Gizelxanath of Afro Yaqui Music Collective

Award-Winning Revolutionary Jazz at Feast and Field Thursday


Submitted 6 months ago
Created by
Chloe Powell

BarnArts brings back Barnard favorites

This week at BarnArts Music Series in Barnard, the band features some artists familiar to the Feast and Field Stage, but in an exciting new formation.  Ben Barson, and Gizelxanath Rodriquez have performed at both Feast and Field and BarnArts Jazz and Funk Fest for years now and have won a local following with their revolutionary music. Thursday, August 9th at 5:30, they will be performing with their latest project, the Afro Yaqui Music Collective.  The group will feature a special guest Alberto Villalobos of the award-winning Villalobos Brothers from Veracruz Mexico, as well as locally raised musician and organizer Quincy Saul.

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Feast and Field is a farmers' market held on a working farm at 1544 Royalton Turnpike.  Music is presented by BarnArts, and donations of $5-10/person are encouraged to sustain programming. 


The band performs at Kennedy Center for ASCAP awards April 2019.

More about the band:

Recently returned from the Kennedy Center, The Afro Yaqui Music Collective (AYMC) is a multicultural big band which descends from the ensembles of Guggenheim award recipient Fred Ho, whose work was influenced by West African, global Indigenous, and East Asian musics. The Afro Yaqui Music Collective has been acknowledged by the New York Times as “furthering [Ho’s] musical legacy,” and the band has been presented at an eclectic set of venues over the country including through Lincoln Center and Red Rooster in Harlem, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and universities around the Americas from Pittsburgh to Vermont, to Mexico and Cuba.

The AYMC is co-led by Gizelxanath Rodriguez, a Mexican operatic vocalist and cellist of Yaqui indigenous descent who is an internationally performing soprano and activist, and the recipient of a 2014 ACE Award. Gizelxanath co-leads the band with her partner, Ben Barson, the 2018 Johnny Mandel Prize Winner in composition from ASCAP. Barson met Fred Ho and Magdalena Gómez during his undergraduate studies at Hampshire College, and has worked with them ever since. Barson was Ho’s Baritone saxophone protégé who “Ho felt has the heft and sound to represent [Ho’s] assertive approach.” (The New York Times). Barson is also a recent recipient of several compositional awards from ASCAP.


In this spirit of building revolutionary bridges, the Afro Yaqui Music Collective has invited the great Cuban drummer Hugo Cruz, from Havana to collaborate with the collective. Cruz's work crosses boldly between contemporary jazz and the Afro-Cuban percussion traditions embedded in son and tumba francesa.


Also joining the collective is Alberto Villalobos, of the popular New York superground the Villalobos Brothers, a trio of high-octane Mexican violinists, whose music is inspired by the musical styles from Veracruz, Mexico. In addition, Villalobos is an accomplished sculptor and artist whose work documents state violence and cultural memory in Mexico.


The band will also feature the lyrical stylings of Nejma Nefertiti-- a multi~media hip hop artist, producer, sound designer, audio engineer, songwriter, and natural perfumer. Nejma Nefertiti utilizes hip hop and technology as tools to empower black, brown, and first nation youth for generations to come.

Their Barnard stop, kicks off an August tour.

You can catch them: 

August 10th: Zen Barn, Waterbury, VT

August 11th: Ginny's Supper Club, NYC

August 12th: Twins Jazz Club, Washington DC

See the full Feast and Field Calendar here.


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