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Kenekelba House Located in the Lower East Side on 214 East Second Street is the Kenkeleba House. originally a collective of artists and educators established in 1974, the purpose of Kenkeleba House was to help promote cultural awareness in the community and to engage it wthrough exchange programs with other communities through educational opportunities. In 1980, along with other community groups, it joined the Seven Loaves Coalition which became the Lower East Side Arts Network. Today it is an organization that preserves the development of arts and culture within minority groups that are not represented in the mainstream American culture. While the organization deals specifically with the arts and culture of the African American community it is not limited to just that. The organization has been known to present and encourage the arts of the Latino/a community as well. This venue gave the Latino community in the Lower East Side extra opportunities to perform and present the rich art and culture that began to flourish in the neighborhood. In addition to this many Latino organizations were spawned from the experiences had The Kenkeleba House such as El Puerto Rican Embassy. The founders of the Kenkeleba House, Joe Overstreet and Corinne Jennings, named the organization after the Kenkeleba plant that is grown in Senegal, Africa. The plant is said to have healing and nutritional values that the two believe the performing arts have as well.

Conjunto Saoco was a band that was originated in Loisaida. All of the band members were natives to the neighborhood and provided music that spoke to the changing community while it still held on to its native roots by embracing traditional Latino styles of music. Founded in 1974 the band was actually spawned from a previous group named La Vida. The lead singer of La Vida, Ray Ramos wanted to pursue a solo career so La Vida went on a small hiatus and regrouped under the name Conjunto Saoco with Henry Fiol as the lead singer. The band consisted of Ray Santiago on piano ,Samuel Chévere on hand percussion , Reynaldo Alcántara , Pete Gómez on hand percussion , José Luis Ayala on vocals , Ken Fradley on trumpet Gus Onna on trumpet and Mike Molero on trumpet. All of the band members were Loisaida natives except for Ken Fradley who was from Rhode Island Founding member William Milian infused the sound of the band with current styles of music while Henry Fiol incorporated traditional son montuno into the bands sound. During the band’s eight years together (1974-1982) they were able to put out 5 LP’s and perform in numerous venues including Madison Square Garden as well as traveling across central America and the Caribbean.

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