Thursday, October 30, 2014

The cultural and spiritual legacy of the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) has been drawn upon as a source of magical, transcendent inspiration both for the bravery of its protagonists -- the Kongo people, the Yoruba, and the Arara and the indispensable cultural lexicon that gave way for the creation of Jazz, Cuban Son, and other Caribbean musical forms. In the Dominican Republic, for example, it heralded a Creole resurgence. In the 1930’s, the Dominican Merengue would become the island nation’s and Dictator Trujillo’s soundtrack. The infectious accordion-based Afro polyrhythmic music along with thousands of Dominican immigrants fled the 1965 revolution to the cultural bastion of the Antilles- New York City, largely transforming the Washington Heights community of Upper Manhattan.

In anticipation of Harlem Stage’s World Premiere of Opera Makandal that features a score by Cuban saxophonist and composer Yosvany Terry, scheduled to take place as part its 2015 season, Habana/Harlem® is delighted to co-present the Makandal Mixtape LIVE, a dynamic showcase of energizing performances which celebrates the main figures of this journey, their collective self-discovery and the power of their timeless and seductive allure.

MAKANDAL MIXTAPE LIVE will highlight the spiritual power of NY’s premiere Haitian Roots Music ensemble Kongo, with former Rock Steady crew member Jose Figueroa, and the DR’s Urban folk flavored tinge from The Ripiao Kingz. Returning to Harlemstage’s Gatehouse Theater after their world tour, The Pedro Martinez Group features today’s Cuban dance music with NY swagger. And, back by popular demand DJ ASHO, will hold it down with his expert perspective on the music of the Caribbean..

The evening’s program will offer a night of music that is relentless in its pursuit to free you of your inhibitions while your mind, body and soul will relish in a collective release on the dance floor.

KONGO was founded in 1995 by Öneza Lafontant, a Haitian native from Baconois (Bakonwa).  Bakonwa is a small town in the Southwest region of Haiti well known for keeping alive the Ginen  African tradition of Vodou.The power of the talking drums attract the lwa spirits, who are concerned with human welfare and are called upon to solve problems of the masses, provide protection during hard times and to keep our people united.

The Ripiao Kingz (RK) is composed of group members Fernando Guzman ”Fercho La Voz” (Lead Singer), Edwin Torres (accordion) and Ray ”Chino” Diaz (Percusion and Keyboards).  The musical RK experience takes typical merengue beyond its traditional sound and structure by infusing modern and urban music styles such as Dance, Hip Hop and R&B.

The Pedrito Martinez Group (PMG) has its roots planted firmly in the Afro-Cuban Rumba tradition and in the Bata rhythms and vocal chants of the music of Yoruba and Santeria. Ben Ratliff summed it up aptly for the New York Times (June 15, 2010) calling it, “complex, blenderized Africa-to-the-New-World funk.”
PMG members include percussionist, Jhair Sala, from Lima, Peru; electric bassist, Alvaro Benavides, from Caracas, Venezuela; and keyboard player/vocalist, Araicne Trujillo, from Havana, Cuba.

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