The 22nd Dominican Republic Jazz Festival, sponsored by FEDUJAZZ and the Ministry of Tourism, successfully concluded a stunning four-city free concert and music education workshop tour of the northern island with acclaimed international artists. Thousands attended each show in Sosua, Puerto Plata, and Cabarete, on October 26 and from November 1-4, 2018. The concerts were held outdoors, at Centro León in Santiago, the town square in Puerto Plata and right on the beach in Sosua and Cabarete.
The Festival began in Santiago on October 26th with celebrated Colombian harpist Edmar Castañeda and beloved Dominican singer Pavel Núñez who had the thousands in attendance singing along to his songs. It concluded on Cabarete Beach, with a magical performance from living jazz legend and original Buena Vista Social Club member Omara Portuondo, followed by a dance party to the sounds of accordion-vocalist El Prodigo and his band, featuring saxophonist Sandy Gabriel.
The Festival also featured GRAMMY-award winning Brazilian vocalist Luciana Souza, local Dominican musical ensemble Grupo Bonyé, Italian vocalist Sissy Castrogiovanni, Israeli vocalist Tutti Druyan (featuring saxophonist Edmar Colon), Dominican fusion pioneer Xiomara Fortuna, and a diverse group of musicians from the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, featuring director Marco Pignataro on saxophone.
Each year’s Festival is centered on a musical theme, and this year the Jazz Festival celebrated and explored the role of the human voice in the world of jazz. As Marco Pignataro, Artistic Advisor to the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival and Managing Director of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, put it: “This year’s festival theme is “Voices for Peace & Humanity” with a special emphasis on the impact of singers in jazz to bring forward a powerful message of freedom, creativity and hope for all mankind.” Maria Elena Gratereaux, President of the FEDUJAZZ board, thanks the public and the FEDUJAZZ team for helping to make this free event a reality, saying, “The DR Jazz Festival is handmade, with the soul, and the will of many who believe in the cultural and artistic contribution that this event offers to our country; and at the same time it helps us to fulfill the objectives of the foundation of bringing music education to more than 100 children playing instruments such as: piano, clarinet, drums, saxophone, guitar, drums. These children have the opportunity to live musically all their lives, and here they are imbued with responsibility, love, peace, honesty, teamwork and respect for the environment.”