Wild Womyn Writers Tour Offers a Night of Empowerment

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Lanie Anderson / Pilar Davila
Whylin' Womyn Writers! García (Left) Saucedo (Right)
Longtime Santa Ana resident Sarah Rafael García, now based in Austin, will be returning home on Friday as part of the Wild Womyn Writers Tour. The author and activist charted her life growing up in the Orange County city with the publication her notable memoir Las Niñas: A Collection of Childhood Memories in 2008. Two years later, García first initiated a series of regular workshops under the banner of Wild Womyn Writers aimed at exploring creativity through the power of word as an feminist emancipatory exercise. In bringing back the concept, she has added to its dimensions this time around with the help of musician friend Joanna Saucedo.

"It's definitely an expansion," García, who also founded the much heralded Barrio Writers youth program, relays to me by phone before heading out to catch a flight to Southern California. "The first workshops were trial and error and based on writing, spoken word, and presentation. The inclusion of music and body movement makes it different than last year." The idea to marry the two creative forms of expressions together was pure happenstance. "Ironically enough, I was presenting at Resistencia Books in Austin," she recounts. "As I sat down finishing up writing my piece "I Struggle" I heard the music of Son Armado in the background as they played." The moment struck a chord.

Saucedo is a member of the son jarocho group and was looking for ways to diversify her musical expression. When García approached her friend about Wild Womyn Writers and touring, she was all for it, but first they had to test out their creative experiment. "It's been an evolving process," García notes. "She's paid attention to my words and their sentiment and used her knowledge of music to improvise." The duo's rendering of "I Struggle" illustrates the dynamic between the prowess of García's written piece and the musicality of Saucedo as she sings choruses while strumming the jarana. Both are compelling as individual elements but take on a new persona when meshed together.

In the end, undertaking of risks is everything that Wild Womyn Writers stands for. García, a self-described musical novice, is learning to keep a beat on the cajón freeing up Saucedo to perform a body movement based solo performance. The son jarocho musician also morphs banjo influences into the jarana in an Americana influenced piece. The women will be presenting their craft at the end of Friday's event at Cafe Calacas. Before that, a closed session for registrants in will explore creative dimensions of word, music, and movement in a workshop setting in the event's first hour. Afterwards, an open mic will give participants and the public an opportunity to express themselves.

"Often, a lot of us allow our insecurities and society's labels to restrict us from being who we want to be," García explains. "In my own personal experience, writing has set me free!"

The Wild Womyn Writers Texicali Tour stops by SanTana's Cafe Calacas, 324 W. Fourth St., Ste. A Santa Ana, CA 92701, Fri. 7-9 p.m. FREE! To register for the workshop email sarah@sarahrafaelgarcia.com for limited space left!

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