“Music brings people together regardless of race, religion, and personal views,” said Naiomy Diaz Pagan, AMLA Youth Latin Jazz Ensemble percussionist. She is the story-teller in the journey of Artístas y Músicos Latino Americanos’ pop-up performance tour, Latin Jazz For All.
The tour was the result of a desire to share Latin Jazz with communities that don’t typically have exposure to this genre of music. Naiomy and her fellow performers are incredibly talented musicians from AMLA’s Youth Latin Jazz Ensemble, comprised of students from AMLA’s School of Latin Jazz. They and the Adult Latin Jazz Ensemble, comprised of the school’s alumni and instructors, were the headliners of this amazing tour to share our culture and add a little spice to our neighbors’ lives across Philadelphia.
Locations where our protagonists set up performances include: The North East Treatment Center, Norris Square, Powers Park, Chinatown Night Market, The Porch at 30th Street Station, and The Oval at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The music left a powerful impact on everyone who witnessed these students’ talent.
But, it’s not just the listeners who gained from the experience. The musicians truly valued the opportunity to play for diverse audiences. “We would like to thank AMLA and our teachers for the opportunity to make Latin Jazz a reality in our lives and not just an idea,” said Naiomy at the conclusion of their story.
AMLA has given these youth a chance to hone their skills and share their passion with audiences from all walks of life. Although those audiences may have never experienced Latin culture before, passion is easily translated through music where rhythm and soul transcend any form of cultural barrier.
It’s easy to see on their faces and hear in their voices that these young performers are passionate about their music. This is the opportunity that Esperanza and AMLA want to give talented young Latinos: to realize their dreams by giving them the skills they need to excel in whatever they do and the occasion to share it with the world.
Esperanza is both fortunate and proud to have talent like this group of students have in our community.
The LJFA tour was made possible by funds from the Knight Foundation, Esperanza, The Philadelphia Foundation, and the Samuel S. Fels Foundation. A Special Thanks to these organizations as well as University City District, parents of student performers, and friends.