Photo by Pat Jarrett/The Virginia Folklife Program
Published November 5, 2015
The 2015 Richmond Folk Festival was nothing short of glorious: great weather, enthusiastic crowds, and excellent music, food, and crafts. A highlight of the festival was the parade of Bolivian dance troupes. Organized by Nelly Zapata, president of Comite Pro Bolivia, and the Virginia Folklife Program, hundreds of beautifully costumed Bolivians paraded through the festival’s main artery. Northern Virginia is home to the largest population of Bolivians outside of Bolivia, and hundreds of them dazzled festival crowds with their spectacular costumes and athletic dance moves:
The parade featured members of six different Bolivian dance groups: Fraternidad Cultural Pachama, Fundacion Socio Cultural Boliviana, Morenanda, Fraternidad Alma Boliviana, Centro Cultural Bolivia, and Fraternidad Folklorica Cultural Caporales Universitarios San Simon Filial VA.
We recently caught up with Virginia Folklife artists Susan Gaeta and Gina Sobel over Zoom to talk about life as musicians during COVID-19, how they discovered Sephardic music (a diverse genre of Jewish folk music), and their mentor Flory Jagoda, who celebrates her 97th birthday later this month.