Revealing Indigenous heritage through storytelling

The Colorado Folk Arts Council and Metropolitan State College of Denver (MSCD) Department of Chicana/o Studies Journey Through Our Heritage Program will host a special tribute to National Poetry Month with a free concert at the Aurora Fox (9900 E. Colfax ), April 25, noon-1pm with, with special guest Michael Heralda, a Los Angeles based nationally renowned musician and storyteller.
Heralda will tour Colorado the week of April 25-28 with his award winning Aztec Stories presentation. This week long tour also includes free concerts open to the public in the following locations: April 26, Heralda will present workshops in the Roger Braun Lounge, Tivoli Center on Auraria Campus (open to the public, 8am-9:30am, 11am-2pm, and 3:15pm). He will utilize song, music and story to demonstrate how a working knowledge of poetry and spoken word can enhance community and student relationship both in and out of the classroom.
April 27, 5:30pm, enjoy a spectacular evening event will include MSCD Café Cultura at St. Cajetan’s on Auraria Campus, featuring an open mic poetry slam in honor of the late poet Mauricio Saravia, who died of a rare disease at the age of 39 after establishing an art school for inner city children in the Denver area. Poets from the Café Cultura co-op along with Heralda, students and community musicians will be celebrating poetry. Pizza, beverages and dessert will be served. All poets and “hope to be poets” welcome to read!
April 28, 9am, Heralda will present on behalf of MSCD at the Denver Women’s Press Club (13th Ave and Logan), Writing from Your Roots; at Noon, he will present at the Boulder Public Library; and at 5pm he will host a closing event to pay tribute to MSCD Chicana/o Studies with a Grand Fiesta at the Chicano Arts and Humanities Gallery, 7th Ave and Santa Fe.
Heralda who has presented for such prestigious institutes as the Smithsonian Institute in New York and the Heard Museum in Phoenix brings his award winning show case of Mexica (Aztec) based music and culture to Colorado audiences as an educational outreach opportunity of goodwill.
“I am a songwriter, touring artist, storyteller and poet. As an independent artist I have produced all my CDs under my own label since 1996. I have shared my Aztec Stories presentations with interested listeners and participants of all ages across the United States. I always love touring Colorado. ” Said Heralda.
This year his show is healthy and hot -- the Seven Warrior Foods (of the Mexica People) is what many call a cultural granola bar with chili pepper.
“Thousands of years ago the most nutritious and beneficial foods were within reach of the natives on this planet. They learned the science and chemistry of these foods and how they interact with the human body. They understood plants. This ancient knowledge has always been available to those who seek it,” explained Heralda.
The Seven Warrior Foods program is an engaging, enlightening, and interactive presentation that re-introduces these seven highly nutritious foods through the use of oral tradition stories and narratives. Information as well as nutritional benefits of each of the foods will be shared. Other native foods and important plants to the Mexica people will also be mentioned but the focus will be on the 7 warrior foods.
His inspiration for his inter active show began nearly 20 years ago when he found the book Aztec by Gary Jennings at a yard sale.
“That book not only changed me, but also changed the way I identified myself. The book was a fictional account of the Aztecs. But, it peaked my interest enough to start reading books I thought were more authentic with regards to an accurate account of the Mexica/Aztec people and their culture. Reading every book I could get my hands on revealed some very important realities,” added Heralda.
He realized that there were many misconceptions about the Indigenous people who populated this continent. He also realized that that the Indigenous perspective of Mexica people were rarely presented in the United States.
“I belonged to this Indigenous group. Being Mexican American, I was connected to them [Aztecs] in a very real way and I was never aware of my true identity,” he said.
“Identity became an important element that I needed to understand. Rather than rely on others to create my identity, ¬I needed to identify myself. Knowing who you are and where you come from, forms the foundation of self-esteem, self-awareness and inner strength. It is because of this understanding that I created the Aztec Stories program. I wanted to share the valuable information I discovered and share it from an indigenous perspective.”
For over a decade after meticulous research and painstaking attention to detail, Heralda is considered one of the nation’s foremost artistic performers with regards to ancient Mexica instruments and music. He blends traditional and contemporary elements into his vibrantly colorful one man show.
“We felt that Michael’s presence here was a great opportunity to engage the whole community in a deeper understanding of Mexican/American culture,” said CFAC president Ron Gehauf. “We saw a need to join other major art cities in hosting an artist of his caliber. For years we wanted to fulfill our obligation to offer a program that would enlighten and increase the understanding about the history and culture of Mexican/American indigenous population, since it was often times over looked. This is a wonderful opportunity to do so.”
For more information Heralda: and details on Denver tour: or 720/329-0869.

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