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Sounds of the Ghetto Youth

Har-You Percussion Group

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When riots ravaged Harlem in 1964, the negative effects lasted well into the remainder of the decade and beyond. What Roger Sanders — aka Montego Joe — did to heal the wounds through music is evidenced on this recording of teenage musicians, supported through the auspices of the Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited Act, the vehicle through which Har-You were born. Though not in actuality a straight percussion ensemble, Har-You were a multi-instrument large ensemble heavily based in Latin and Afro-Cuban rhythmic sounds, with a horn section, group vocals, or lead soloist up front. The exciting music made by this organization stemmed from Joe's determination to make good from a bad situation, and he and the group succeeded triumphantly. Though virtually none of these players became prominent professionals, alto saxophonist Nelson Sanamiago stands out as he leads the charge on the "Afro Blue"-styled "Oua-Train," while John Moody's solid bass work drives the band in typical 6/8 time. The montuno style of repeat piano chords is employed frequently, especially on the dance-oriented "Barrett's Bag," which is a great workout for the four horns, and they really step it up during "Tico," a singing, joyous melody reminiscent of Tito Puente. The straight descarga jam of "Santa Cruz" features a clave beat, montuno piano from Nick Kirksey, and the atmospheric lead flute of Ray Allen. Percussion features abound in introductions and midsections, but they are front and center on their theme "Har-You" and with chanting vocals in tribal fashion during "Ngoma." The bandmembers also recognize their time and place with the all-funky "Feed Me Good" in a tribute to cooks and chefs, while the Saturday night fun tune "Welcome to the Party" is a good-time, simple, and direct song combining shouts and a Latin melody that is danceable and infectious. The CD reissue features a lengthy explanation from Joe recorded in 2008, discussing why the band was founded, the circumstances surrounding the recording in 1967, the tenor of the times, and the impact of the band's performances in New York City — and Joe also indicates that many of the group members are no longer living. A credible effort from Montego Joe and his young charges, Sounds of the Ghetto Youth stands not only as a fine musical effort, but as a testament to perseverance and the value of making something out of virtually nothing. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi


Genre: Världsmusik

Aktiva år: '60s, '90s

An offshoot of the Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited (aka Har-You), a social activism organization founded by Dr. Kenneth Clark in 1962, the Harlem Youth Percussion Group encouraged creativity and expression and offered a way for young African-Americans to get in touch with their musical heritage and learn about music. Jamaican-born percussionist Montegro Joe was asked by Julien Euell (executive director of the arts and culture division of Har-You Percussion) to teach Afro and jazz percussion....
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Sounds of the Ghetto Youth, Har-You Percussion Group
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