THE AFRO-SEMITIC EXPERIENCE
The workshops and clinics that The Afro-Semitic Experience offer come in many forms--as a group or with individual members leading specialized workshops. Every member of the group is an experienced teacher. Bringing The Afro-Semitic Experience in for a series of workshops is like bringing in an entire university of musical and spiritual knowledge and information.
Teen and Adult Vocal and Instrumental Workshops
The group works with singers and instrumentalists: teaching the process of creating inter-cultural music as well as infusing spirituality into performance. The group has scores that can be rehearsed and performed with Choirs, Big Bands of any size and Orchestras of almost any type.
Unity in the Community: A Program for Youths of any Age
Unity in the Community is a workshop program involving the study music and culture offered by the members of the Afro-Semitic Experience. These workshops use African, African American and Jewish music and culture as a guide to help all people to understand themselves and each other so that we can break down the wall of fear and create a unified community. This takes place in a holistic environment where culture, music, and self-respect are joined together.
Will Bartlett has thirty years of experience as a professional woodwind performer and educator. He has led saxophone master classes and workshops on jazz improvisation, jazz theory, arranging and composing for the small ensemble, and Klezmer clarinet interpretation.
Warren Byrd is a pianist, composer, and vocalist with an extensive and eclectic background. He has led workshops in Jazz Composition and Theory, Jazz Piano, as well as Gospel Arranging and Composition, and Vocal Training. Some of his workshop titles include Synthesis and Music as Spiritual Process.
Dr. David Chevan specializes in the history and performance of jazz and Jewish music. Along with his writing and arranging for jazz and Klezmer groups, he composes original Jewish liturgical works. He has experience directing big bands and large Klezmer ensembles. David leads teaching workshops on rhythm section playing in jazz and Klezmer, how to introduce classically trained singers and instrumental musicians to improvisation; and how to mix traditional world musical with the language of jazz improvisation.
The late Baba David Coleman was a Yoruba priest, African drummer, and African drum builder. His workshops used African culture as a guide to help all people to understand themselves and each other so we can break down the wall of fear. His workshop, Drumming for Peace, includes lessons in drum making and learning techniques for performing Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, Afro-American, and West African drum styles. We continue to use Baba Coleman's teachings in our workshops to this day.
Abu Alvin Carter, Sr. & Babafemi Alvin Carter, Jr. play drum set, Afro-Caribbean percussion, and the drums of the West Afrikan djembe drum ensemble. Their workshops and clinics focus on many styles of drumming including jazz, R&B, gospel, and blues. They have developed an innovative and exciting workshop for merging Afro-Caribbean, West Afrikan and Klezmer drum styles with contemporary percussion patterns.
Jocelyn Pleasant is a percussionist, drummer, and educator, originally from Bloomfield, Connecticut. Her music studies began in her school band program, then branched out to the Hartt School Community Division and Jackie McLean’s Artists Collective (Hartford, CT). She continued her studies in Washington, DC, as a Presidential Arts Scholar at The George Washington University. Jocelyn is currently pursuing a PhD in Ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University after finishing her M.A. at the same institution in 2020. Jocelyn’s performance credits on drum set and percussion are extensive and showcase her versatility and ability to play many genres of music. For example, she has performed on numerous occasions with her teacher and mentor, vibraphonist Jay Hoggard, with Guinean guitarist Mamady Kouyate (Bembeya Jazz, Mandingo Ambassadors), and on multiple occasions in NYC’s Lady Got Chops Jazz Festival with various artists including Linda Oh, Sumi Tonooka, Shamie Royston, Kim Clarke, Jamie Dauber, Tanya Darby and Nicki Mathis. In 2019, she performed in Senegal, West Africa with The Senegal America Project, a group that includes Abiodun Oyewole (The Last Poets) and Massamba Diop (Baaba Maal, Black Panther). In addition to The Afro Semitic Experience she leads The Lost Tribe, and is the co-leader of tap-n-jazz ensemble Medusa, both based in Connecticut.
"You all were great! Matt, from our pop ensemble, (and all of us) gained a lot of confidence and thought quite a bit about that experience. Our "Cultural Competencies," enjoyed the conversation, so thank you! The drumming workshop was fun, and informative as far at learning some beginning drum techniques. But what I most appreciate was that Jocelyn and Alvin took the time to explain the cultural origin of the instruments, regions, and attached meanings of the rhythms."
Heidi Jensen, PhD (she/her/hers)
Visiting Assistant Professor of Music