Even as aftershocks from last week’s earthquake continue to rattle Haiti, communities in New York are working feverishly to raise money to aid survivors of the disaster. Tonight, the Caribbean Cultural Center on West 58th Street will host I am Ayiti an emergency relief fundraiser and benefit featuring music by four stunning Caribbean performers and groups.
Headed by Marta Moreno Vega, the doyenne of the Afro roots scene in New York, the Caribbean Cultural Center has long showcased some of the finest music of the African diaspora, always performed with a bow of respect to its cultural context. Tonight’s benefit show promises the best. Here’s the line-up.
Kalunga Neg Mawon is a musical dance ensemble that pays tribute to the African traditions that survive today in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Playing an array of instruments, including an assortment of drums and bamboo flutes, they specialize in a form of processional music known as rara in Haiti and gaga on the Dominican side of the island.
Tiga Jean-Baptiste, a young Haitian percussionist who learned the beats from his father Bonga, a master of Haiti’s drumming styles, will also be performing, backed by his band T’Chaka. They’ll combine Haitian rhythms, afro-beat, reggae and Shona mbira music from Zimbabwe to raise musical the roof.
Guitarist, singer and songwriter Jhon Clarke, was born in Port-au-Prince into the musical Parents family and started playing guitar when he was 11 years old. After mastering Haitian styles and moving to the United States, he co-founded the band Black Parents and also released “My Creole Chapter,” a solo album of his island’s compás music. Now he says he’s “embarked on a new journey with a whole different sound.” Fans may be in for a surprise.
DJ Laylo is a Puerto Rican-born New Yorker, by way of Dominican parents, and her style is pure New York. She spins a blend of hip-hop, soul, Latin, house, reggae and Afro-beat to turn any venue into a house party and keep the dance floor shaking. Just what we need in trying times like these!
Admission to the I am Ayiti fundraiser is $10 minimum, but people are encouraged to give more if they can. Money raised will be donated to Konbit Pou Edikasyson.
The Caribbean Cultural Center is also a drop-off location for emergency supplies. For a list of supplies needed—including first aid equipment, batteries, flashlights and sleeping bags, check out the center’s website. Items donated will go to Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees and Doctors without Borders.
Where: Caribbean Cultural Center – 408 West 58th Street (btw. 9th & 10th Aves.) – 212-307-7420
When: Friday, January 22, 2010, 6:30 to 9:00 PM
For related stories click on the links below:
In New York, musicians jam for Haiti
Four-night benefit brings together everyone from Patti Smith to Joshua Bell
Clay William’s photos of the Haiti benefit at Poisson Rouge