Past Living Traditions Festival participants will showcase their Living Legacy through telling story, incorporating music, dance, as well as food and craft.

This project engages Salt Lake City’s diverse community in showcasing a collaborative narrative on how these various communities keep their traditions and legacies alive today.

The Vietnamese Volunteer Youth Association

The mission of the Vietnamese Volunteer Youth Association is to provide Vietnamese youth in Salt Lake City area with the training and education needed to adapt and fit into the surrounding community without getting involved in gangs and without using drugs or alcohol. One of the many programs the association offers is the Lion Dancers which connects the youth to their cultural heritage.

This video was supported through a grant from the Utah Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Native American Regalia with Rios Pacheco

Rios Pacheco, a member of Utah’s Northwestern Band of Shoshone, learned the traditional skills of tanning hides, beading, and feather work from his parents and relatives in Northern Utah and later studied Native arts in classes at the Institute for American Indian Art in Santa Fe. For years, he has operated a small trading post in Perry, Utah where he crafts traditional clothing and accessories known as regalia. For the last few years he has been teaching and working with Northern Ute artist Nino Reyos, who is not only an accomplished regalia maker, but also a fine dancer and flute player.

This video was supported through a grant from the Utah Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Pysanky – Ukrainian (Slavic) Egg Decorating with Ingrid Hersman

Born and raised in Berlin Germany, with her dad, a genealogist and mom, a natural folk artist, the draw to family history and ancestral traditions was ever present. Decorating eggs in springtime was an all-embracing custom throughout Europe. In adulthood, questions arose around the where, when, how and why of these traditions, resulting in teaching about Pysanky.

I never knew my grandparents and so after taking a DNA test the reasons for the “Songs of the Heart” became clear. Three quarters of my family tree is from Eastern Europe. This brought a joy; clarifying the feelings of being in tune with those cultures.

I learned that when young and old alike know where they came from, treasure and nurture the ties to their roots through ‘writing’ their stories on Pysanky, there is a peace in the heart of the makers. My intention is to teach the skills to allow the students to find that peace and pass it on. Ingrid is an avid genealogist, gardener and piano teacher.

Photo & video by TWIG Media Lab. This video was supported through a grant from the Utah Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Bonsai and Origami with Ken Yamane and Judy Iwamoto

Bonsai has been in Ken Yamane’s life since childhood, his father had Bonsai trees but he was not interested. Ken says, “When in the US Air Force stationed in Japan, I was given a Bonsai Tree by a fellow Air Force member to care of. I took a class from Ben Scolari of Ben’s House of Bonsai about 1990. Through an Utah Arts Council grant, I was able to study under Shig Miya in California who was a student of John Naka, considered the original Bonsai Master in the US. I have given demonstrations/workshops at the Salt Lake Buddhist Temple, Ogden Buddhist Temple, Salt Lake Japanese Church of Christ, VA Medical Center and Asian Festival.  Currently I teach Bonsai classes at 2 Salt Lake County Senior Centers. I would like to see interest in Bonsai continue in the future.  I have been participating in Living Traditions for many years.”

Judy Iwamoto first learned Origami from a book in about 1970. Judy says, “I was fascinated that a flat piece of paper could become a 3-dimensional item. It took me about 2 weeks to learn the steps to fold a traditional peace crane. Through an Utah Arts Council grant, I studied Origami with Ine Takanaka and my folding became more precise.  I continue to fold, currently teaching Origami classes at 2 Salt Lake County Senior Centers. My students bring me Origami instructions for items they want to fold.  I hope my folding will create an interest in Origami as I want to see Origami be continued by future generations.  An amazing number of Origami books are now available.  I like seeing the new complicated computer generated Origami creations, but I like to fold more traditional Origami.”

Both artists volunteer within the Salt Lake Community to share their traditions and craft, from senior care centers to artist in residency programs and participating annually at the Living Traditions Festival. 

Photo & video by TWIG Media Lab. This video was supported through a grant from the Utah Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Mexican Day of the Dead Art with Marla Love

Marla Love is the founder and director of the children’s art studio Art First Arte Primero, located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her artistic goals are centered around teaching children, to expand their creativity and knowledge of art from around the globe. The Arte Primero model explores artists, art themes and techniques, using a variety of mediums including pastels, watercolors, oil and more. Infused in each art lesson, is discussion of the artist’s unique culture and background so students get a fuller picture of the historical context and significance of each artist. Art First offers virtual art instruction and in person for After School programming, Summer Camp and toddler program.

Marla’s family is from Morelia Michoacan, Mexico. Both Marla and her mother Rocio Mejía honor the traditions of Mexico by hosting community celebrations for Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead. She shares her love for art with her two daughters Naeemah and Jaseena who serve as her inspiration every day. She is passionate about art creativity and techniques, and is honored to work with children to expand their cultural understanding through art.

