New Music from Ben Barson and Afro Yaqui Music Collective

Ben Barson (PhD 2021) and Afro Yaqui Music Collective have a new album available on all major streaming services and in CD format from Neuma Records. According to the band,

“Maroon Futures is a six-track album that celebrates the struggle and lessons of maroons -- enslaved peoples who the escape the evils of the built world being erected on genocide and slavery, to the protective bosom of the natural world. The tracks lift up love, camaraderie, women’s empowerment (what we call revolutionary matriarchy), and the indomitability of the Maroon fighting spirit. We reject all forms of social exclusion, and we unite the sounds of Afro-Cuban culture, Chinese Opera, Indigenous languages, jazz, and hip-hop to say: our struggle is one.

This album is dedicated to Russell Maroon Shoatz, known to his friends and family as “Maroon,” a political prisoner who has been incarcerated in the state of Pennsylvania for fifty years, with thirty years in solitary confinement. He was released into general population in 2014 and bandmembers contribute to the campaign to free Maroon through compassionate release through the office of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf. Each of the tracks relate to causes that Maroon cares deeply about and writes on often: social justice, antiracism, women’s empowerment, and the struggle for a livable planet.”

The album has received critical acclaim in Jazz da Gama, Jazz Weekly, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and many other outlets.

Congratulations to Ben Barson and all the members of Afro Yaqui Music Collective on the release of this powerful album!