[Pictured: (Far Left) Monica Maria Fimbrez, (Middle Left) Gina Maria Balibrera, (Middle Right) Wishing Doll, (Far Right) Leticia Hernández-Linares. Photo: Onyx Hunter]

The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Lobby sprawled with life and intrigue on July 16. Although the event was a preview of Gina Maria Balibrera’s Book Volcano Daughters, the audience formed as a community. It was a group of like-minded people looking for a place to belong, to enrich themselves in the energy and arts of a few inspired but passionate mujeres.

Monica Maria Fimbrez performed songs about our pasts, remembrance of our ancestors, the culture we carry with us, our uniqueness and to share it wherever we go. Fimbrez’s music wears its heart on the sleeve, the range and messages in her music aspires to all virtues of tradition and something new too, something to remember the ancestors by.

Monica Maria Fimbrez performs at Yerba Buena Center on July 16. Photo: Onyx Hunter

Gina Maria Balibrera’s introduction to the upcoming Volcano Daughters tells the story of women who inexplicably survive the massacre of their home and live in a world with their connections to the past jeopardized. Volcano Daughters is thoughtful and meditates on the role of women both contemporary and historically, in El Salvador, in their village wasting away over indigo, working behind store counters, taking temperatures, but they tell you their story regardless. “We tell you exactly what we think, we do not always agree…”

Leticia Hernández-Linares gave her own performance, a reading of her own Young Adult novel and a lesson about an awe inspiring woman Prudence Ayala, a woman who in the 1930’s ran for President in El Salvador in spite of the lack of women’s suffrage. Hernandez Linares’ novel uses the story of La Siguanaba, a princess turned into a scary monster for going against society’s expectations. The meaning of La Siguanaba could be frightening to some, “but there is nothing ugly or scary about a woman with spirit.”

Leticia Hernández-Linares reads at Yerba Buena Center on July 16. Photo: Onyx Hunter