Home New Music INDIEGOGO FUNDRAISER: Vodou-Jazz-Merengue on Bass Clarinet

INDIEGOGO FUNDRAISER: Vodou-Jazz-Merengue on Bass Clarinet


Three albums of jazz fused with music from Haiti and the Dominican Republic, featuring the bass clarinet.

This project presents three albums featuring my bass clarinet, fusing jazz with music I’ve studied as an ethnomusicologist in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and beyond. Already recorded, they’ll be released on Round Whirled Records this fall. Your support will help print CDs and to mount release events. See the videos below representing each album.

Magic Triplets for Bass Clarinet: Vodou-Merengue-Jazz

In the spiritual traditions of Vodou, the Marasa Twa – or Magic Triplets – are an auspicious trio of children who manifest divine mysteries. My three babies are named Vodou-Jazz, Dr. Merengue, and Earth Prayers for Bass Clarinet. They feature my bass clarinet and contrabass clarinet (sometimes with electronic effects), fusing jazz with music I have studied as an ethnomusicologist. Below, you can check out sample videos representing each album.

Dr. Merengue re-imagines historical and folk styles of merengue discussed in my book, Merengue: Dominican Music and Dominican Identity (1996, Temple University Press). The book was based on my doctoral dissertation; hence the album title! I recorded it in the Dominican Republic with the Ensemble Dominicano, a group I started ten years ago. It features a legend of Dominican music – José Duluc – on percussion and vocals, and Julio Figueroa on the tambora drum. Scholarly notes give a lot of background on the music. Check out this sample song:

Vodou-Jazz: Asakivle Meets Austerlitz is jazz-fusion take on the ritual music of Haiti. I’ve had the privilege of visiting Haiti for over three decades, learning about powerful spiritual traditions. This album is a collaboration with Asakivle, a wonderful Haitian drumming group led by Franck Desire. It also features bassist Chico Boyer – an innovator of Haitian fusion music – and a fantastic guitarist named Monvelyno. Extensive ethnomusicological notes discuss the songs’ religious contexts and lyrics. Here is a sample:

Earth Prayers presents my bass clarinet and contrabass clarinet playing jazz influenced by music from Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Nigeria, and Finland (where I was born). It features master musicians such as pianist Benito Gonzalez; bassist Santi Debriano; drummer Royal Hartigan; clarinetist Isaiah Richardson; and Zila singing Haitian songs. Here is a promo video:

So, please give a listen, and if you like what you hear, consider supporting the project. In return, you can reserve digital downloads or CDs. If you can’t provide financial support, check out the music, and enjoy! I’d also love to get to know you, so please stay in touch through YouTube comments.

DONATE: www.indiegogo.com

A graduate of Empire State College with a dual major in journalism and Latin American studies, Tomas Peña has spent years applying his knowledge and writing skills to the promotion of great musicians. A specialist in the crossroads between jazz and Latin music, Peña has written extensively on the subject.


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