The Sugar Road

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Saturday / February 9, 2019 / 2:00 p.m.
David Friend Recital Hall
921 Boylston Street
United States

The Sugar Road focuses on how the commodity of sugar helped shape the music and culture of the Americas. This four-hour, multidisciplinary event involves dance, music, and lectures from each of the cultures represented along the Sugar Road.

In this project, Berklee College of Music assistant professor Leo Blanco teaches how the music of Latin America was shaped by the history of sugar exploitation and its economy.

“Sugar—both a sweet and sour experience," noted Blanco. “It can boost our energy and make us smile. Yet, besides also deteriorating our health, it has left a bitter stain in humankind history. Europe’s craving for sugar more than 400 years ago was the engine for one of the worst atrocities in the history of civilization: the transatlantic slave trade.”

Historian Jesus “Chucho" Garcia will travel from Venezuela to present his views on Africanness in Latin America. Joined by a panel of experts in the history of the music of Brazil, Cuba, and Trinidad & Tobago, Blanco will discuss slavery and the music of the Americas, comparing the different influences that Spanish, Portuguese, French, and British Caribbean colonizers had on it.

Live and recorded music demonstrations will be presented. Then, the audience will have an opportunity to participate with comments, questions, and discussions about sugar economy, slavery, and racism from colonial times to the present, and how music has responded to it.