Kinshasa in Harlem: The Cradle of Culture Meets the Diaspora

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Rafael Benavides Productions & The Influence TTT Inc. present: Kinshasa in Harlem: The Cradle of Culture Meets the Diaspora
Press conference October 1st, 2013 5 – 6:30 pm

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Kinshasa in Harlem is a cultural initiative started by Congolese artist Isaac Katalay with the goal of promoting the connections between the music and arts of the Congo and those of the African Diaspora. With his multi-ethnic, multi-cultural group, the Life-Long Project Band, Katalay brings the spirit of contemporary Kinshasa to uptown New York City and traces the influence of Congolese culture in humanity. As part of this initiative, Katalay has col-laborated with many African and Diasporic artists, including Belgian-Congolese rapper Baloji, Cuban master-percussionist Joaquin Pozo, Garifuna cultural ambassador Rolando “Chi Chi” Sosa, and the Dutty Artz DJ crew.
On October 5th 2013, Kinshasa in Harlem comes to the Poet’s Den Theater & Gallery, 309 East 108th Street, after building a grassroots following through a popular residency at the uptown community hotspot Astor Row Café. This event is not to be missed. There will be a press conference on October 1st from 5 to 6:30 pm at the theater.

Kinshasa in Harlem: The Cradle of Culture Meets the Diaspora
Featuring: Isaac Katalay & The Life-Long Project Band
Special Guests: Garifuna artist Rolando “Chi Chi” Sosa; Cuban master-drummer Joaquin Pozo; Congolese-American songstress Rafiya.
DJ Selections: by Garifuna ambassador DJ P Whyte.
Poet’s Den Theater & Gallery
309 East 108th Street, New York, NY 10029
Doors: 7:00 pm
Tickets: Regular Admission: $20
VIP: $30 (includes premium seating and a cocktail at the reception)
Super VIP: $50 (includes premium seating at the theater, a table at the gallery reception and a bottle of wine or 4 cocktails)

isaacIsaac Katalay is a musician, dancer and orator whose main objec-tive is to promote the beauty of human connections. Born in Kinsha-sa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo, he now calls New York City home as well. Music became Isaac’s path to navigate the world; with a family of traditional healers, and faiths varying from Christianity to Islam, music is the corner stone that holds the fragments of his identity started with the mbonda or ngoma drum at a very early stage, a fascination that led to the drum set, bass and guitar, and to the study of dance, folklore, musicals and plays. For the past two dec-ades, he has worked as an ensemble musician, choreographer, danc-er, and speaker. Even as a young artist, Isaac performed at renowned venues throughout the United States including the Apollo Theater, Manhattan Center, Celebrate Brooklyn Prospect Park Bandshell, St. Nick’s Pub, the Schomburg Center Library and universities through-out the United States such as Colombia University, John Jay College, Baruch College, Harvard University, Georgia Tech, University of Virginia, and the University of Chicago. He has per-formed with or along international African music stars such as Richard Bona, Kanda Bongo Man, Fally Ipupa, Shiko Mawatu, Lokassa ya Mbongo and Nguma Lokito (Soukous Stars Band), Shimita El Diego, Wawali Bonane (Yoka Nzenze Band), Diblo Dibala, Samba Mapangala, Bouro Mpela, Eli Kihonia, Baby “Black” Ndombe, Felix Wazekwa, King Kester Emeneya, Malage Del-ugendo, Mbuta Masamba; Congolese gospel artists such as Reno Mvumbi, Olivie Kalabasi, Joel Mbuyi, Kashi Kashala; the Belgian-Congolese rapper Baloji; the Breton rock band Red Cardell, and many more.

Nonetheless, Isaac is still looking forward, intellectually, artistically and culturally. He formed his own group, The Life-Long Project Band, with a focus on forms of music related to Congolese culture, including Diasporic forms. The Life-Long Project Band has performed at venues across New York City, including: Le Poisson Rouge, The Plaza Hotel, Hudson Cafe, the Shrine, Sylvana, and numerous festivals including both the African Day Parade & Festival and the African Dias-pora Parade & Festival. They are currently preparing to go into the studio to record Isaac’s first full-length album.

