By Bernardo Pegas
SAN ANTONIO—The Music of Many Colors event—featuring Indian slide guitar maestro Debashish Bhattacharya—was just one of many events occurring on campus that will have an international flavor. Accompanied by three of his peers, Bhattacharya performed last week with each of his self-invented Trinity of Guitars.
The artists played pieces of Indian classical music, which were carefully crafted by Bhattacharya. “The spirit behind my work is…based on the best of past traditions and rich cultural heritage, [presented] in a fashion that is understood by today’s generation,” Bhattacharya explained.
The event was sponsored by the Center for Mexican American Studies and Research (CMASR) in addition to Global Strategic Initiatives. Dr. Ezequiel Peña, who is involved with both programs, asserted that the university is working to be more welcoming to international students and provide more international perspective. “We are a Hispanic-serving institution with a lot of bilingualism and we want to use that as a doorway to greater internationalization of our campus,” Peña asserted.
Professor Yvette Benavides, the Assistant Director of the CMASR, had been longing to house an event like Music of Many Colors. Bringing Bhattacharya to OLLU for a performance happened in a providential way. “I was having a conversation with Dr. Peña about how [to] internationalize our programs [when] a former colleague called me saying they were looking for a venue for [Bhattacharya]…,” said Benavides.
The CMASR is looking to share cultures with students who do not have a similar background. In Benavides’ words “There is such a great, big, beautiful world out there and I feel very excited about having a hand in saying ‘We need to open our doors, broaden our horizons, and get to know each other a little bit better.’”