I confess: I had not heard of him either. Until last year when a dear friend steered my attention his way, so that I could in turn steer my daughter Leyla’s attention in the same direction. Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR) is a composer and violonist who seems determined to create new sounds and harmonies by mixing classical with hip hop and other musical genres, all heavily laced with Haitian rhythms. Interesting mix it is. Rather than having me expound on his achievements, hear him tell it to you in his own voice. You can learn all about DBR by visiting his web site dbrmusic.com. You can view videos, read reviews, listen to the music and purchase some of the CDs that are on sale. Or check the schedule of performances and make it a point to pencil it in your calendar of must-see entertainment.
Leyla is a cellist, graduated in 2007 from New York University’s School of Education with a B.A. in the Performing Arts. Since Leyla emerged from NYU with a degree in hand, she’s been slowly dealing with the realities of post-college adult freedoms and obligations while remaining dedicated to making a living as a musician. So far, things seem to be slowly moving in the right direction. About a year ago, we found her on stage at Town Hall in New York, performing at a concert conceived as a “tribute to the teachers of America” by Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul and Mary fame). The Concert was broadcast on PBS television stations around the country. Last March 2008, she played in the Peru International Jazz Festival. Most recently, Leyla performed at Carnegie Hall with Mos Def and Gill Scott Heron (The revolution will not be televised). She filled in as a member of a 23-piece band that featured an all-female string section. For a review of the concert, please click this link. Leyla plays occasionally with Amayo’s Fu Ar-kist-ra, an afro-beat band that is musically inspired by Fela. Last June, she performed with her own band, Medicine Woman, as artists in residence at Pete’s Candy Store in Brooklyn, NY.