About: The Afro Yaqui Music Collective
High octane big-band jazz funk with nods towards Mexican Son Jarocho, Chinese Opera, Middle Eastern Hip-Hop, and Yaqui - Mayan Indigenous philosophy: The Afro Yaqui Music Collective has been hailed as going “where no one has gone before,” (The Mt. Lebanon Alamanac), as “furthering the legacy” (The New York Times), as “returning this thing called ‘jazz’ back to its real roots—to the earth, to the sky, to the women who produced and protected a people’s culture.” (Robin D.G. Kelley, author, Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original. The group has performed at the Kennedy Center, the ASCAP jazz awards, Lincoln Center, Red Rooster, protests at the U.S.-Mexican border, fundraisers for families of police-executed Black youth, and ecosocialist gatherings in Mexico, Cuba, Kurdish Iraq, and Venezuela, among others.
The Afro Yaqui Music Collective came into being out of a collaboration between saxophonist Ben Barson (ASCAP-award winning composer and protégé of the great Fred Ho) and Gizelxanath Rodriguez (Yaqui-Mexican soprano) who combined to form a group based on revolutionary music. Over the years, Hugo Cruz (Cuba), Samuel Boateng (Ghana), Beni Rossman (Pittsburgh), Nejma Nefertiti and Bernard Grobman (New York), Ben Opie and Roger Romero (Pittsburgh), Yang Jin (China/Pittsburgh) Aidana Yntykbayeva (Kazakhstan) and dozens of others have collaborated with the collective. Find more at afroyaquimusiccollective.com