Dennis Flores director of El Grito De Sunset Park Relief documents their work in Puerto Rico with El Fondo Boricua in April 2018.
Watch and hear from youth leaders in Comerío, Puerto Rico on how El Fondo Boricua has been able to help their community in Puerto Rico.
Comunidad y Ritmo (Community and Rhythm) Gala will honor members and supporters of the Minnesota Boricua community who have showcased leadership in education, community, health, social services, media, and relief work in response to last year's Category 5 hurricanes Maria and Irma. Along with commemorating individuals and group leadership in the Minnesota's Puerto Rican community, attendees will also experience a musical tribute to Afro-Latin Jazz music by Javi Santiago and headlining group Redobles de Cultura who is an Afro-Puerto Rican bomba ensemble from New York City will close the evening's concert. Bring your dancing shoes!
MASTER OF CEREMONIES
Javier Morillo is a union leader, activist, writer, podcaster and pundit. He is the president of SEIU Local 26, a union of janitors, security officers and other service workers that is now 8,000 member strong. As a political commentator, he often plays the part of the passionate progressive on local television and radio talk shows. He created and cohosts the podcast "Wrong About Everything," a fun, irreverent and bipartisan look at Minnesota and national politics. He also advises political campaigns, enjoying a reputation as a dogged strategist key to many winning campaigns. He is one of the regular hosts of the Twin Cities Moth Story Slam, and he has had two successful solo storytelling shows in the Minnesota Fringe Festival. His 2016 show, "Broken English, Mother Tongue," won an ecore performance that year. and was a critical favorite. A post-Hurricane Maria updated version of the show will be featured in 2018 in both the Minnesota Fringe Festival and the juried New York City International Fringe Festival. He lives on the West Side of Saint Paul with his husband John, their dog Diego and cat Stevie. You can find him on Twitter at @javimorillo.
Redobles de Cultura (RDCNYC) is a collective of four top New York City-based Afro-Puerto Rican Bomba practitioners: Julia Gutiérrez-Rivera, Nicky "Caja Dura" Laboy , Nelson Matthew González and Nina Rodriguez. They are proud members of today's "new" and younger generation of Bomberos, cultural workers and educators. Collectively, the RDCNYC ensemble has 50 years of teaching and performing experience, as part of several notable Bomba and Plena ensembles, including Los Pleneros de la 21, Alma Moyo, Legacy Women, Ilu Aye, Yerba Buena and more. Each member-- born into the culture and traditional practices of Puerto Rico and the Afro-Caribbean-- embodies the ancestral knowledge of their elders.
RDC engage audiences of all ages and backgrounds through the eyes of new generation "DiaspoRicans", who pair the foundational knowledge of their elders with the aesthetics, styles and realities of urban and diaspora perspectives.
They have toured internationally and they're live shows will get you to move like never before!
Javier Santiago is a powerful artist with a strong vision. Born and raised in Minneapolis, MN and of Puerto Rican decent, he grew up surrounded by strong artistic support. He was given a strong musical background by his jazz musician parents, as well as stalwarts of the local jazz community. Javier started playing piano at the age of 5, and was classically trained until he discovered his love of jazz music at the age of 11. In high school, he was a prominent player in the Minneapolis/St. Paul music scene. It was around this time that he started composing and working on his music production skills. While still in high school, he organized his own quintet and produced two albums. He also won the Schubert Club Jazz Piano Competition two years in a row.
In 2007, Javier was selected by the great Dave Brubeck and a panel of judges to be a part of the Brubeck Institute Fellowship program at the University of the Pacific in California. Javier has learned from some of the greatest musicians in the world; Christian McBride, Robert Glasper, Eric Harland, Joe Gilman, Nicholas Payton, Joshua Redman, Geoffrey Keezer and Jeff Ballard to name a few. Javi has played at venues all across the nation such as the Detroit Jazz Festival, The Kennedy Center and Blues Alley in Washington, D.C., IAJE, and Yoshi’s in Oakland. The Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet (’08-’09) was awarded Best College Group Of the Year in DownBeat Magazine two years in a row (2009 and 2010).
In 2011, Javier was selected to participate in the 14th Annual Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program. The intensive residency program took place at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. It was there that Javier studied with Curtis Fuller, George Cables, Winard Harper, Dr. Nathan Davis, and other jazz heavyweights.
Javier received his Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Piano Performance in late 2011 at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in NYC. Since then, he has been playing gigs regularly in NYC at venues such as Smalls Jazz Club, 55 Bar, The Iridium, and several others. He also was a finalist in the 2015 American Jazz Pianist Competition. Javier is not limited to just playing the piano. He is also a prolific composer. His work is an eclectic blend of Jazz, R&B, Rock, Hip Hop and everything in between. Javier is also a teacher, arranger, and producer. His latest album Phoenix was release this past June and available on iTunes.