Voz De Sparky is ASU's first ever Spanish-English open mic night

Imagine a stage holding a group of poets and speakers that constantly yearn to stand up in front of their peers and tell their stories their native language, which may not be the language they speak in class. This is Voz De Sparky, ASU's first ever Spanish-English open mic night.

The event is being run by El Concilio at ASU, an organization that strives to unite Latino, Chicano and Hispanic people together throughout the University. 

Jose Pardo Urrea, a business, Spanish and urban planning junior, is a co-host for the bilingual event.

"To our knowledge, nothing of the sort has taken place on campus," he said. "I love how open mics provide the general public a platform to express themselves and share their experiences, talents and stories, while still being able to network, have fun and learn." 

Urrea added that the cultural significance of this event is perfect for those wanting to speak in their native language.

"This particular event caught my interest because it was organized around English-Spanish native speakers, which is unique in itself because it provides a safe environment for bilingual individuals to express their talents that they may not be able to express in other events around campus," he said.

Students interested in participating must show up to the event early and sign up on a sheet. The event is meant to be judgment-free zone for those Sun Devils that wish to share their talent.

Accompanying Urrea on the stage is business management sophomore Angelica Rodriguez.

"The first thing that attracted me to this particular event is I wanted to be able to provide an open space for those of Latino, Chicano and Hispanic background to be able to perform and discuss issues or even simply display something they are passionate about, whether it is love or heartbreak," Rodriguez said.

She pointed out that although Hispanic Heritage Month is about celebration, education and awareness, the open mic night gives others an understanding of issues they had not yet been exposed to before. 

"With this particular event, I wanted others to celebrate and enjoy the performances, but also be aware and learn of issues and maybe even learn about the performer's experience," Rodriguez said. "Jose and I hope that this becomes an annual tradition."

ASU student Natima Neily will not be performing at the event, but said she's excited to sit in the audience. She said people can be surprisingly vulnerable and authentic when expressing themselves through an art form.

"I really enjoy spoken word poetry," Neily said. "I'm really excited for the bilingual aspect and I hope that some of the topics touched on will be about living in the intersections of identities since that's something I can personally relate to as a Mexican-American."

When asked what advice he would give to those nervous about performing in front of others, Urrea came back with a clever response.

"With public speaking being one of the leading fears in our society, I believe 95 percent of people would rather get eaten by a shark than to perform or speak in front of an audience," he joked. "So to those afraid to get up and speak or are intimidated to attend this event, I would say this particular event will create an atmosphere filled with acceptance, love for one another and genuine kindness."

The mixture of cultures starts Friday night in Pima Room 230 of the Memorial Union starting at 6 p.m.

Related Links:

TCA open mic offers students chance to showcase musical talents

ASU's West campus celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with salsa, art, theater

Reach the reporter at rsantist@asu.edu or follow @ryanerica18 on Twitter.

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