Dancing with the Devils: An Interview with Grupo Nuu Yuku

Throughout the Folklife Festival, the sounds of upbeat banda music and the cracks of whips wafted through the air. Men and boys dressed in elegant clothing and fearsome masks paraded around the National Mall, inviting visitors and other participants to join in their festivities.

Grupo Nuu Yuku is a dance group that hails from Fresno, California. They were accompanied by their friends and neighbors in Banda Brillo de San Miguel Cuevas. These artists represent the Mixteco community, whose families come from the Mixteca Baja in northern Oaxaca, Mexico. Their dedication to preserving tradition and bringing elements of their culture to communities in California fuels their passion for sharing this dance and creating a deep awareness of the ethnic diversity that exists in America.

Music: Banda Brillo de San Miguel Cuevas
Videography: W.N. McNair, Anne Saul, Andrea Curran, Albert Tong, Ryan Shank, Alexis Ligon, Lillian Schneyer, Michelle Mehrtens
Photography: Walter Larrimore, Bob Friedman, Pruitt Allen
Additional commentary: Amy Kitchener
Translation: Claudia Romano
Editing: Alexis Ligon

Alexis Ligon is a video production intern at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. She is a student at Amherst College majoring in anthropology, music, and ethnographic film.

The 2016 Sounds of California Smithsonian Folklife Festival program was co-produced with the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, Radio Biling├╝e, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, and the Smithsonian Latino Center.