African spirituality through their sacred drumming and chants. Photo by Sonia Narang/ACTA.

Sounds of California: Bayview Media Collection forthcoming

ACTA trained local residents to work as a community documentation team collecting stories and sounds in Boyle Heights and nearby neighborhoods. 
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The Sounds of California: Bayview program was produced in partnership with: Bayview Opera House, Radio Bilingüe, Smithsonian Center for Folklife & Cultural Heritage.

The Sounds of California: Bayview program was made possible with support from the James Irvine Foundation and the San Francisco Arts Commission.