One of Isaac’s goals is to train leaders and establish both social and professional networking in extended communities, through music and initiatives. He is also the founder of The Influence T.T.T. (Time as Tool for Treatment) Inc and the Life Long Project LLC. The Influence TTT fo-cuses on the building of leadership through positive influence among young professionals throughout New York City and crafting a positive model for the youth of Kinshasa. On the other hand, The Life Long Project LLC is a entrepreneurship venture which will aim at promoting ar-tistic ventures while incorporating business models to build and garnish musical talents, artistic innovations and set up management for upcoming young African talents. The artist has also cre-ated the concept of CONTEMPTRA, a dance, music and style concept which promotes both con-temporary and traditional Congolese aesthetics. Overall, the artist is working on initiatives to promote cultural, social, and most importantly human values.

rolamdoRolando “Chi Chi” Sosa was born in Honduras on the Caribbean Coast of Central America, in the village known as Sambo Creek. He began his career playing the Garifuna drum known as the garaun and then moved on to playing trap drums. Today, he plays over 22 different instruments. Chichi is the musical composer and the musi-cal genius behind 55+ songs for Stonetree Records, including the number one World Music hit album “Watina”, by Andy Palacio. He is also the composer and arranger of all 12 songs on Aurelio Mar-tinez’s groundbreaking album “Garifuna Soul” and several tracks on Martinez’ sophomore album “Laru Beya”. His unique sound can also be heard on several tracks on the “Umalali – Garifuna Women’s Pro-ject.” Most recently, he has worked on Kobo Town’s “Jumbie in the Jukebox”, Danny Michel’s “Black Birds are Dancing All Over Me”, and the latest album from The Garifuna Collective “Ayo”.
Chichi played a pivotal role in founding “The Garifuna Collective” that toured with Andy Palacios. He spent time in Belize and Honduras auditioning musicians to create the band. Subsequently, he per-formed the same task in developing “The Garifuna Soul” band in support of Aurelio Martinez. Chichi has traveled the globe energizing audiences while performing with both “The Garifuna Collective” and “Garifuna Soul.” He has appeared on stages in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, The Orient, North and South America. He was recognized at WOMEX for his contribution to Watina. Currently, he is devel-oping his own Paranda band, Garifuna Jazz, as he launches his solo career.

rafyiaRafiya was born in Los Angeles to Congolese parents: a diplomat fa-ther and a sociologist mother. Due to her father’s career, she traveled extensively during her formative years: living in Congo (Democratic Republic), the Cape Verde Islands, Benin, Senegal, Guinea, Barbados and Ivory Coast.

She has worked with Oscar Kidjo, recorded in Youssou N’Dour’s studio and toured France and North Africa with French rap star, Mokobe. Every passing collaboration, studio session and performance strength-ened her ever-present belief that she would be spending her life mak-ing music, making people smile, dance and think.
Rafiya released her debut album, “Amazing,” in 2010 to great acclaim from domestic and international soul music aficionados in the U.S, France, Congo, and Mozambique. This success has allowed her to build a solid and growing fanbase. Since then she has performed extensively across the country and overseas, treating fans to her electri-fying blend of contemporary African rhythms and modern soul music. She premiered her new single “Where I’m From” in May 2012. The song is an ode to Africa and to being African. Rafiya writes and sings about the human experience in French and English but regardless of your native tongue, her passion translates itself in the melody. She is currently putting the finishing touches on her latest sin-gle “My Number” which will be released in December. It is a track that will surely make you dance and she is excited to share it with the world!

cubaCuba is a country full of great percussionists and one of its ‘drum kings’ was Chano Pozo, who opened the path to many Cuban musi-cians in New York. Now his descendent Joaquín Pozo Calderón arrives in New York to claim his lineage in the story. Joaquín is the grandson of Chano Pozo’s first cousin, Domingo, however Joaquin’s main influence comes from his father, a composer from the eastern Guantanamo area, named Perico Jorge Pozo Sayú, au-thor of hits as ‘Ajá, Que Risa Me Da’, ‘La Negra Quiere Chocolate’ and ‘Perico Esta Llorando’, among others that were later played by Pello El Afrokan.
Joaquín grew up playing percussion and singing in the famous intense rumbas in El Solar de La Cal-ifornia, learning the Afro-Cuban traditions through oral/aural transmission. He was also a member of the comparsa group La Boyera, one of the most famous carnival groups in Havana.
Joaquín started to play professionally in 1985 in the Orú band, a group led by guitarist Sergio Vitier, with whom he traveled abroad for the first time. Later on he joined The Great Benny Moré Jazz Band, traveling this time to Mexico. During the Cuban Salsa boom of the early 1990’s, Joaquin joined a band called Layé, where he worked with Fidelito Morales, Pepe Maza and Armando Gola. He was with these bands for two years, doing several worldwide tours. He recently relocated to New York City.


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