Chitrakaaya Dance

ChitraKaavya Dance was founded by Srilatha Singh, to explore her abiding interest in Bharatanatyam.  She has learnt from eminent gurus Shri Dhananjayan, Guru Kalyani Shekhar and Ambica Buch, in her youth. In 2015, ChitraKaavya Dance was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. They are interested in performing  their traditional repertoire as well as collaborating to create new and interesting dance items that can be relevant, accessible and add to the rich tapestry of Dance in the Salt Lake Valley. They would like to foster innovation and excellence in this dance form, and nurture inter-cultural conversations using the medium of performing arts.

Basque Club of Utah / Utah’ko Triskalariak

The Basque Country is located in northern Spain and southern France. Almost 50 years ago the Basque Club of Utah was founded and a few years later the dance group was formed. They travel all over the USA performing at different festivals. An independent culture from its neighbors of France and Spain, the Basque cuisine is distinctive in its reliance on such ingredients as beans, cod, paprika and sheep’s milk cheese. The Basque sausage and lightly fried doughnut-like churros are emblems of the Basque community.

Utah Argentina Alliance

Utah Argentina Alliance is a non-profit group dedicated to enriching the lives of Argentines living in the state of Utah. The group is committed to preserving its cultural heritage and providing social, economic, and educational growth opportunities for current and future generations. We take pride in preserving and sharing our native dances (Folklore and Tango), traditional food and drinks (Empanadas, Loco, Mate), and camaraderie with others. We welcome everyone to join our group.

Ballet Folklórico Las Américas

Ballet Folklórico Las Américas is the oldest Latin American Folk dancing and music group in the State of Utah. It has been sponsored by Centro Cívico Mexicano for almost 40 years. The mission of the group is to entertain, inform and extend our love through music and dance in our community and everywhere else we go. The group has dancers from different Latin American countries and the United States who enrich the repertoire, story of dances, and heart of the group. They love to share their traditions and delight the public through music and dance.

The Utah Punjabi Arts Academy

The Utah Punjabi Arts Academy is a local academy that preserves, promotes and performs the Punjabi cultural arts. They teach the folk dances and drum rhythms from the Punjab state of North India.  They offer Bhangra, Gidha, and Dhol classes. Bhangra is a high energy dance for all ages and for both men and women. Gidha is a playful and graceful dance primarily done by women. The Dhol is the lively drum that is played at all the celebrations. 

Malialole Polynesian Music and Dance

Malialole (Mah-lee-yah-loh-lay) is a Polynesian Music, Dance and arts school, ensemble and entertainment group. Malialole’s mission is to perpetuate the Polynesian culture through song and dance while promoting cultural awareness of all Pacific Island People sharing stories of the past and present.It is the goal of Malialole to teach, build and connect the youth with the beautiful Polynesian culture and tradition of respect and love.

Robb “Little Owl” Martin

Robb “Little Owl” Martin is a Native American Flute player, maker, and storyteller.  His family originates from Southwest Colorado and he is a descendant of the Southern Ute, Jicarilla Apache, and Navajo nations.  He enjoys educating people about Native American history and culture through his stories, and believes strongly in preserving the traditional ways of his people.  He taught himself to play the flute by listening to other flute players and experimenting with different sounds and techniques.  His interest soon expanded into making his own flutes.  A machinist by trade, Robb had the equipment and the ability to start creating wooden flutes out of a variety of trees that he found around the yard.

He is a long-time performer at the Living Traditions Festival.  He has also performed at various venues, schools, and festivals throughout Utah including Red Butte Gardens, Utah Museum of Natural History, Young Living Farm, Festival of the American West, and the Zion Canyon Native Flute Festival.  In addition to performing, Robb also continues the tradition of raising and training his own horses for barrel racing, parades, as well as film work.  He has worked on numerous film projects depicting Native American culture and history with artist and filmmaker Ben McPherson. Any opportunity to spread and educate people about his culture is always welcomed.

Armenian hand-knotted carpets with Diane Aposhian Moffat

Diane Aposhian Moffat was born and raised in Salt Lake City, with the exception of three years spent in  England and three years in Australia. She has a BA from the University of Utah in Middle East Studies. She and her husband Doug own and operate Highlander Bike with their son Max, and she runs the mailroom in the RC Willey Corporate Office. 

She attributes the Living Traditions Festival for motivating her to learn how to make Armenian rugs from her father and grandfather. Her other hobbies include drawing and painting, playing the violin, knitting, and assembling massive jigsaw puzzles. She and Doug create a newsworthy G-scale Train exhibition every Christmas.  They are the parents of five children and four grandchildren.

