ALJO…The Power of Activism and Jazz: Resisting an Oppressive National Political Culture
On Wednesday May 9, Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra kicked off a special five-city tour of California celebrating the power of activism and jazz in resistance to the oppressive national political culture currently taking shape in America..
Arturo O’Farrill and ALJO invited diverse communities throughout California to partake in their revolutionary musical movement propelled by the orchestra’s fiery big band compositions. Beginning on May 9, Stanford Live presented the West Coast debut of O’Farrill’s The Cornel West Concerto at Stanford University featuring Dr. Cornel West alongside ALJO. On May 12, O’Farrill headlined Radio-Active Resistance: A Benefit for KPFA FM and DACA Support Services with opening acts Bobi Céspedes Band and the Son Jarocho All Stars at UC Theatre in Berkeley, CA. Additional ALJO performances included concerts at Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts (May 11), UC Santa Barbara Arts & Lectures @ Campbell Hall (May 17), and a rare Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble (octet) performance at Bach Dynamite & Dancing Society in Half Moon Bay (May 13). ALJO concluded its California tour with a live recording on the San Diego – Tijuana border on location at the Fandango Fronterizo Festival, joining together with noted Son Jarocho artists from Veracruz, México, and other special guest artists drawing from various countries and musical genres.
“In May, the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra travels to what was formerly Mexican territory but is now known as California,” says Arturo O’Farrill. “We go armed with the message that whatever you call that land it is first and foremost planet earth and that whatever you call its inhabitants, they are all immigrant citizens of a nation that was violently taken from its indigenous people by force. We will record at the border wall with guest artists from across the globe delivering a similar message, that physical barriers such as border walls are tiny archaic solutions proposed by tiny minds to a problem that doesn’t exist and has never worked. Fear mongering is a sad and tiny way to govern the United States. Celebrating our freedom, fearlessness and inclusiveness is the birthright of allof the Américas.”