Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble Brings New Sound To HARTFORD Connecticut Through a Series of Concerts and Workshops from THURSDAY, January 29th 2015 through SATURDAY, January 31st 2015

 

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Hartford, Connecticut — Pioneering Musical Group, The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble, will be performing in a series of concerts as well as participating in a series of music workshops in Hartford, Connecticut as they present their sound to new audiences.

The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble in 2014.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble in 2014. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Sponsored by Trinity College, The Hartford Jazz Society, Latin Music Tonight and Casona Restaurant; while this music series and workshops takes place at the end of January 2015, this series is intended to kick off 2015 Black History Month, which traditionally takes place in the month of February.

Jazz Vocalist of Honduran-American Garifuna Descent, Lucy Blanco of The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble in 2011.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Jazz Vocalist of Honduran-American Garifuna Descent, Lucy Blanco of The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble in 2011. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Founded in 2011, by Jazz Vocalist of Honduran-American Garifuna Descent, Lucy Blanco and Garifuna Singer, Musician and Educator of Belizean Garifuna Descent, James Lovell; The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble is fusion of traditional Garifuna rhythms such as Punta, Paranda, Hungu-Hungu, etc with Jazz Music.  The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble consists of:

Lucy Blanco – Lead Vocals, Maracas

James Lovell – Lead Vocals, Garifuna Drum

Gary Fritz – Percussion

Hilliard Greene – Bass

Mario Sprouse – Piano

Luisa Bastidas – Violin

Garifuna Singer Musician and Educator, Belizean Garifuna Man James Lovell in Harlem in  2011.   Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Garifuna Singer Musician and Educator, Belizean Garifuna Man James Lovell in Harlem in 2011. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

On Thursday, January 29th 2015, The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble participated in a FREE Garifuna music workshop at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut from 12noon to 1pm.

On Friday, January 30th 2015, they took part in a Concert at The Austin Arts Center at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut at 7:30 in the evening.

Below is video of The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble’s performance of the traditional Garifuna anthem “Tagueira”, which is the unofficial anthem of the Garifuna people.

On SATURDAY morning, January 31st 2015, The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble will take part in a FREE Garifuna Music Workshop and Jam Session at the Studio at Billings Forge.   It will take place from 9 in the morning through 12 noon.

The Studio at Billings Forge

539 Broad Street

Hartford, Connecticut

Breakfast and Lunch will be served and be FREE to the public.

Schedule of The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble's Concerts and Music Workshops in Hartford, Connecticut in January 2015.

Schedule of The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble’s Concerts and Music Workshops in Hartford, Connecticut in January 2015.

That same evening on SATURDAY, January 31st 2015 there will be a FREE Concert at Casona Restaurant from 7pm to 9pm.

Casona Restaurant 1

681 Wethersfield Avenue

Hartford, Connecticut

(860) 578-8416

Schedule of The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble's Concerts and Music Workshops in Hartford, Connecticut in January 2015.

Schedule of The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble’s Concerts and Music Workshops in Hartford, Connecticut in January 2015.

About Lucy Blanco

Lucy Blanco’s family roots began in a small fisherman’s village in Santa Rosa de Aguan, Honduras in Central America. Her parents migrated to the Bronx, New York in 1964 where she was born. Her musical influences are varied and include Ella Fitzgerald, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Hector Lavoe, Gloria Estefan and Celia Cruz. Her life was forever changed when she got a chance to attend an Artist in Residence program at the Conservatory of Music in The Hague with Dr. Barry Harris, as a member of The Radiant Voices. She credits The World Stage, the late Billy Higgins, the late Dahl Scott, pianist/composer/arranger, the late Michael Andrews, and many other artists and friends who graciously opened the door and provided wonderful opportunities to learn about the art of jazz.

Jazz Vocalist of Honduran-American Garifuna Descent, Lucy Blanco, of The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble in Harlem in 2011.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Jazz Vocalist of Honduran-American Garifuna Descent, Lucy Blanco, of The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble in Harlem in 2011. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Since relocating to New York City (from Los Angeles) in August 2009, she has worked with some of the best musicians the East Coast has to offer such as Benito Gonzalez, Mala Waldron, Mimi Jones and Andrea Brachfeld. She performed at the 8th Annual Lady Got Chops Jazz Festival founded by Kim Clarke. Ms. Blanco is currently producing her debut album with International Pianist Warren Byrd. She is a founding member of the Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble with Garifuna musician James Lovell. The ensemble is developing a new musical concept of fusing the music of her Garifuna ancestry with America’s classical music, jazz.

