Join us for the closing for Manuel Mendive: Nature, Spirit and Body with live Afro-Cuban praise poetry and music by artist Orlando Ferrand and master percussionist Roman Diaz, featuring special praise poem readings by the youth from P.S. 73 Highbridge.
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ORLANDO FERRAND is an award-winning poet, writer, and multidisciplinary artist. He is the founder and CEO of CreateTank and the editor and director of development of GNote Entertainment LLC. He also works as a literary translator and editor for several publishing houses and film studios. A member of PEN American Center, the National Writers Union, and Visual AIDS, he’s the author of the full-length poetry collections Citywalker and La Otra Isla as well as the memoir Apologia: Cuban Childhood in My Backpack, which was inserted in the English literature curriculum at CUNY in 2012. He’s an adjunct professor of creative writing, poetry translation and visual arts and a contributing writer and artist to PEN America, the Visual AIDS blog, POZ magazine, Linden Lane magazine, Adroit magazine, and La Peregrina. His featured TED talk and recital, Underneath the Accent of My Skin, was released in 2017. Ferrand has performed at The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Miller Theatre at Columbia University, The New York Poetry Festival, The Poets Network & Exchange, Inc., and the La Pluma y La Tinta, the Jasper Collective Visitations, the Sunday Salon, and the Miss Manhattan reading series. Ferrand’s third full-length poetry collection, Star Witness, was released this year. He is currently working on his first collection of short stories and novellas, another memoir, and his fourth full-length collection of poetry.
Master percussionist, scholar, and composer ROMAN DIAZ is regarded as a "living repository" of Afro Cuban music. He has performed and recorded with the likes of Mercedita Valdes, Rakes Profundas, Los Marqueses de Atares, Jane Bunett, Juan Carlos Fonnell, Orlando "Pumilia" Rios, Paquito D'Rivera, Oriente Lopez, and Giovanni Hidalgo. As a member of the seminal rumba ensemble Yoruba Andabo, he aided in the creation of the sound that has defined Rumba since the 1980s in Cuba and all around the world. The evolution of Guarapa Changeo, incorporating bata and the once archaic cajon, into modern rumba is the legacy of the late Pancho Quinto (founder of Yoruba Andabo)-and is piously carried on by Mr. Diaz. As a producer he has brought together some of the finest interpreters of rumba from the island as documented on the CD Wemilen. Mr. Diaz left Cuba in 1999 and moved to New York City. Since then he has been featured alongside Orlando" Puntilla" Rios in the critically acclaimed documentary Calle 54, and in Dame La Mana, a film that documents the life and times of Union City'S Esquina Habanera. His mastery of bata is present on countless recordings, along with his solid groove on congas. He is a sought-after musician for his artistic sensibility, charisma, and signature sound. Evidence of this can be heard as of late in his work with the highly acclaimed pianist and composer Michele Rosewoman, as part of her New Yor-Uba Ensemble; Francisco Mora Catlett's Afro Horn, with internationall acclaimed vanguard Jazz pianist and composer David Virelles; and Danilo Perez's Panama 500 Project, where he is also featured in a scholarly capacity.