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SANTOS – Skin to Skin – A Searchlight Films Production

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John Santos

Directed by, Kathryn Golden
Produced by, Ashley James and Kathryn Golden
2022 / English and Spanish with English subtitles / 75 minutes

SANTOS – Skin to Skin is a film portrait of community activist and seven-time Grammy nominee John Santos, a “keeper of the Afro-Caribbean flame.” In this illuminating documentary, Santos links the rhythms of his ancestors to contemporary struggles against urban gentrification, social inequality, and racial injustice. His fingers and palms on the skin of the conga peel back the legacy of colonialism while navigating the politics of culture and global migration.

One of the world’s foremost exponents of Afro-Latin music, Santos, through his mixed Puerto Rican and Cape Verdean heritage, musical storytelling in performance, and legendary percussion classes, strives to unite and expand his kaleidoscopic audience.

The filmmakers follow Santos from rehearsals in his garage studio in Oakland, California, to performances at local community centers, gigs with congueros in the barrios of Puerto Rico, and concert stages around the United States.

Rich in unforgettable musical performances, SANTOS – Skin to Skin captures Santos playing alongside a stellar cast of international jazz musicians, including Eddie Palmieri, Raul Rekow and Orestes Vilató of Santana, Omar Sosa, Rico Pabón, Ernesto Oviedo, and Jerry Medina.

Kathryn Golden, Director/Producer/Editor

She has produced award-winning films including: Producer/Director Zenju’s Path (BOS/PBS, Netherlands) commissioned documentary about the first female African-American Buddhist priests calling to Zen with her drum; Producer/Director Moments of Illumination – Lawrence Jordan (BOS/PBS, Netherlands) commissioned documentary of the Bay Area animator/founder of avant-garde cinema in America; Producer/Director/Editor, Across Time and Space German co-production broadcast documentary about the Bondy family surviving Nazi Germany to preserve pioneering educational ideas in America; Producer/Editor And Still We Dance, (PBS) a one hour portrait of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival; Producer/Editor, Kitka & Davka in Concert (PBS); Producer/Director/Editor, American Treasure – The Folk Art of Joaquim Miguel Almeida New England regional PBS. Awards include: National Endowment for the Arts, San Francisco Advertisers Short Film Award, Isadora Duncan (IZZY) Award.

Ashley James, Producer/Cinematography

Former journalist, The Hartford Times, (Gannett News Service) Hartford, CT and station manager of KTOP/Channel 10, Oakland, CA. where he garnered 32 national awards for excellence in television programming. Recent work includes: Director, Kitka and Davka in Concert (PBS); Director/Cinematographer, Bomba – Dancing the Drum, (PBS); Producer/Director Home and Almost Free, about Oakland ex-convicts; Producer/Director/Cinematographer And Still We Dance, (PBS) a one hour portrait of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. Awards include: the AFI Independent Filmmaker award; three CINE Golden Eagles; eight National Endowment for the Arts production grants; grants from the PBS Latino Public Broadcasting Consortium, National Black Programming Consortium, honors from the San Francisco Black Film Festival Newark, Black Film Festival (Paul Robeson Award), and Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame. James is a past governor at the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Northern California chapter.

Roberta Singer, Co-Producer

Roberta Singer PhD, Ethnomusicologist & Folklorist, presented Puerto Rican and Cuban music traditions for 40 years, City Lore, NY, with a mission to document, present, and advocate for grassroots cultures and ensure their living and traditions. Principal collaborator with Searchlight Films Bomba—Dancing the Drum, PBS National Documentary Co-Producer.

Jorge Oliver, Consulting Producer

He is a Puerto Rican filmmaker and the first Latino to be named Dean of The School of Art, at Pratt University, New York. His films have been featured in film festivals in the United States and around the world, including the Cork International Film Festival, the Havana Film Festival and the Festival de Viña del Mar in Chile. He was the first male filmmaker in the history of Puerto Rican cinema to openly deal with gay images and his production, Free to Love won the best documentary feature award at the 2014 Rincón International Film Festival in Puerto Rico. Oliver was a principal collaborator on BOMBA – Dancing the Drum with Searchlight Films.

Santos - Skin to Skin
SANTOS – Skin to Skin – A Searchlight Films Production

FEATURING: JOHN SANTOS, THE JOHN SANTOS SEXTET, DR. JOHN CALLOWAY, MARCO DIAZ, SAUL SIERRA, DAVID FLORES, MELECIO MAGDALUYO.

AND: AIDA SALAZAR, AVELINA SALAZAR SANTOS, JOAO SALAZAR SANTOS

GUEST APPEARANCES: EDDIE PALMIERI, ORESTES VILATÓ, BOBBI CÉSPEDES, JERRY MEDINA, RAUL REKOW, ANTHONY BLEA, RICO PABÓN, OMAR SOSA, ABHIJIT BANERJEE, KENNY ENDO, PAQUITO D’RIVERA, WALFREDO DE LOS REYES, WAYNE WALLACE, ERNESTO OVIEDO, DESTANI WOLF, JAVIER NAVARRETTE, JOSÉ ROBERTO HERNANDEZ, ELENA SERRANO, ROBERT FARRIS THOMPSON, LINDA LUCERO, CECILIA ENGELHART, ORLANDO TORRIENTE, SANDRA GARCIA RIVERA, RAUL “LALI” DE LA CARIDAD GONZALES BRITO.

