Miami, Florida - Roots in the Schools is the collaborative youth outreach program of the GrassRoots Festival Non-Profit Organization, who sponsors music and arts presentations at local schools in Miami-Dade County. During the weeks leading up to their Virginia Key GrassRoots Festival of Music, Art & Dance, which takes place Feb 20th-23rd, festival performers and artists volunteer their time at local schools, offering performances, classroom presentations, workshops, and hands on experience. Roots in the Schools aims to inspire youth through music while fostering their creative health, arts appreciation, and offering unique opportunities for cultural enrichment. This week, Roots in the Schools facilitates creative communication between local youth and Miami artists who share their love of music with the next generation.
Thursday February 13th, local group Elastic Bond delivered a performance highlighting Latin, tropical, and soul influences to a group of 300 elementary school students in Doral. Vibrantly voiced Honduran songstress Sofy Encanto was backed up with keys, percussion, and horn section, sharing songs in English and Spanish. The group shared with students about the elements and inspiration behind their songs, including their cultural backgrounds, rhythmic origins, instruments, and lyrical stories. The performance ended with the elated group of youngsters singing along and dancing in a big circle around the band. It was truly a touching sight to behold.
Friday February 14thCortadito, a locally based traditional Cuban Son Duo, brought a Valentines Day treat out to MAST Academy, performing traditional music of early Cuban origins. From Son Montuno to Boleros and Bolero Son, the dynamic duo brought students to a time when Trio Matamoros and Ignacio Piniero ruled the airwaves, an era when popular music was Cuban Music and Son Montuno was influencing the world over. Their performance was fun and educational, with elements of audience participation that engaged everyone!
Miami via Paris’ The French Horn has volunteered to visit students in Miami Springs and offer them a musical experience driven by uninhibited blending of styles and creativity. Their musical roots range from jazz to polka and beyond. The product is progressive Gypsy, Swing, World Beat, Circus, and traditional Parisian tunes. Classically trained French trumpeter and guitarist Vincent Raffard will be backed up by concert cellist Steffan Zeichner. They’ll share their unique range of influences with students and answer questions on Tuesday Feb 18th.
Wednesday Feb 19thNativos Jammin Orchestra visits Miami Beach sharing their freshly-squeezed organic sonic journey. Their band was started in Miami by a group of parents and teachers, who are also talented free spirited musicians, with an intention is to spread love using musical instruments and sparkling personalities. The group’s influences come from many different parts of the world. They’ll introduce students to all sorts of instruments, performing music from many genres like Afro-Funk, Folk, Latin, with lots of improvised jam. The bands overall theme is Miami Jam Music, celebrating unified and inspiring multi-culturalism!
Thursday Feb 20th rounds out the week of performances, with The Uproot Hootenanny, a unique sea-level, city-raised Appalachian string band from Deerfield Beach who specialize in the modernization of Roots Music. They’ll be serenading 800 students in North Miami. After a lively musical performance, the group will take turns focusing on their individual instruments, sharing techniques, histories, and insights with the students.
The Virginia Key GrassRoots Festival begins on Thursday Feb 20th and runs through Sunday February 23rd, presenting over 50 bands from around the globe that represent an incredibly culturally rich variety of genres and heritages. The Festival creates a platform for community engagement, hosting a huge Kids Village filled with free activities for young ones, a Sustainability Fair & Expo with workshops and demonstrations, Yoga and other movement workshops, Zen Village and Healing Arts Area, Live Art & Installations, Music Workshops with master performers, Dance Workshops for all levels, Camping on the Beach and much more! The Historic Virginia Key Beach Park sets the stage for an interactive event filled with participatory experiences for all ages to enjoy.
In a huge gesture of generosity Luna Guitars and Latin GRAMMY Award-winning Best New Artist Sie7e, who is performing Sunday Feb 23rd at the Festival, are donating an Oracle Tattoo Guitar to Roots in the Schools as a fundraising tool. Raffle tickets to win the guitar will be on sale during the festival, with a winner chosen by Sie7e himself, who will then present the guitar on Sunday night.