I have always felt empowered by improvisation on the piano. Ever since I was 12, it has been the way I soothe my own soul and the way I connect with the world. That connection has put me on a path to learning jazz.
As a kid growing up in Freeport, I used to participate in The Bahamas' annual musical tradition called Junkanoo. Being of mixed heritage, Bahamian and Danish, this was how I connected to my Bahamian roots.
When I moved to the US and started playing jazz with other musicians, I had a vision of combining the powerful driving rhythms of Junkanoo with the nuance and emotional expression of jazz improvisation. I believe these two musical traditions come from the same heritage and in a sense, contain the same DNA. Now, at the end of my graduate studies in Jazz, the universe has placed me back on the island. I feel that it is time to bring that vision into reality, and prove my theory, in the form of a full-on, live performance for my senior recital.
This performance will feature a repertoire of my original compositions in the style of this fusion, about various things on the island that are meaningful to me. It will be performed by wonderful local Junkanoo musicians from Freeport and some amazing jazz musicians from Boston, MA. It will be an original, unique blend of cultures, showcasing the true spirit of collective musical expression through the richness of Jazz and Junkanoo rhythm, right here on Grand Bahama Island. It will be a live performance, live streamed from the Church of the Ascension in Freeport in mid April, 2021.
To make this happen there are many expenses:
- The cost of booking the venue
- Bringing the jazz musicians to the island (air fare, work visas, covid tests and per diems)
- The performance and process will be filmed and documented. All the musicians, film crew and audio engineers must be compensated.
This is an opportunity to create jobs for locals. It will also be a cultural event that is unique, exposing an international audience to the culture of Junkanoo and a Bahamian audience to the culture of Jazz. This is not a showcase of me or any one musician, but a demonstration of the immersive power of live improvised music to lift the spirit and heal the soul. It's also an opportunity for local musicians to get some work!
We cannot do it alone. We need your help to make this a reality!
Times are tough right now for all of us, I know. But, if you feel compelled, any size donation will help and is greatly appreciated. Also, please share with all your friends.
Thank you so much!
- Christiane Gerth
- Samantha D Chee-A-Tow
- Molly Schmidt
- Rhadzilla Rex
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