John Santos: Filosofia Caribeña 2 Fundraising Campaign


Filosofía Caribeña 2 is the culmination of a recording/performance project begun in 2010 that resulted in major performances in 2011 at the Smithsonian in Washington DC, the Monterey Jazz Festival, and at the San Francisco Jazz Festival, and in the release of the highly acclaimed CD, Filosofía Caribeña Vol.1 (May, 2011).

The project was entirely made possible due to individual donations from many of you and matching grants by the East Bay Community Foundation. Filosofía Caribeña 2 is also the defining work of my career, encapsulating a worldview informed by creole tradition and born from activism, resistance to the colonial experience, and a desire to unite our working class communities across lines of color, age, gender, and nationality. In these urgent times of war, fear, intolerance, corruption, rampant pollution, and international crises, the themes of Filosofía Caribeña are especially appropriate. Those themes include love, community, peace, honoring of the ancestors, human rights, documentation of our own history and identities, and respect for the environment. The project consists of three parts: Original compositions and arrangements, production and completion of a full-length CD, and live performance.

Arguably, the most important underlying theme of Filosofía is its black/brown nature. Black and Latino communities are largely perceived as being totally independent of each other as well as hostile and competitive. That notion has been generally accepted within as well as outside those communities throughout much of the Americas, particularly in the US.

But the creole (criollo) nature of the Caribbean basin tells a different story – one of working class communities who recognize the African roots of their culture whether or not they are obviously African descendants. New Orleans, where our national art form (Jazz) was born, has been a major component of that Caribbean community since the earliest days of colonialism. Being of Puerto Rican and Cape Verdean descent, these creole roots have shaped my being and my artistic expression from the beginning and I have immense appreciation for the centuries-old traditional wisdom, respect and dignity that they represent.

I am highly honored and inspired by the artistry and spirit of collaboration of all my colleagues from the SF Bay Area, Puerto Rico, NY and Cuba who brought so much magic to this project. Our CD release celebration will be at the brand new SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco on March 23rd, 2013. Domingo Yaucano is an homage to my Puerto Rican great grandparents based on the Afro-Puerto Rican music/dance form know as bomba. It features the participation of Juan Gutierrez and Alexander Lasalle, founder/director and lead singer, respectively, of the seminal New York based Puerto Rican folkloric ensemble of the last 30 years, Los Pleneros de la 21, for whom I produced a Grammy-nominated recording on the Smithsonian/Folkways label in 2005. Las Hermanas Mirabal recounts the heroic deeds of the four Mirabal sisters who gave their lives fighting for social justice in the Dominican Republic during the Trujillo regime. It uses the Dominican merengue musical form as its foundation and features the celestial voice of Puerto Rican living legend, Jerry Medina. Cuando Del Africa Salí is a Cuban rumba denouncing the horrors of slavery and featuring some of Cuba’s best rumberos; Ana Pérez, Sandy Pérez, and Luis Cancino.

I have been in the studio a great deal over the past year-and-a-half recording and refining ideas and basic tracks and now must finish the production by wrapping up all the recording, and begin to assemble, edit, balance, mix, and master the recorded music, as well as attend to the production and manufacturing process of the CDs themselves which includes extensive liner notes, graphics, design and photography.

We are attempting to raise $15,000 towards the completion of Filosofía Caribeña 2, which will be used for the immediate costs of final recording sessions and post-production outlined above. If we are able to raise more than $15,000, then we can also apply funds to help defray the considerable overall costs of recording and artist fees as well as provide seed monies for a short promotional video about the project. 1000 thanks to all of you for considering supporting or continuing to support this project.

John Santos

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