Hungarians take over New Brunswick, NJ on the first Saturday of every June. This year brought yet another new crop of young dancers and musicians... it brought outrageously hot weather... and hot weather will do nothing to slow down Hungarian dance fanatics.
Here's a peek at the festivities by some of our great friends:
The newest cimbalom master in New Jersey
Here are some videos:
A wide range of supporters of Africa gathered on Sunday 9/9/07 to celebrate and promote African unity. Many members of the United African Congress added their voice.
To see photos, click here.
You can also find several videos on YouTube, including:
Enjoy the videos!
Labor Day weekend means one thing in Brooklyn: The massive, massive Caribbean festival. Most of the attention goes to the Monday parade, which is understandable, given that 2 million or so people attend- one account put the number at 3 million. There are hundreds of photos online, but before providing links to those pages, I have to wildly praise Panorama, the steelpan orchestra competition.
A dozen groups face stiff rivalry and exacting judges to win the prize. Every group works all year, rehearsing several times a week for no pay, and they all achieve a high level of musicianship and showmanship. Panorama attracts thousands of people willing to pay $35 to get in—I have a feeling the high cover price means that fewer casual observers show up, so there aren't as many photos online. Each group is made up of roughly forty musicians, each accompanied by their massive instruments.
I took some videos, and I have to warn in advance that they're not the best quality. Yet I hope the excitement of the event shines through. Here are the links of different groups:
Here is the official website of the West Indian-American Day Carnival Association.
Our dear friend Magali posted some wonderful photos of the Kakande show at Barbès last weekend. Check them out by clicking here.
She took some great audience shots— here are some of Missia, Famoro and Raul:
The bass player from Szaszcsavas, Matyas "Matyi" Csanyi, passed at the premature age of 54 last month. I spent two summers with the group, and I bought my bass bow from him, so I will miss him.
I don't really know what to say.... It's a tragedy that he died so young.
Here are some photos from his funeral. He was put to rest by the musicians who loved him.
Matyi had a great sound on the bass, and a unique style.
I was not the model of restraint yesterday. We started taking film of Missia for our upcoming Kakande video, and Itook some pictures of Missia. These are from the area around the memorial arch at Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
Thank you to everyone who shared the music with us last weekend at Friday's CD release concert by the David Rogers Quintet, and Saturday's performance by Kakande at one of Brooklyn's endangered Undeground Railroad Safehouses.
If you couldn't make it to either show, you can still catch a bit of what you missed... Check out free music downloads below, and photos from these Jumbie Records concerts.
Free Music Download of
David Rogers Quintet Live at Barbes
Listen to a live cut from the CD release party. Sylvain Leroux's buoyant "Le Gros Be Jean" comes to raucous life in the hands of the band.
Click here to download a 5 minute excerpt
David Rogers Quintet featuring: David Rogers (tenor sax), Kenny Wessel (guitar), Sylvain Leroux (alto sax, Western & African flutes), Chris Lightcap (acoustic bass), and Rob Garcia (drums). Click here to read about the band.
Photos from Kakande
at the Abolitionist Safehouse
In Downtown Brooklyn, right off the Fulton Street Mall, several Abolitionists stood their ground against legal slavery in the United States. Harriet and Thomas Truesdell used to live at 227 Duffield Street, and they hid slaves in their basement. But now New York City thinks its a better idea to destroy this home and build an access road to a hotel and underground parking.
The highlight of the show was hearing Missia Diabate sing about the slave experience in this country. She understood the importance of being in the building where people escaped from slavery just a few generations ago.
by David Rogers
from Jumbie Journal, April 2005
For the second year, Jumbie Records has joined with our artists to support xylophone traditions in northwest Ghana by sponsoring the Fielmuo Kukur Bagr Festival. The festival, in the northwest region of the country, provides competitions to develop the next generation of gyil players and dancers in the Dagara community there.
The festival was initiated in December 2001 by the local chiefs and the Fielmuo Area Development Association (FADA) as a harvest festival to support economic development in the region. This kind of community event is popular in Ghana as a forum to meet with government and appeal for development projects in a local area.
Jumbie artist Bernard Woma is a native of Fielmuo and member of FADA, as well as the solo xylophonist and master drummer of Ghana's National Dance Company. He appealed to FADA to add a cultural component to the new festival, in order to support traditional music and culture in the region. With Jumbie sponsorship, the festival expanded to 3 days to incorporate a cultural mission.
On the first day chiefs and local government officials meet to discuss development goals for the area. On the second day, parliamentarians and regional ministers are invited to speak to the community about their plans to improve living conditions for the district-which is fighting to attract electricity and a secondary school. On the third day, cultural competitions attract young area groups to perform bewaa and binne styles of xylophone music as well as kaare, a women's style of singing and dance. (Click here to see photos)
"This is so important that we have this festival to make sure that these traditions continue," says Bernard Woma. "The influence of other cultures around us is making people lose the sense of their own traditional music and culture. I grew up in this area. We used to go out and play xylophone in the moonlight as kids. Now, as the electricity and television are coming, people are turning to the information age and forgetting their own culture. Are they going to hold onto these things?"
With the help of the Fielmuo Kukur Bagr Festival, Woma hopes that they will hold on to them. The festival provides a forum where people can come and practice the Dagara music of bewaa and binne and compete for prizes. Once given an incentive to perform, Woma says his people have shown they will spend time practicing music they might otherwise be forgetting. The Jumbie sponsorship pays for construction of a new xylophone as the top prize, and cash prizes for other competing groups. Woma is thrilled by the response in the first two years of the cultural festival and now wants to use it to re-introduce games that youth and older people used to enjoy in his community.
In December 2003, Woma attended the festival with his own Dagara Dance Troupe, and with Mark Stone, a co-founder of Jumbie Records. Woma spoke to the festival attendees about his passion for continuing their musical traditions and the importance of involving the youth. "This is your tradition!" he told them.
Woma also spoke of the promise of cultural tourism for the Fielmuo area. "There is no tourist potential in this area," he told the crowd gathered in this remote rural region far from the beaches of the capital. "The only thing people will come here to see is the amazing culture of our people. The xylophone is our gold. If we can promote it, tourists will like to come and see our music, and will help with the development we want for our lives."