Inaugural Global Café hosted at the CSLC in honor of International Language Day

Author: Charlene Dundek

Sunday afternoons are usually quiet, sleepy times at the CSLC. This past Sunday, however, the CSLC was proud to partner with AcoustiCafé and host the inaugural Global Café, which featured multilingual music performances by Notre Dame students. The Café was in celebration of International Language Day and welcomed students to come study in the spacious CSLC and snack on treats while listening to music from around the world.

International Language Day is celebrated annually on February 21st to celebrate and raise awareness of cultural and linguistic diversity all around the globe. The event commemorates the killing of four students in 1952 in the capital of Bangladesh for advocating for recognition of their mother language. UNESCO proclaimed International Mother Language Day in November of 1999 to promote multilingualism and multiculturalism.

The CSLC is deeply committed to promoting multilingualism and advocating for a recognition and celebration of cultural and linguistic diversity. Allegra Wallingford, who works for the CSLC and is also a member of the AcoustiCafé committee, came up with the idea of an international music showcase. The CSLC was proud to partner with AcoustiCafé, and Wallingford said that she thinks “this collaboration will continue because even with AcoustiCafé every Thursday night, there’s still so much more to be heard. We’re hoping to partner with cultural clubs in the future and hopefully develop themed events.”

Seven students performed at the Café while listeners munched on Krispy Kremes and coffee and tea. Jiale Hu performed a song in Chinese titled “Xiao Xiang Si [Little Wishes]” and “A Waltz for a Night” in English. Michelle Acabado and Jackson Hignite performed music in Spanish and English, ending with a performance of a Spanish translation of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” that they translated themselves from English (and no, it wasn’t for homework!).  Michelle said that, “It helps me learn and I love music.” Alex Ignacio and Abby Shephard performed songs from the Phillipines. Alex said that Filipino songs are traditionally over the top and all about drama and love. They do, however, feel “more real” to her. Gwen Li performed beautiful traditional and pop songs in Chinese. One song, “Green Flower Porcelain,” was about how hard it is to make the color on porcelain and similarly how difficult it is to find love.

Ameer Armaly, a third year graduate student studying computer science, performed traditional music on the oud, a lute-like instrument. The instrument Armaly played on was made in Lebanon and is 100 years old.  He performed songs in the old style Ottoman form and songs in a more freeform style originally composed for an orchestra. He was inspired by his uncle, who played the instrument, and has learned from lessons and online resources.  He was excited to gain more performance experience at the CSLC.

The first Global Café was a warm environment for a diverse group of students to perform and celebrate multiculturalism. The CSLC is looking forward to partnering with AcoustiCafé again in the future and hosting more musicians and performers. If you’re a student performer, don’t hesitate to stop by and book the CSLC for practice or performance space!