Brooklyn Botanic Garden in partnership with Haiti Cultural Exchange present Mizik Ayiti!
May 6, 2023 |11:00am
Alexandra Jean-Joseph & Sky Menesky of Imamou Lele
Let’s take a journey to Haiti through the exploration of traditional games, songs, drumming and dance movement.
Alexandra Jean-Joseph is an educator, dancer and choreographer. As the Artistic Director of drum and dance ensemble Imamou Lele, she currently produces cultural material and folkloric works of Haiti through traditional dance. As a manbo of Haitian Vodou, she strives to preserve the connection between Haitian Folkloric Dance and Vodou rites and to promote dance as an experience where spirit and art meet. She currently practices with her spiritual family at Le Temple D’Olohoum in Queens, New York. Le Temple D’Olohoum is dedicated to the observance of Vodou in its most religious aspect. It focuses on creating a physical, mental, moral, and spiritual environment for the practice of Vodou.
Sky Menesky is an educator, percussionist, and cultural activist. He currently works as a middle school teacher in Brooklyn, New York while hosting “The Sky Menesky Podcast”. The podcast is a sans-frontiere radio program committed to promoting, defending, and educating Haitians and non-Haitians on the importance of Haiti, and advocating for cultural, economic, and political change in our community here within the diaspora. As the Music Director of drum and dance ensemble Imamou Lele, Sky aims to protect and promote Haiti’s folkloric traditions and continue to preserve Haiti’s cultural heritage through traditional songs and drum rhythms.
Imamou Lele is an ensemble of dancers, drummers, and vocalists sewn together in the spirit of Haiti. Under the artistic direction of Alexandra Jean-Joseph and the music direction of Sky Menesky, Imamou Lele aims to promote and preserve Haiti’s cultural heritage through traditional song, music, and movement. Imamou Lele’s latest work, featuring Alexandra and Sky, uses elements of traditional spiritual practice to explore womanhood within the context of society in Haiti and its diaspora.
May 6, 2023 |1:00pm
Buyu Ambroise & The Blues in Red Band present a fusion of jazz & Haitian rhythms.
Buyu Ambroise has performed in New York City with various ensembles for more than 20 years, playing usually Haitian Konpa music or Jazz. Buyu has worked with many notable Haitian groups in the New York Metropolitan area. He recorded with Ayizan, a landmark avant-garde Rara ensemble. He also led the band Freefall which included world renowned Latin percussionist Bobby Sanabria (currently leader of the group Asuncion and the former drummer in Mario Bauza’s big band). Freefall also featured the talents of eclectic jazz percussionist Mino Cinelu (formerly with Miles Davis, Sting, and Weather Report). Buyu has also worked in the Project Liberty Jazz Ensemble with drummer Ben Dixon. Despite a long absence from Haiti, his roots in Haitian culture remain strong. In his debut & sophomore albums Blues in Red (released in June 2004) & Marasa (released in December 2006), Buyu draws from the folkloric repertoire of Haitian music. Buyu could not resist the calling of infusing the similar African roots of both Haitian music and American Jazz into these story-telling melodies. Buyu has created a fruitful combination of traditional Afro-Haitian beats with the smooth improvisational grooves of enticing bass lines, melodic brass solos & piano explorations in styles that take after those of American Jazz greats such as John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter.
Coming from a Jazz perspective, Buyu has revealed a natural relationship between the complex polyrhythmic structures in both the North American form and the Afro-Caribbean sound of traditional Haitian music. This fusion is the birth of a new musical style that encompasses the two and sustains the mix effortlessly.