The group tells its stories through music, dance, and traditional costumes, demonstrating why UNESCO officially proclaimed the language a cultural treasure. Join us for the pre-show drum workshop (a limited number of drums will be available). The Garifuna Jazz Ensemble will open the concert.


“a completely irresistible groove... When the melodies kick in, the lushness is overwhelming.” THE WALL STREET JOURNAL




Tickets: $16/$10 Members & Students





Garifuna Jazz Ensemble


The Garifuna Jazz Ensemble is an updated group which stems from the original band formerly known as The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble. The group strives to maintain its original mission of preserving the language and culture through music. While there are more activists of the Garifuna culture from the United States and across the globe, the culture is still considered an endangered language. The Garifuna Jazz Ensemble brings awareness of the endangered language of the Garifuna People that was proclaimed a “Masterpiece and Oral Intangible Heritage of Humanity.”  This designation was made in 2001 by UNESCO (United National Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization)


Lucy Blanco, vocalist and one of the original co-founders of the former group remains as lead vocalist.  She is joined by a cast of well-seasoned musicians who have cultivated a great sound working together over the last three years. The other core members of the group are pianist Mario Sprouse, percussionist Gary Fritz, bass player Hiliard Greene, violinist Luisa Bastidas, saxophonist Julian Meyers and dancers Miriam Suazo and Mariano Martinez. (photo)  

The newest addition to our group is Garifuna drummer Andy Ordonez. This diverse group of musicians bringing what they have to the table create a new sound with newly arranged compositions of familiar jazz standards and traditional music. The presentation of Garifuna rhythms such as Punta, Paranda and Hungu hungu along with the use of indigenous instruments such as the Maracas, Garifuna Drums, Turtle-Shells, Conch Shells, and the Garifuna Language along with contemporary instruments create a distinct sound.


Another important purpose of this music is to demonstrate the universal message of one love. The history of African-American, Latin America and the Garifuna people and many other cultures in this world share a similar history where there has always been a struggle to maintain freedom, liberty and preservation of its culture, traditions and language. It is an awesome testament to our Creator when people can come together and spread a positive message through music.







This engagement of The Garifuna Collective featuring Umalali is funded through Southern Exposure: Performing Arts of Latin America, a program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. 


Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts dba Flushing Town Hall is a not for profit organization which receives major support from the National Endowment for the Arts; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Mayor Bill de Blasio; Queens Borough President Melinda Katz; New York State Assembly Members Ron Kim, Ed Braunstein and Nily Rozic; New York City Council, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Council Members Costa Constantinides, Daniel Dromm, Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Peter Koo, Karen Koslowitz, and Paul A. Vallone; Howard Gilman Foundation; and the Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation.


Support is also provided by Astoria Bank, Bijoux Image, Cathay Bank, Celestial Love Foundation, Michael Cheng / Epos Development, FTH’s Chinese Cultural Committee, Chinese Radio Network, Dr. Hsing-Lih Chou / New York Institute of Culture and the Arts, Con Edison, Crossings TV, Culture Center of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York (Flushing), Fook Funeral Group, Barbara Garii / St. Joseph’s College, Simon Gerson, the Glow Foundation, Howard Graf & Kathy Donovan, Hakka Association of New York , Heather Harrison / Farrell Fritz, David M. Hunter, Raymond D. Jasen, JoAnn She & Co. Ltd., Siu Mui Lau, Nelson Lee / Flushing Bank, Susan Lee, James S. Liao, Steven Lii / New United NY Corp, Linden Arts Fund for Children, the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, Materials for the Arts, William McClure / Queens College, New York Shandong Association, the NYC & Company Foundation, Queens College, Georgiana Reese-Benatti / New York Community Bank, RUDANCENY Ballroom Dance School / Asian American Dance Sport Corp, Mike Sperendi & Jan Schneider, Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York (Manhattan), Veronica Tsang, and Tony & Tai Wang/WAC Lighting.


Our work is also supported by gifts made in the memory of Irene Seligman.