SANTOS-Skin to Skin Film Poster
SANTOS-Skin to Skin Film Poster

Founder, Editor, Webmaster: Latin Jazz Network, World Music Report, That Canadian Magazine. A passionate and committed communicator with a sensibility for the arts based in Toronto, Canada.

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New Releases

Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band to release new recording: “Vox Humana”

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Drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, bandleader, educator, Bobby Sanabria
Drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, bandleader, educator, Bobby Sanabria

Celebrating 25 years! The multi-Grammy nominated Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band is set to release their new recording: “Vox Humana” featuring vocalists Janis Siegel, Antoinette Montague, Jennifer Jade Ledesna.

Recorded Live at Dizzy’s Club Cola in NYC
Release Date: Spring 2023
Record Label: Jazzheads

New York – January 18th – On the heels of their Grammy nominated and 2019 Jazz Journalists Association Album of the Year Award winning critically acclaimed masterwork, West Side Story Reimagined, and in celebration of their 25th anniversary – drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, bandleader, educator, Bobby Sanabria and his Multiverse Big Band return with their most ambitious work to date, VOX HUMANA.

Bobby states, “Over the course of our many Grammy nominated albums we’ve occasionally featured tracks with vocals. But I’ve always envisioned doing an entire vocal album framed by the Multiverse Big Band. Now with three of today’s greatest contemporary singing talents – multi-Grammy award winner Janis Siegel from the Manhattan Transfer, blues and jazz Queen Antoinette Montague, and the multilingual powerhouse, Jennifer Jade Ledesna, today that vision has finally become a reality.

The individually distinct voices that Janis, Antoinette, and Jennifer possess make them each unique. But the X factor they all have is they are all masterful improvisors in the best sense of the jazz tradition. Added to the mix is our great conguero, Oreste Abrantes, who also sings lead on two tracks. Having that multi- dimensional vocal talent framed by the power, nuance, and tonal variety that only a big band can provide, combined with the repertoire I’ve chosen to showcase them and the band and the incredible variety of Afro- Latin, straight ahead swing, funk, R&B, and rock rhythmic vocabulary that we are masters of and readily have at our disposal in the Multiverse, I believe VOX HUMANA will prove to be our greatest achievement. 

Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band: "Vox Humana"
Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band: “Vox Humana”

That repertoire has a personal meaning to me as I see VOX HUMANA as a biographical work. I’m a product of my environment. I’m a Nuyorican, a person of Puerto Rican descent growing up in New York City. In my case the South Bronx during a time period when pop, jazz, R&B, rock, funk, and Latin music of all kinds all co-existed as equals. It was the last era when the big bands of masters like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Machito, Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez, Don Ellis, and more were in the public eye, and they became my heroes. Vocalists who could deliver a message with subtlety, nuance, and when needed, power, were called upon to deliver poetry crafted by genius song writers. You’ll hear all that and more through the soaring vocals and improv talents of Janis, Antoinette, and Jennifer, along with Oreste, as well as the incredible jazz-oriented arrangements and exciting Pan Afro-Latin rhythms played by a big band that literally takes no prisoners when it hits the stage.”

The repertoire Bobby speaks of includes 1 original and 12 unique re-workings of pop hits like Spooky, Christine Aguilera’s Genie In a Bottle, and Steely Dan’s Do It Again; NEA Jazz Master Eddie Palmieri’s, Mi Congo and Puerto Rico along with the island’s greatest composer, Rafael Hernandez’s, Capullito De Aleli; the classic Joe Cuba R&B bolero, To Be With You; Brazilian standards Partido Alto and Amazonas; and from the world of Broadway theater, I Love You Porgy, and the iconic jump blues, Let The Good Times Roll. The CD also includes an original message bearing piece, Who Taught You That, as well as what may possibly be the most exciting interpretation of the Ellington associated classic, Caravan, and that has ever been recorded. 

Adding to the excitement of the performance, VOX HUMANA was recorded in front of a live audience. Bobby states, “As with our previous work, we recorded VOX HUMANA live at NYC’s Dizzy’s Club Coca – Cola. My musicians represent NYC’s finest. That means they’re the greatest in the world. The added level of excitement created by the audience inspired us in the MULTIVERSE Big Band to a heightened new level of performance virtuosity that listeners will hear explode out of the speakers just as the audience at Dizzy’s experienced in person.”

The history of the Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band is indeed one based on his rich multi-cultural heritage as a Nuyorican growing up in New York City’s South Bronx. His concept of having a big band that has no genre boundaries with limitless possibilities was forged 25 years ago back in 1998. It has yielded a series of groundbreaking, critically acclaimed albums that have all been Grammy-nominated with the band thrilling audiences worldwide at venues like the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, The Ravinia Festival, Verona Jazz Festival in Europe, and more.

Content Source: Two for the Show Media

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