Gizelxanath & Ben Barson
and the Afro Yaqui Music Collective

"The Afro Yaqui Music Collective is nothing short of pure, uncut sonic radical love.  These extraordinary artists have returned this thing called ‘jazz’ back to its real roots—to the earth, to the sky, to the women who produced and protected a people’s culture. Ben Barson, Gizelxanath Rodriguez, and the crew have committed to making liberation music—which is to say, music without borders or boundaries; future music from the well of the past that’s always on time; joyful music that swings and sings and sometimes stings but always keeps us dancing toward freedom. Follow them. Don’t miss them. An encounter with the Afro Yaqui Music Collective may be the most inspiring musical experience of your life."

Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original

Art is Never Neutral in the struggle for a new world. Partners Ben and Gizelxanath combine to rhythms of Africa, Asia, and the Yaqui people to imagine a world beyond mass incarceration and ecocide --
a world where life fits.

For full band bio click here.

Songwriters: The Next Generation is a collaboration between The ASCAP Foundation and the Kennedy Center, showcased the Afro Yaqui Music Collective on April 4, 2018.

The Collective's NPR Tiny Desk Submission.

Composed by Samuel Okoh-Boateng, Kutawonsa means "protect what we hold in our hands" in the Twi language. It is the seventh month of the Akan calendar. The song was composed by Boateng to remind us of the perilous affects of climate change on our water resources, which diminish every day due to the pernicious effects of climate change and poor resource management.

Gizelxanath and Ben Barson debut a new project with ancient roots, the Afro - Yaqui Music Collective. Named after the indigneous music of Gizel's people, the Yaqui of northern Mexico, the band fuses music from music of first nations in the Americas with the funk, jazz, and hip hop to create a new rhythm that liberates spirit and soul.

Featuring Albertico Lescay (Trumpet), Girbon Lockhart (Trumpet), Lee Barbour (guitar), Ben Barson (Baritone saxophone) and Danny Boozer (Drums). At the Charleston Pour House on September 26th, 2017.

The Afro Yaqui Music Collective features Mario Quinn and Mayan Toztil rapper Juan Jiminez on "Kolavalik."

Scientific Soul Band performs INSURREALISTA by Ben Barson, at the National Black Theater.

"Gizel de Xanath," written by Ben Barson and performed by the group Scientific Soul at the Frick Fine Art Gallery in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on June 25th, 2014.

ASCAP held its 2018 Jazz Awards celebration at Herb Alpert's Vibrato Grill Jazz Club in Los Angelos and presented its prestigious ASCAP Johnny Mandel Prize to Ben Barson, spiritchild and the Afro Yaqui Music Collective for their composition "Insurrealista." 

The Afro Yaqui Music Collective performing at the Mayan Womans' theatre Center FOMMA, in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.

The Zodiac Suite was one of pianist Mary Lou Williams's masterpieces--an early fusion of jazz and classical music by the prolific composer. Ben Barson performs here wih Guggenhiem fellow Geri Allen and the Univ. of Pittsburgh Orchestra.

Ben Barson performs "Living with Music" at the Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawaii, Manoa, as part of a tribute to Fred Ho. September, 2013.

Ben Barson and his Mentor, Fred Ho, at Amherst Media on April 5th, 2012.

 Black Rapp Madusa and Killor Be

Black Rapp Madusa and Killor Be

Just as occurs with the flower in a plant, the capacity (or responsibility) for forming and fertilizing the germ which ensures the continuity of history lies in culture.
— - Amilcar Cabral

Sung in the Mayan language of Tzotzil, Kolavalik was composed a dear friend Natalio, who passed the song on to Gizelxanath Rodriguez.

The New York Times interviews Fred Ho and Ben Barson on the significance of Ho's Baritone Saxophone and the spirit of sound.

From the livestream of the Tribute to Fred Ho. Iyanna Jones and Ben Barson at Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawaii, Manoa.
The Eco-Liberation Quartet, featuring Craig Harris (trombone), Mixashawn Rozie (soprano sax), Bhinda Keidel (alto sax) and Ben Barson (baritone sax), performing the L. Mixashawn Rozie composition "Fridgeo" as part of the "Sanctuary Soul Session: Weaving the Circle of Culture for Planetary Transformation" on March 23, 2013 at The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy, NY.