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Born in 1983 in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, trumpeter-composer Etienne Charles is one of the most compelling jazz artists on the contemporary scene. His Creole Soul project taps into his Afro-Caribbean background, which encompasses calypso and Haitian voodoo music, as well as his interest in jazz, reggae, rock and R&B. The Charles family legacy includes a great-grandfather who emigrated from Martinique to Trinidad and formed a band; a grandfather who performed with Growling Tiger on folk and calypso recordings of the time; and his father, Francis Charles, who was a member of Phase II Pan Groove, one of the world’s leading steel bands, which Etienne eventually joined. He studied with SMF Associate Artistic Director Marcus Roberts at Florida State University and earned a Master of Music from The Juilliard School of Music. This performance will feature music from Charles’ latest release, Carnival: The Sounds a People Vol. 1.
One of the brightest young talents on the world music scene, vocalist, songwriter and percussionist Brenda Navarrete is making her SMF debut. As a youngster, Navarrete studied percussion and dreamed of a career in music. She graduated from Cuba’s prestigious Amadeo Roldán Conservatory in 2009, earning accreditations as an instrumentalist, ensemble and percussion instructor. In 2010, during Cuba’s prestigious Fiesta del Tambor, she took first prize for her batá drumming prowess, as well as for best song interpretation by a female artist. Navarrete has worked with the all-female Afro-Cuban percussion troupe Obiní Batá, and as a singer with the internationally acclaimed band Interactivo led by pianist-composer Roberto Carcassés. Her own music is a thoroughly contemporary blend of Afro-Cuban polyrhythms, Latin jazz, R&B, hip-hop, reggae and electronica.