Tiga Jean-Baptiste is a multi-talented and accomplished young Haitian musician. Born into a family deeply rooted in traditional Afro-Haitian music, Tiga is continuing his family legacy, while embracing music of other lands. Tiga began drumming at the age beside his father Bonga, a master of the Haitian drum. He accompanied Bonga throughout the Haitian countryside, learning many different regional drumming styles. While in his early teens, Tiga studied jazz with renowned Haitian jazz saxophonist Thurgot Theodat from whom he quickly learned circular breathing technique that enhanced his skills on Haitian bamboo, tin horns (called vaksinn koné), didjeridoo. Within a few short years of picking up the Shona Mbira, Tiga exhibited such skill and mastery he caught the attention of Zimbabwe's greatest exponents the Shona mbira, Thomas Mapfumo and Stella Chiweshe with whom he performed and trained respectively. He has already established himself as an illustrious sideman and session musicians. To date Tiga has performed with Grace Jones, Urban Tap, Emeline Michele, John Legend, Jean-Paul Bourelly, Mozayik and Buyu Ambroise in addition to his core membership in Bonga & the Vodou Drums of Haiti. In 2000, he was invited to Japan with the Tet Kale Orchestra. Tiga is a teaching artist with the non-profit organization Global Kids and he been a featured accompanist with Pat Hall Dance, Urban Tap and Jean-Leon Destine. www.myspace.com/negtiginen
Sheila Anozier has lived in New York most of her life, but her first memories, her childhood, her core is housed in Haiti where dance is prevalent to everything. She began a formal training in dance at Long Island University where she met Ella Thompson Moore, an original member of The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, who encouraged her to keep dancing. But it wasn't until she was under the support and inspiration of Pat Hall did she find her freedom in it. In June 2008, she toured Vietnam with Peter Yarrow and the Fund for Reconciliation and Development, as dancer and background vocalist. Later that summer, she performed in Les Nuits Atypiques in Langon, France with "Bethany and Rufus" and "Vodou Drums of Haiti." In the summer of 2007 she served at choreographer and dancer for Brave New World Repertory Theatre: "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry" at Celebrate Brooklyn, Prospect Park Bandshell. Sheila toured with the critically acclaimed Tamango's Urban Tap from 2001 to 2003. In December 2002 she toured with singer/dancer Wunmi Olaiya in Tokyo, Japan. Her performances have taken her to venues and festivals across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia including the Montreal International Jazz Festival, Vollos Festival in Greece, The Hague Holland Dance Festival in the Netherlands, and the Altstadtherbst Festival in Germany. New York performances include Lincoln Center "Out of Doors", The Joyce, Dance Theatre Workshop, The Kitchen, and SOB's. firstname.lastname@example.org
Picture credit:Manu Sassoonian
Keeping alive the legacy of Vodou in Afro-Haitian music is Zacka - one of Haiti’s fastest-rising young percussionists. Zacka began playing drums at the age of five and received his training as a ceremonial drummer in the temples and lakous of the La Plaine province, studying with some of the best, most significantly his mentor and father Bonga, a world-renowned master of the Haitian drum. He is skilled in both the Rada and Petwo styles. In 2008 Zacka was invited to Bordeaux France to perform in Les Nuits Atypiques de Langon festival as part of a humanitarian tour featuring renowned American folk great Peter Yarrow. With a solid musical foundation and repertoire of Afro-Haitian rhythms, Zacka embodies the spirit of Haiti’s young, contemporary roots musicians, preserving the Afro-Haitian musical culture.
Rufus is one of the leading voices of the modern cello. After years of experimentation and practice he now plays a self designed 5-string electric cello that expands the bass range and tonal possibilities of the instrument. Rufus has made a career of going where few cellists have gone before. Rufus has performed with Kasse Mady, Aretha Franklin, Odetta, Vernon Reid, Ross Daily, Kif and more. His rhythmic and sonic approach has led to collaborations with musicians from the Balkans, Ireland, West Africa, Greece and the Caribbean. He has toured throughout the Americas and Europe with numerous groups and he is one half the duo Bethany & Rufus. Rufus was first introduced to the cello at age three through the Suzuki method. By age 6 he had begun his studies with the renowned Czech cellist Zdenick Konicek. He continued to play classical music as a teen but was increasingly inspired to find a voice that would allow him to reach a larger audience and work with contemporary instrumentation. www.rufusmusic.com
Alisha began her training in jazz, tap, and ballet at the age of 4 advancing to train at The Joffrey Ballet School. By her teens she had discovered her passion and talent for West African dance, and was taken under the wing of master dancer/drummer Ladji Camara. After two years of classical music studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Alisha went on to receive a BA in Cultural Studies and a BFA in Jazz from The New School in NYC. Shortly after, a hot list of U.S.-based African dance companies sought Alisha as a company member including Maimouna Keita, Djoniba Dance, Ballet Bagata and Ballet Bougaraboo. She has lived and studied in Senegal, West Africa. Combining her gifts for dance with vocal talents landed Alisha several performance invitations to tour and record. An accomplished vocalist, she worked under the direction of Lester Bowie; and performed and/or recorded with Vieux Diop, Kasse Mady, Emeline Michel and tap dancer, Savion Glover. Using her knowledge and talents Alisha inspires young and old to explore and learn about African music and culture. She teaches dance to children in New York City public and private schools, and is a featured performer with celebrated percussion groups Bonga & the Vodou Drums of Haiti and Heritage.
Picture credit: Derek Jackson