Ben Barson is an award-winning composer, educator, baritone saxophonist, historian, and political activist. Barson cares deeply about the environment along with racial and social justice and inequities. Like his mentor Fred Ho, he composes music to impact change inspired by the jazz tradition.
Gizelxanath Rodriguez is a Mexican Indigenous (Yaqui) renowned vocalist, cellist, educator, and artivist (art and activism) at the intersection of Indigenous rights, ecosocialism, and migrant justice. She is fluent in five languages (Spanish, Portuguese, English, French, and Italian) and her vocal work spans a range of styles and cultures.
Together, Barson and Rodriguez co-founded the Afro Yaqui Music Collective, an ensemble that combines Afro-Asian musical and political affinities with inspiration from the struggles of the Yaqui of northern Mexico. Barson and Rodriguez work to incorporate voices of regional and Indigenous communities in the creation of their boundary-pushing interdisciplinary works.
Resources + Media Mentions
- Members of the Afro Yaqui Music Collective participate in “Art Equals Politics: Vignettes of Culture, Decolonization, and Black and Brown Liberation,” on Monday, July 20.
- Read “A new multimedia work ties together themes of extraction, ancestry, and resistance,” courtesy of Tone Madison.
- Watch the highlights video from the spring 2020 Interdisciplinary Arts Residency with Ben Barson and Gizelxanath Rodriguez!
- Listen to “La Lucha Yaqui: A Conversation with Mario Luna Romero,” courtesy of Edge Effects.
- Read “(Away From) Home With: Ben Barson,” courtesy of Pittsburgh City Paper
- Read “Q&A: ‘Artists-in-residence’ takes on whole new meaning for quarantined couple” courtesy of The Cap Times
- Ben Barson, Gizelxanath Rodriguez, and Mario Luna Romero appeared again on the 8 O’Clock Buzz on WORT FM Thursday, March 5. Tune in around the 52 minute mark.
- Ben Barson and Nejma Nefertiti appeared on the 8 O’Clock Buzz on WORT FM Thursday, February 27. Tune in around the 47 minute mark.
- “Barson, Rodriguez welcomed as spring 2020 Interdisciplinary Artists-in-Residence,” courtesy of UW–Madison School of Education News
- “Mirror Butterfly: Afro Yaqui’s Call to Action for Migrant and Climate Justice,” courtesy of I Care If You Listen
- UW–Madison to host musicians and activists Ben Barson and Gizelxanath Rodriguez as the spring 2020 Division of the Arts Interdisciplinary Artists-in-Residence
- “Mirror Butterfly: Reflecting today’s turbulent times,” courtesy of AR Stash
- Fighting for Our Senses: Ears, Bodies and Hearts in the Struggle to Redefine Reality
- “Workers’ March” Stoneflower Requiem by Afro Yaqui Music Collective
- Afro Yaqui aims for worldly, revolutionary sound, courtesy of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
- Tree of Mama C, feat. Kelsey Robinson and the Afro Yaqui Music Collective
- Afro Yaqui Music Collective, “Sister Soul” Part 1
- Afro Yaqui Music Collective, “Sister Soul” Part 2
Image courtesy of the artist.