Bomba Marilé

Bomba Marilé was established in November of 2017 with the purpose of sharing Afro Puerto Rican traditions of Bomba music and dance with the greater Utah community. Since their initiation, they have organized Bomba workshops with visiting instructors, social events including dominos and picnics, and educational activities such as showing documentaries discussing issues related to Puerto Rico. 

Bomba Marilé has had the opportunity to perform at various cultural events throughout Utah including Living Traditions Festival, West Side Dance Cinco de Mayo Festival, Mondays at the Park, and the Utah County Fair. They are grateful for the opportunity to highlight their musical traditions from Puerto Rico and to share them with those who support the cultural arts.


Mama Africa strives to promote and preserve the African culture in Utah. As a long time participant of the Living Traditions Festival, Mama Africa Kitoko uses funds raised at the event to rent space for African cultural groups as well as to support young African women to be self-reliant. Her restaurant on 715 W. 800 S. in Salt Lake City welcomes all and her cuisine is a mix of authentic African and French parfum originating deep in the country of the Congo.


Maurice Keola Ohumukini is a Master Kumuhula and Master Malalaloa (craftsman) who has been teaching and dancing for over 60 years. His knowledge comes from 14 different Grand Masters and Master Kumuhula. Keola began at the age of 5. As an adult he has performed all over the country, contributing to, supporting, judging, and even competing in many Hawaiian hula competitions and Ball’s, always placing in every category he entered. 

Keola wanted to bring the Hawaiian people together in Utah.  He founded the first Hawaiian Civic Club in 1983. Perpetuating the culture is important to Keola. Keola has been an assistant teacher at the University of Utah and the Salt Lake Community College perpetuating the culture over the past 2 decades. To continue his teaching and sharing of all his knowledge, Keola started teaching Hawaiian cultural seminars. His 2 and 3 day seminars allow people from all over the nation the opportunity to learn and expand their knowledge of the Hawaiian culture. His seminars have been taught in California, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon and Utah. Keola focuses on protocol, lomi lomi (massage), hula, language, ‘Oli (ancient chanting), Hawaiian herbs (La’au Lapaa’u), folklore, legends and Hawaiian instrument making (malalaloa).

Keola believes in sharing his knowledge of the Hawaiian culture to anyone who has passion to learn. He believes in perpetuating the traditional ways of Hawaii, and avoids the modern changes made to the culture.


“Coco Garcia” was born in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. He began his musical career at the age of 7, performing and singing with his dad Eligio Garcia a Venezuelan harpist and competing at school singing events where at age of 8 he won the best voice of his home state. He was invited to United States, Salt Lake City, Utah in 1995, by his cousin Asdrubal Garcia and Craig Miller, to play for The Living Tradition Festival in Salt Lake City, UT with their group Venezuela Cantando. He then decision to remain in United States to pursue his music career.

Since living in Salt Lake City, “Coco” Garcia has performed and toured in many States. He has performed with famous singers such as Gloria Estefan in the 2002 Winter Olympic closing ceremonies in Salt Lake City and opened for Dave Matthews Band at Olympic plaza with Mambo Jumbo Band, among many others.

Coco Garcia lends his singer talents for many local bands in Utah starting with Salsa Brava, Ritmo Caliente, Mambo Jumbo, Orquesta Latino and now his own master piece; Rumba Libre Band, where he took the next step and started to write his own music.


Mestre Jamaika found his passion for capoeira at seven years old living in Teixeira de Freitas, Bahia, Brazil. By age 15 he was traveling throughout Brazil to train and compete, under the direction of Mestre Loka of CapuraGinga, later winning three consecutive titles in the Brazilian Capoeira Confederation Championships, all before age 20.

Certified to teach under the title of “Professor” in 1997, Mestre Jamaika’s exceptional skill and explosive acrobatic talent have since placed him among the most sought-after instructors within the capoeira community, teaching, and performing at workshops and events throughout the world for the past 25 years. 

In June of 2013, Jamaika was awarded the title of “Mestre” by Mestre Amen. Mestre Jamaika continues to give workshops all over the United States and the world for other capoeira schools as well as for arts and professional dance programs. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife, Amanda, and plans to continue sharing  Afro-Brazilian culture and strengthen community through capoeira.


Sonali Loomba believes Indian Classical Dance is like an ocean which is limitless. The deeper you dive in the more beauty you see of the form. It can take up-to several years to even call oneself a master of this art form. She also visits India often to advance in her studies of Kathak under Gurus.
Sonali offers kathak classes to the community at her dance school in Utah to ensure this art form is preserved and promoted. Kaladharaa Dance School focuses on imparting the nuances of this ancient form to others in the community as a way of passing it down to generations to come.


At each of the in person Living Traditions Festival events we asked attendees to tell us about their ‘Living Legacy’