About James Lovell

James Lovell was born in the village of Mango Creek, but grew up in Dangriga Town, Belize. After graduating from Ecumenical High School in Dangriga Town, James joined the Belize Police Force Band, where he learned to play several instruments such as the guitar, bass guitar, clarinet, euphonium saxophone and keyboards, and took advanced correspondence courses from the Royal School of Music. He learned to read and write music and to arrange musical compositions.

In 1990, James migrated to the United States. In June 1995, James produced and released his first professional CD album entitled Cabasan Numari. James has also produced and recorded three albums and is presently working on a bilingual children nursery rhymes album. In 2005 and 2008, he facilitated “Habinaha Garinagu” (Dance Garifuna) in Dangriga Belize, sponsored by the National Garifuna Council. He has also been the Vice President and Musical Director for “Illagulei,” a Garifuna performing arts company.

Garifuna Singer Musician and Educator, Belizean Garifuna Man James Lovell.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Garifuna Singer Musician and Educator, Belizean Garifuna Man James Lovell. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Recently James was instrumental in the Garifuna Language and Culture program through “YuGaCuRe” (Yurumein Garifuna Cultural Retrieval Program), that is reclaiming and teaching the language and culture to children and adults in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which is the ancestral homeland of the Garifuna.

Under the leadership and sponsorship of the National Garifuna Council of Belize, he obtained two grants, the first from the World Bank for Indigenous People Fund in 2005, and the second from UNESCO in 2008, both which led James to be hired to facilitate the Garifuna Dance and Music Workshop in Dangriga Town, Belize.

About The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble

The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble band includes seasoned musicians who lead bands of their own and have come together for this ensemble including Co-founder and Garifuna American Jazz Vocalist Lucy Blanco and Bassist Hilliard Greene international Percussionist Gary Fritz, Pianist Mario Sprouse.

The ensemble has been developing a new musical sound by fusing the language, rhythm and percussive instruments of Garifuna music with America’s classical music known as Jazz. They have performed at various venues throughout the city to well received audiences.

Besides performing at the New York Historical Landmark, Flushing Town Hall in Queens in late August 2014, 2  they also performed in Los Angeles at the 3rd Annual Garifuna International Film Festival during Memorial Day Weekend and have performed at special Paranda Concerts alongside Puerto Rican musicians at the Bronx Music Heritage Center Laboratory in December 2013 and December 2014. 3

They are currently in studio completing their debut album at Tedesco Studios, and are featured in a special installation in the Bronx called the Boogie Down Audio Booth where their music was being featured along with other artists from The Bronx until September 15, 2014

 

ABOUT The Garifuna People

The Garifuna people are people of African descent (in other words, Black people) whose ancestry can be traced to Africans mixing with Carib Indians and Arawak Indians on the Eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent.  From this fusion of race and ethnicities in St. Vincent Island, a distinct culture and language arose.  They are noted for being one of the few (only?) peoples of African descent (again, in other words, Black people) in the Americas to have maintained aspects of their ancestral culture and full use of their ancestral language for everyday use over the course of hundreds of years.

After being defeated in war with the British on St. Vincent in 1796; 1004 men,  1779 women and 1,555 children for a total of 4,338 people (mostly Black Caribs, as the Garifuna people were then known) were captured and taken to Baliceaux, a small island, a rock, basically, off the coast of St. Vincent.  This took place from July 1796 through February/March 1797.  About 2,000 Garifunas died of a mysterious and very infectious fever while living on Baliceaux awaiting their fate.   1

In early March 1797, the remaining Garifunas were loaded onto the HMS Experiment and other ships.  Once they were rounded up, the convoy were taken to a Bequia, which is another island off the coast of St. Vincent. They proceeded to go to Grenada to get water, then Jamaica for refueling, then finally Roatan, Honduras, arriving on April 12th 1797.

Finding much of Roatan unliveable, the Garifuna people petitioned officials representing Spain and it’s government (which controlled much of Central America at the time) to be allowed to move to the Honduran mainland.  Upon being allowed to move to the Honduran mainland, namely the port town of Trujillo, Honduras in May 1797; the Garifunas settled many towns and villages along the Caribbean coast of Honduras. They also migrated to the neighboring countries of Guatemala, Belize (then known as British Honduras) and Nicaragua over the years.  Finally, Garifuna People have also migrated to the United States of America where generations have settled in cities like New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles.

If you find the BEING GARIFUNA Website helpful and useful, please DONATE.  Every dollar donated helps keep this website in operation.

The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble will be performing in Music Concerts and participating in Music Workshops in Hartford, Connecticut in late January 2015.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble will be performing in Music Concerts and participating in Music Workshops in Hartford, Connecticut in late January 2015. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Notes:

  1. http://www.casonhartfordct.com
  2. http://beinggarifuna.com/?p=2067
  3. http://makemusicny.org/winter-2014/parranda-con-paranda/

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