An Afro-Cuban/Brazillian Jazz band from a university in the United States for the first time will perform at this year’s Jazz ‘n Creole Festival slated for Sunday, May 24 at the Cabrits National Park.
The band, Mas Que Nada, is an ensemble of the top students from the Jazz Department in the School of Music at Western Michigan University (WMU) and will be part of an exchange programme organized by the Create Caribbean Research Institute at the Dominica State College.
The band is expected to open the show on Sunday.
Coordinator of the exchange programme for the group, Dr. Shuyler K Esprit said at a press conference held at the Dominica Festivals Committee (DFC) office on Thursday that the exchange is possible because of “Dominican connections.”
“One of the members of the Jazz studies programme is the Artistic Coordinator of Mas Que Nada, Dr. Rhea Olivacce… she is a Dominican national,” she stated.
She revealed also that Dr. Olivacce is also employed as a Voice Professor at the University.
She pointed out that Chairman of the Jazz Studies Department at the school, Tom Knific, will join the band on its trip to Dominica.
Knific, a classically trained bassist, composer and educator has toured extensively worldwide.
“Recent highlights include tours of Europe, a tour of South Africa, a Master classes and concerts at the China Conservatory, Beijing,” Dr. Esprit stated.
She said the goal of the exchange programme is to have the students of the WMU learn more about indigenous culture in Dominica and indigenous musical forms.
“So they will be studying everything from Creole infuse Jazz and songs from Michele Henderson and her performances to Jing Ping and other types of musical songs, sort of authentic to Dominican musical culture,” she explained. “While they are here they will also be sharing their classically trained experience with students who will be hosting a workshop at the state college …”
Meanwhile, organizers of the event have made it clear that no bottles and smoking will be allowed on the premises of the festival.
Tickets for the event costs $75 for adults at the gate; $25 for persons between 12 and 18. Children under 12 enter free.
This year at the fringe events there will be a 15 percent discount on the tickets.
Tickets purchased before the main event will be sold at a discount price of $60 rather than $75.