Groove Diplomacy: using music to create unity, community, & change

Establishment of the first Garifuna Cultural Festival and workshops in Livingston, Guatemala
Establishment of the first Garifuna Cultural Festival and workshops in Livingston, Guatemala

Our definition of groove is – a Groove makes you move!
Movement creates unity, community, and change.  Diplomacy is in part the skill of managing international relations.

Groove Diplomacy is a Non – Profit/NGO based in Brooklyn, New York that collaborates internationally with U.S. Embassies, other NGOs, academic institutions and organizations creating musically based projects that empower, engage and give agency to the participants.  Recent projects have focused on female empowerment, entrepreneurship, educational diplomacy, citizenship, cultural celebration, and sustainability.

Groove Diplomacy has a roster of teaching artists as well as a performance unit called Sonic Black, which is rooted in the African American tradition and tours, performs and conducts workshops and master classes teaching about the African-American history, jazz, the blues, and improvisation.

Workshops & Masterclasses

At Groove Diplomacy, we hold to the belief that music and life are one, so we have created programming for musicians and non-instrument playing participants alike.  Through practical application, we have evidence of the fact that music is not strictly for entertainment, but to build communication, empower and heal.

We at groove diplomacy specialize in tailoring workshop/masterclass for any age or experience level.  We have extensive experience creating sessions that achieve the goals of the groups we co-create with.  All experiences are highly interactive.  Recent masterclasses/workshops are:

* Self Empowerment Through Musical Expression
* Finding Your Voice through Improvisation
* Music and Social Justice
* Music and Entrepreneurship
* Music and Meditation
* The History of Jazz and Blues
* Music As A Vehicle to Promote Social Change
* The Healing Power of the Blues
* How To Be A Composer
* Lawrence D “Butch” Morris and the art of Conduction
* Great Women of Blues and Jazz

Sonic Black

Sonic Black
featuring: (L-R)
Greg Lewis : Hammond B3,
LaFrae Sci : Drums,
Lakecia Benjamin : Sax,
Tamar-Kali : Vox.
Kate Milford : Photographer

Groove Diplomacy has a roster of teaching artists as well as a performance unit called Sonic Black, which is rooted in the African American tradition and tours, performs and conducts workshops and masterclasses teaching about the African – American history, jazz, the blues and improvisation.

Calendar

May 1 – Sonic Black, Jazz and Civil Rights performance – AHRC elementary and middle school/ Brooklyn

May 3 – Sonic Black, Jazz and Civil Rights performance – Cooke Center Academy

May 5 – Bam 8pm Free Santana Tribute

May 16 – East NY Middle School, Sonic Black, Jazz and Civil Rights performance 

May 16 – Fat Cat Jazz Club with CocoMama

May 20th – Improvisation Workshop, Studio 57, Carnegie Hall Youth Program

May 22 – Sonic Black, Jazz and Civil Rights performance, Count Basie Middle School, Queens

May 24 – Light My Way Career Day, presenting a workshop on “finding your voice and running with your passion”

June 2 – West Brooklyn Community High School, Sonic Black, Jazz and Civil Rights performance 

June 5, 6, & 7th –  Jazz in June. Community workshops and performance. Nebraska

LaFrae Sci: composer, drummer and educator

LaFrae Sci : composer, drummer and educator
LaFrae Sci : composer, drummer and educator
LaFrae Sci is an internationally sought composer, drummer and educator who teaches at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and is also a founding teaching member of the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls in N.Y.C.  As a Cultural Ambassador for the U.S. State Department, she has taught master classes and performed in more than 30 countries.  This experience led LaFrae to develop and launch the NGO Groove Diplomacy, whose mission is to create youth engagement programs internationally using musical expression as a vehicle to empower, ignite, heal & create mutual understanding.

LaFrae’s band, Sonic Black, is an educational collective that creates interactive presentations focusing on the genius of the Black American musical contribution to  U.S. and world history. Our presentations are tailored to the specific mission of our requested visit. Recent examples are: “Music and Social Justice”, “Finding Your Voice Through Improvisation”, “Women’s Empowerment”, and “Music & Entrepreneurship”.  Sonic Black has performed and taught interactive workshops in more than 100 NYC public schools, toured as representatives for Jazz at Lincoln Centers Jazz for Young People On Tour concert series, served as artists in residence at schools in Atlanta, Georgia and Dayton, Ohio and performed in NYC, Suriname, Albania, Paris and participated in the world premiere of two LaFrae’s jazz orchestral works, the first in 2014 written for 36 pieces inspired by the Russian novel The Master and Margarita , in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, and the latest being the Time Traveler Suite:Travel Journals of an Afro – Futurist, also performed in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia 2016 written for 60 pieces plus two choirs.

In the spring of 2016 Groove Diplomacy participated in the creation of the first Intercultural Garifuna Festival, a special project with the Afro – Guatemalans in the Livingston, Guatemala region. In December of 2016 Groove Diplomacy again partnered with Fundadela and the U.S. Embassy Guatemala to establish a teaching curriculum, repertoire and create a Gauatemalan/U.S.A. joint faculty establishing the First Annual Jazz Camp Guatemala!  Additionally in December 2016 LaFrae had the pleasure of presenting a 3 hour masterclass on “improvisation and finding your voice” with members of the Orquesta Alaíde Foppa, the only all female orchestra in Latin America.

LaFrae has played drums for The Burnt Sugar Arkestra, The Black Rock Coalition Orchestra, Valerie June, Keziah Jones, Sandra Bernhard, Eli Yamin, Vernon Reid, Kelis, Nancy Sinatra (w/ Morrissey), Blues greats Jr. Mack and Pinetop Perkins, Irene Cara, Bumblefoot, Cyndi Lauper, Reuben Wilson, Rachel Z, Kelis and Dr. Lonnie Smith.

Contact Groove Diplomacy