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{Tres} Rebuild Puerto Rico Concert & Fundraiser

Conversation and Audience Q&A immediately following the performance

Tickets $15 Adults

Free Admission for children and students

 Led by saxophonist José A. Zayas Cabán, {Trés} brings their Tribute to Puerto Rico national tour and fundraising concert to Philadelphia in a program that spotlights the music and composers of Puerto Rico. All donations will support Friends of Puerto Rico, which is dedicated to creating an economic and innovation hub in Puerto Rico by investing in the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs.

Interview: with José A. Zayas Cabán

You have been touring your Puerto Rico se Re-Inventa program around the country spotlighting music by Puerto Rican composers. What inspired you to put together and present such a program?

The short answer is the way in which mainstream media covered Hurricane María. The coverage became gradually more inhumane and very little was done to follow up on the long term impact of the storm. I thought our program could address various issues:
* In the United States, many don’t know Puerto Rico is a colony of the U.S.
* Program music by Puerto Rican composers as a way to share the feeling of uncertainty within the mainland Puerto Rican communities, and invoke a feeling of unity and solidarity within all Puerto Ricans.

The ensemble’s tour in 2019 includes your first annual multi-week residency in Puerto Rico. What are the activities of your residency and why did you feel compelled to launch this annual program in Puerto Rico?

The 2019 Residency is the first step, including:
* Concerts in each community we visit
* Spending time within each community we visit and get to know leaders, organizers and members of the community
* Bring aid to local music programs (reeds, drumsticks, strings), conduct workshops and preview our concerts
* Long term, fundraise to return and visit other cities/municipalities.
* With any luck, we will fundraise enough to realize a residency in 2020 until we can connect with the entire island. The Second step: compiling our experiences (video, photography) and sharing them on our web/social platforms.
* The Third step: We will continue to fundraise to commission Puerto Rican composers. Im very proud to share that, through my 2019 New Music USA Grant, I will be working with my trio on our first collaboration with saxophonist/composer Miguel Zenón, titled The Invisible Nation.
* These steps are motivated my idea that Puerto Rico must enter the consciousness of leaders and policy makers in the United States. I also believe that we need to cultivate a more intimate relationship, and better consciousness, amongst residents of the mainland and the island.

Your tours and performances, and a variety of other projects you have been involved in, use music to create awareness of the great beauty and diversity of Puerto Rican artists and traditions. They also shed light on important issues such as racial discrimination and social iniquities. How do you leverage music (which is an abstract form of communication) to convey these important ideas and ideals?

I always think about how to incorporate more elements within a concert. In terms of leveraging music…it has become more difficult to perform music without incorporating my awareness of social issues. So I combine the two.
* Discrimination, inequality and diversity are often described as a social issue, where we scrutinize the individual actions and words of others. The part I think we fail to consider, remember, and address is that discrimination is also the history of policy and infrastructure that considered the intersection of race/ethnicity and economic interests, and consistently favored one ethnic group over all others.
* In other words, white nationalism and economic nationalism are connected in deliberately delaying the growth and collective success of minorities around the world, including Puerto Rico. When we consider this intersection (race/ethnicity and economics), it is easier to visualize that the plaything field is uneven for minorities, and the effects are disproportionately worse farther down the economic scale.
* It has also become habitual for the rich, affluent, and comfortable (middle class) to look down, shame and ignore those who struggle economically, simply because they are poor. My project represents a conscious decision to do the opposite and embrace the disadvantaged.
* That is why I decided to contextualize our music through our collaboration with Daniel Immerwahr (How to Hide an Empire) and Todd Miller (Empire of BordersI). They write about the history of the relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico and how nationalism and imperialism have stripped Puerto Ricans from a true sense of self determination
* In 2020, the audience will have the opportunity to read and think about the composers’ and authors’ perspectives on: How did we get here? That so many Puerto Ricans, latinos and people of color live through the difficult intersection between discrimination and economic inequality. For example, the devastation caused by Irma and Maria amplified symptoms (poverty, housing and food insecurity, decaying infrastructure, etc.) that have existed throughout the entire history Puerto Rico and the United States share — at the expense of Puerto Rico.
* For me the question can boil down to limiting human rights. Disenfranchisement can be used to creat social division, promote desperation and discourage self improvement. This impacted my effort to use music as a vehicle to communicate the idea that we, as Puerto Ricans, latinos or people of color, should, collectively and openly, reject disenfranchisement from becoming our futre — which is why adopted the title “Puerto Rico Reinvents Itself” and am now working to bring the project to The People’s Music School in 2020 (who serves low income communities of color in Chicago). I want to make sure that our efforts are wide reaching and we insert ourselves within every part of the economic spectrum.

One of the many elements that make {Tres} unique is the ensemble’s commitment to social causes connected to Puerto Rico, such as fundraising concerts to assist in Hurricane Irma and Maria recovery efforts. The upcoming concert at Teatro Esperanza is raising funds for Friends of Puerto Rico. Can you describe what this organization does and explain why it’s important for our community to offer their support for this effort?

I believe Friends of Puerto Rico is doing just that, they are proactively focusing on the long term impact of marginalization

* I was impressed by their agility to set up a Hurricane recovery fundraising effort. They re-tooled their operations and did amazing work in helping bring food, and other resources, to the island. I encourage everyone to read more about the organization and will just say that, not only did they help bring food to children around the island, they are helping enable the future generation of Puerto Rican entrepreneurs, because I believe that the best change is the kind of change that can become permanent. Friends of Puerto Rico is attempting to give the next generation an opportunity to be successful, and that could very well be one the paths to ensuring continued success for the Puerto Rican community.

 

More information:
{Trés}: https://soundcloud.com/jose-antonio-zayas-cabanhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Owj93fVb-Aw&feature=youtu.be

Friends of Puerto Rico: https://www.friendsofpuertorico.org/

October 26 @ 7:30 pm - 09:30 pm
Sat , Oct 26
07:30 pm