Afro Yaqui Music Collective

About Afro Yaqui Music Collective

The Afro Yaqui Music Collective (AYMC) is a multicultural big band and theatre company which descends from the ensembles of Guggenheim award recipient Fred Ho, whose work was influenced by West African, global Indigenous, and East Asian musics. The Afro Yaqui Music Collective has been acknowledged by the New York Times as “furthering [Ho’s] musical legacy,” and the band has been presented at an eclectic set of venues over the country including through Lincoln Center and Red Rooster in Harlem, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and universities around the Americas from Pittsburgh to Vermont, to Mexico and Cuba. The Collective is a site of several intercultural and transnational collaborations, working with musicians, poets and dramaturgs from Cuba, Mexico, Brazil, Chicago, Brooklyn, Madison, and Pittsburgh.


The AYMC is co-led by Gizelxanath Rodriguez, a Mexican operatic vocalist and cellist of Yaqui indigenous descent who is an internationally performing soprano and activist, and the recipient of a 2014 ACE Award. Gizelxanath co-leads the band with her partner, Ben Barson, the 2018 Johnny Mandel Prize Winner in composition from ASCAP. Barson and Rodriguez have created mixed-media work with a diverse group of poetic-playwrights, including Magdalena Gomez and Ruth Margraff, the latter who is the librettist for the Collective's latest work, mirror butterfly: the Migrant Liberation Movement suite, to be premiered at the New Hazlett Theatre in Pittsburgh, PA as part of their CSA residency.


AYMC is also extremely active in educational initiatives, working with youth at the Sto Rox High School in McKees Rocks, PA; Hope Academy in Pittsburgh, PA; the CEDICI in Chiapas, Mexico; and schools in Havana, Cuba. 

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Pittsburgh, PA 15210

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