Los Arribenos with dancers
Saturday, June 8, 2013, 4:05-4:45pm
Faith Petric Stage - Auditorium

Los Arribenos is a performing unit of the California Fandango Project (CFP), founded by Lance Beeson in 2011. For years, Lance was musical director of the Calicanto Singers and the current band includes three members of that group.

The purpose of the CFP is to present the musical and dancing heritage of California, mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries, by performing the authentic material of the day in historically correct clothing. Narrative, dramatization, singing and dance instruction are included. The goal is to bring that old music to life in the ears, heads and hearts of Californians, so they may better understand the unique cultural heritage of California.

The CPF currently includes two performing units, Los Arribenos de San Francisco and the New California Minstrels. The former presents music of the Spanish Colonial, Mission and Mexican Rancho era of California and the Borderlands of the Hispanic frontier of the Southwest. The latter presents music of the California Gold Rush, including many immigrant groups who came here as well as the native people and the Hispanic colonists.

The California Fandango Project is intertwined with various cultural and artistic organizations, united in common purpose of exploring, interpreting and presenting California history. CFP regularly works with the Alta California Dance Company, and has given presentations and concerts with History San Jose, the National Park Service, the Presidio Trust, Los Californianos (a descendant organization), Society for California Pioneers, and others.

[The organization comes as a natural outgrowth of interest by Lance Beeson, a descendant of 24 early Hispanic colonists who explored and settled California between the years of 1769 to 1781, including a solider on the Portola expedition, three descendants who came to Monterey in 1774 and 18 ancestors who came with Anza Colonizing Expedition of 1775-76. His family surnames are familiar to those who know California history: Moraga, Bernal, Berryessa, Castro, Peralta, Pacheco, del Valle, Soto, Sibrian, Espinoza, Mesa, Valenzuela, Borboa. His seventh great-grandfather, Joseph Joaquin Moraga, supervised the founding of the SF Presidio, Mission Dolores, Mission Santa Clara and the Pueblo of San Jose. His son Gabriel, also one of Lance's ancestors, explored the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valley (giving many place names in use today, such as Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Calaveras, Merced, Mariposa, de los Reyes/Kings), supervised the founding of Mission San Rafael and served in various command posts, including commandant at Presidio de Santa Barbara, alcalde of Pueblo San Jose, and was in command of the colony of Branciforte.]

Beeson has a Bachelor of Music degree from SF State University and spent years performing as a solo classical guitarist and in a guitar and flute duo. He began performing with the Calicanto Singers about 15 years ago and is a featured singer and instrumentalist on Calicanto CDs "They Came Singing" and "Days of Gold." He is a composer, arranger and interpreter of classical, Brazilian, Latin American and Celtic music. He plays guitar, banjo guitar, harmonica, tinwhistle, Indian cedar flute, psaltery, melodeon, tenor banjo and sings. Beeson also has published and co-published papers for the California Mission Studies Association and written music and book reviews for Noticias, the publication of Los Californianos.

In accordance with the full history of California, Beeson also studies and performs music of various native people of California and the Borderlands, relying on oral tradition, musicological research and native artists for material.

The musical group is made up of Beeson, Marilyn Merlino (singer, guitar, bass and percussion), James Letchworth (mandolin, dance caller), Ron Cohen (trumpet, recorder, cornet), Rose Berryessa (vocals, percussion), Anna Boersma (vocals, percussion), Becky Gambatese (vocals, guitar) and fiddlers Paolo Martin and Ron Esparza. The group members span interest of classical, folk and popular music in various other music groups and activities.

The presentation for the SFFF will include Hispanic era songs, a dance or two and a few Gold Rush-era songs to give a sampling of their large repertoire.

Following the SFFFF appearance, they will perform at the Presidio Pasadas annual event on June 28. Their website is under construction but will eventually be at www.californiafandangoproject.com.